This past weekend, Laurie and I went to Lake Placid for a little R&R. We were fortunate to have outstanding weather and enjoy the great outdoors.
As we relaxed on the beach, we were watching many folks training for the upcoming Ironman, which is being held in Lake Placid in about a month.
For those that are unfamiliar, the Ironman is a race that is held in various places throughout the U.S. It involves a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon of 26.2-miles.
Needless to say, it’s not for the faint of heart, and having done each of those events separately, I am in awe of those who take on the challenge of doing them back to back to back.
Now, you may be thinking these people are nuts, and that they may be, But you have to admire their dedication.
I spoke with a couple who were spending the weekend in Lake Placid solely to train for the race, and I want to share their story with you.
As I watched them come out of the water from their morning training swim, I struck up a conversation with them and asked them about their training regimen and why they took on such a mighty challenge.
They told me they average anywhere from 12-15 hours per week training, with some weeks over 20 hours. They only take one rest day per week, and the training is pretty much year round.
That’s some serious dedication — all for a single race that will take them around 14-15 hours to complete. They had been training for this one day for almost two years.
As amazing as that all is, what’s even more amazing is they said neither of them are athletes. Both were approaching 50-years of age and had never really done any true exercising before this.
In fact, what got them interested in doing an Ironman was an effort to lose weight. Both were seriously overweight at one time. They tried various diets and “every pill out there” all in an effort to lose weight — none of which worked. They had gotten a gym membership, only to find they hated going to the gym and they stopped going after about two weeks.
But then, they saw an Ironman on TV and were fascinated, so they decided to look into it. As they did, they found a passion for it, and over time that passion grew into a labor of love.
They started very simply by walking a couple of miles a day. Gradually over the weeks, they built it up to a slow jog, and eventually they were able to work up to running.
After that, they went and bought some bikes and added a couple of rides per week to their routine each week, adding a few more miles to the ride. Eventually, they got around to training for the swim, and once they had started working on that it was a matter of following the plan.
The end result was they lost about 150 pounds between them and gotten into phenomenal shape. Perhaps more importantly, they did it together, which to use their words, “made their relationship after 20-plus years of marriage stronger than ever.” They continued by saying, “Having that partner to train with made all the difference in the world.”
Now, you may not want to consider doing an Ironman, but there is a lesson or two to be learned from this. Too often, people give up on getting in shape or working out because let’s face it — working out isn’t fun. That’s why it’s called a workout not a “fun” out. But if you can find a passion for something that you enjoy doing, it no longer becomes a chore or a workout. It becomes that labor of love — something you look forward to.
Even better is when you have a goal to work towards, and can share it with someone else as you work together to achieve a dream. It doesn’t have to be something as extreme as doing an Ironman. It could be as simple as setting a goal to run or walk a 5k. It could be to be able to swim the length of a pool and back.
The point is to find something you enjoy doing, and that will keep you motivated and moving forward, even on those days when you just want to lay on the beach and soak up the sun. And as you do, you’ll find the weight will come off, and your fitness will improve without all the stress of dieting and the like.
In other words, dare to dream.
Dan Romand is co-owner and operator of Full Circle Fitness-NY in Colonie, where he is also a certified personal trainer. You can read his health and fitness column here in TheSpot518.