The “story” of my first Ironman…

When I first became a personal trainer I worried about getting results.

I felt threatened by Lipo suction, diet pills and spandex. After all, they could all get results faster than I could.

However, I now believe that you’re not really buying a “result” with a Personal Trainer.

You’re buying an “experience” – Below is a quick story about my experience of having a trainer.

“Success isn’t the same as significance”

I have always set goals that have excited me. What excites me is achieving something that I feel may be beyond me.

The challenge I set myself nearly 5 years ago was to run my first Ironman Triathlon, with less than a years preparation. I could run a half marathon, but had no swimming or cycling experience.

My “Trainer” on this joinery was a guy called Tom Beaver, who had run nearly 50 marathons, a number of  Double Ironman’s, and believed that this challenge was actually possible.

His very words were, “You could EASILY do an Ironman J Lad…”

Stage 1 – My first Marathon

The Longmynd Hike (51 Miles – 12hours 10 mins)


Tom’s description – “A beautiful run, you’ll love this J Lad. I think it’s a little over a marathon, I can’t remember the exact distance.”

What I got – An existential crisis, difficulty walking for over 3 weeks, the belief that my physical limits were very much an illusion.

Having never run more than 15 miles before, I some how managed to complete a 51 mile ultra marathon

I wouldn’t recommend this race to anyone but those interested in a massive amount of mental, emotional and physical pain.

 Stage 2  The Tour De Sucre – My first multi discipline ultra endurance event

235 mile bike ride / Snowdonia Marathon


Tom’s Idea – I had originally intended to do this event over 3 days but Tom thought it would be fun to do in less than 24 hours.

Outcome – Near death on the A5 due to cycling at 2am in the rain (for Tom!), massages every 7 miles after the 200 mile mark for me, and a 4hour 25 min Snowdonia Marathon time after a 19 hour Cycle ride.


A achieved my first official marathon run. All be it preceded by a 235mile warm up cycle. Not as bad as I thought actually, although the cycle was pretty tough.

I did a full write up on a different blog at the time. Here it is.

Stage 3 – The Elbaman – My First Ironman

2.4 mile swim / 118 mile bike / 26.2 mile run


Tom’s Idea

Tom and I had planned to do the Ironman together, but unfortunately do to unforeseen circumstances Tom was not able to make the trip.

I was however accompanied on the holiday by my wife Laura, who managed to run the last 10km of the marathon with me. This caused a great deal of damage to her groin, because she had never run more than 5km before.

What I achieved

An addiction to expresso coffee (offered to all runners during the marathon leg of the race), sunburn, severe chafing on my neck (blood) from my wetsuit, and the completion of my very first Ironman in 15hour 50 mins.

I have now sold all my triathlon stuff…



My Ironman story is a very extreme example, and I would be extremely wary of suggesting anyone copy it.

However, it was a wonderfully fast way to achieve a huge amount of confidence, wisdom, and strength in a very short space of time.

I also had an experienced coach with me who knew my limits.

Yes, I got the result, thanks to Tom’s help, but what I really wanted was the feeling that came from achieving this result.

  • The feeling of confidence that comes from achieving something you weren’t sure was even possible.
  • The feeling of wisdom from knowing what you really can, and cannot do with your body.
  • The feeling of strength that comes from testing yourself to your limit and beyond.

There are far easier ways to complete your first Ironman, but there is only one way to build confidence, wisdom and strength.

Tom knew my limits, and allowed me to push through them. I trusted him and it meant I achieved more in a year than most people achieve in 3-5 years.

Everyone is different, but don’t ever think you are just buying a “result” from a Personal Trainer…

If you just want the result of dropping a clothes size than there are a number of excellent cosmetic surgeons I can recommend who will save you all the hassle of confidence, wisdom and strength that a PT may offer you…