Łukasz, TBSCG’s Service Delivery Director, is also in charge of the Polish office. A few years ago, he decided it was time to start looking after his health. Being the type of guy who never does things by halves, he threw himself into training to become a triathlete. Let’s meet our IronMan.
What initially inspired you to do a Marathon followed by an IronMan race?
It all started with a mirror and a bit of a hanging belly. It was a few years ago when I was travelling a lot and eating a lot of junk food, and my daily exercise regime involved nothing more than pushing the pedals in my car. It got to the point where I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror anymore, so I decided to do something about it. I knew that running was the best way to lose weight so, being a typical bloke, I took things to the extreme and said: “I’m going to do a marathon”.
After finishing my first marathon, I met a bunch of people who were training for their first IronMan race, and I thought “If they can do it, so can I”. At the time I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into, but after a while I caught the bug and today training is an integral part of my daily routine, just like brushing my teeth or having my morning espresso.
You say that you didn’t realize what you were getting yourself into. So… what were you getting yourself into, exactly? What does an IronMan race actually involve?
An IronMan race is a long-distance triathlon, a sporting event in which participants must swim 3.8km, usually in a lake or sea, cycle 180km and then run a full marathon, which means a distance of 42.195km. All in one day, without a break.
Legend has it that it all started with an argument between a swimmer, a cyclist and a runner who decided to settle their disagreement by organizing a race. Although triathlons can cover distances that are twice or even ten times as long, the IronMan race is widely recognized as being the most challenging one-day sporting event.
Do you have to do any special training to become an IronMan?
The triathlon involves doing three different sports, so in general, you have to train for 3 different events at the same time. Being an amateur triathlete as well as holding down a full time job is pretty challenging, because training for an IronMan race takes a lot of time. For me, a typical week’s training consists of 2-5 hours of swimming, 4-6 hours of cycling and 4-6 hours of running, plus 1-2 hours of weight lifting, plus some daily stretching. All in all, you’re looking at between 10 and 20 hours of training per week.
It may seem like a lot, but when you think about it, most people spend more time than that each week watching TV, so it’s totally do-able. More importantly, that kind of training regime really teaches you how to be consistent, determined and how to manage your time efficiently, which is extremely useful in the workplace. At the end of the day, getting up at 5am is not as bad as it sounds :)
I imagine you’ve had to make some sacrifices, though?
Yes, everything comes at a price, and sacrifices involving Kentucky Fried Chicken, bacon and whipped cream are not easy to make ;-) .
In 2010, you took part in the IronMan Austria race. What is your most treasured memory of that event?
Words just can’t describe the feeling you get when you cross the finish line, but that feeling only lasts for a short while. What counts more are the changes I made to my lifestyle in order to get there, starting out as a coach potato and ending up where I am today.
My goal for the coming year is to shave a few hours off my race time when I take part in the IronMan Frankfurt race in July 2011. Once I’ve done that, I’ll see. There are plenty of challenges out there, though, so don’t worry - I certainly won’t be short of ideas!
I did a few mountain runs this year and I really enjoyed them, so maybe, if I train really hard, I’ll be able to join Gowyn for one of his mountain ultramarathons? :)
Any special advice for all the people out there (including me) who aren’t very sporty?
I’d really encourage everyone to do a little bit of sport. You don’t have to go as far as doing an IronMan race or a marathon, but doing even a tiny bit of exercise will help relieve the stress of everyday life and make you a happier person.
Thanks Łukasz and good luck (though I doubt there’s much luck involved!).