Six Tips on Selecting Your First Half Ironman

triathlon race

So, you feel ready to do your first half Ironman. You’ve done a bunch of Olympics and Sprint triathlons and feel up for the challenge. But, how do you select your first Half Ironman? Are there any magic beans to spill on the floor to find the one that will work for you?

Here are six tips on selecting your first Half Ironman:

  • (1) Do your homework — research half ironman events from either Ironman branded or from a small race company. Many of the smaller races are much more fun and have a lot of support throughout the race. Research both types of races – independent and Ironman branded.


  • (2) What excites you? — Do you want to do your first in a place close to home? Or, do you want to compete in one in a gorgeous place and make it a race-cation? There is something to be said about competing close to home.


  • (3) Look at the course — Make sure to look at the elevation on the bike course. Look at the swim course and see if you feel you can handle it. Check out the run course to see if it’s hilly or flat. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Are you a better cyclist but not such a strong swimmer? Then, pick a course where there are hills on the bike course but the swim course is on a river running with the current.


  • (4) Proximity of the course — I try to find courses where the hotel is close to transition so if I forget something in the morning, I can quickly go back and get it. If there isn’t a hotel by transition, figure out how you get to transition? Car? Bus from hotel?


  • (5) Don’t sign up because all your friends are doing it — if you’re not ready or the course isn’t right for you, then don’t sign up. Sign up for a course that works for you. Your friends won’t be doing this Ironman for you, you will. So, make it right for you.


  • (6) Give yourself enough time to train — When selecting your 70.3, make sure to give yourself ample time to train. Don’t sign up for something that is a month out, unless you’ve been training for it.

Selecting your first half Ironman event can take a lot of effort, but with the right mindset, you will be able to pick the right one for you. Remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s Ironman branded or not, when you finish you will still have completed a 70.3! Good luck with your training!