Post Ironman blues – what happens after you’ve achieved the dream?

I must admit that I’m struggling to find motivation right now. For the last 6 or 7 years everything has been focused on achieving the impossible dream. Every session, every race was but a stepping stone to the main event. Now the dream has been achieved I feel an enormous sense of achievement, a feeling of belonging to a super elite, not so much in terms of speed of course, but definitely in terms of endurance and general fitness. I also feel like there’s nothing left to prove – the mere mention of the word ‘ironman’ is enough to silence all debate and I feel incredibly proud. There is a confidence in everything I do now that borders on arrogance sometimes I know. It has definitely changed me forever. I watch the joggers on the towpath and I think ‘yeah, I’ve done that, you have no idea what you can achieve, but I know’. And I’m glad I did it in the most challenging of circumstances because it makes it all the more valuable.
But there is now an enormous void and loss of purpose at the same time. What reason is there to get up and go swim in a cold murky lake or ride for 200 kms or run for 20 miles? A sprint triathlon or a park run just isn’t going to do it for me any more, I know. I also know that my body and mind is still recovering from the enormous traumatic effort of that day in Nottingham, even 16 days later. I feel supremely fit but when I make the extra effort my legs are drained for 2 days. Whereas before I could happily train for 2-3 hours a day most days, now neither mind nor body is willing.
What next, I ask myself? Well I’d quite like to do an ironman distance event a bit quicker – I think I could do around 14 hours probably on a good day – i when I turn 60 in 2 years time that would be good enough to get me on the podium at most events, in that age group. I’d also like to do a 100 mile running event. However, neither of these goals have the same magic in my mind as ironman, which has always been the Holy Grail for me, there is not the same compulsion. Then again, I often say to myself, let’s just train for pleasure, as a lifestyle choice, but it’s hard without a goal in mind.
This tells me that having a dream and a goal that you really want to achieve is the biggest factor in driving us on to success. Without it, motivation is difficult.
So find something that really matters to you, whatever it is, sporting or otherwise, and make it your focus. You will achieve if you want it badly enough, whatever obstacles cross your path. This is what gives human endeavour and life a purpose- without a dream it all becomes meaningless.

Start your dream now by visiting my website at http://www.flowfitness.org.uk

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