Training with an Ironman Age Grouper | STACK Fitness

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Training Like a Pro on an Amateur Budget: Advice From an Ironman Age Grouper

September 29, 2011 | Julian Austin

Must See Running Videos

If you're an amateur athlete, you probably don’t have the time or the money to train like a pro. No training staff to design your awesome workouts. No personal chef to prepare your nutritious meals. But if you don’t get professional treatment, how can you perform at the top of your game?

This is the dilemma faced by "age groupers," athletes who participate in triathlons and other endurance events despite not having a pro license. Below, age grouper Brett Luna, who will be competing in his second Ironman race in November, shares a few tips that can help you train like a pro—on an amateur budget.

Time Management
In addition to Ironman training and his social life, Luna manages a running store and attends graduate school full-time. His current training schedule calls for around 60 miles of running, 100 miles of biking and two to three swims per week.

“I am up at 6:15 a.m., training by 7 and getting to work around 10 a.m.,” says the 23-year-old. “Two days a week I am going to school from 5:00 to 8:00 in the evenings, so I can’t work out then. At 8 o’clock, maybe I can go for a 10-mile run, but I have to be careful, because I have to be up again to train the next morning.”

Luna has learned the benefits of time management. Set your priorities—school and athletics—and get those done first. (Hear more tips on balancing school and athletics.) Let your goals guide how you spend your time.

Fuel Up Right
Since Luna doesn’t have a nutritionist to help him with his diet, he has to test race day nutrition himself. He says, “I bring an exact mix of my gels, GU and sports drinks on my training runs and rides to mimic being at the Ironman, so I can see how my body responds.” After a number of experiments, he's found the right blend to help him succeed.

Do the research and find the products that will help your game. (The STACK Blog's Nutrition category is a great place to start your research.) And just because a pro athlete fuels a certain way doesn't mean it's right for you. Tweak your diet until you find the right meals and snacks that help you perform best.

Find Support
Whether it's from fellow athletes who share your passion or from family and friends who love you, find people to support and encourage you. You'll need it. Training like a pro when you're living an amateur lifestyle is hard.

For example, Luna recently upgraded to a Cervelo P2C bike with Zipp narrow bars. “I pay all my entry fees, but that bike wouldn’t have been possible without some help from my parents," he admits.

Have an Iron Will
Although training for a world-class event like the Ironman is difficult for amateurs, Luna wouldn’t have it any other way. “It's definitely overwhelming at times,” he says. “But I am a pretty strong-willed person, so if I want to do something, I don't mind making sacrifices to get it done. If I want to do another Ironman, nothing is going to stop me."

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Control Your Breathing During an Obstacle Race

During any obstacle course race your heart rate will be spiked throughout the race without a doubt. Climbing over a wall or treking up a hillyou will...

How to Start Your Barefoot Leg Workout

Don't Choke on Race Day: Tips to Run a Better Race

8-Week Spartan Beast Training Program

How to Design a Running Schedule That Fits Your Life

7 Endurance Tips From Ultramarathon Runner Ian Sharman

Learn the Secrets of Tapering

3 Things You Must Do Before Trying Minimalist Running Shoes

Weight Training for Runners: 3 Full-Body Moves

The Only 2 Running Diet Rules You Need to Know

Guide to Common Running Terminology

Pick The Right Running Partner (The First Time)

STACK Challenge: Army Two-Mile Run

The Obstacle Course Racer's Guide to Fixing Muscle Cramps

The Most Effective Form of Endurance Training

The Exercise Every Runner Must Do

7 Tips to Help First-Time Marathoners Avoid Common Mistakes

You're Doing It Wrong: Running

4 Running Form Fixes for Beginners

Are You Ready for the Arctic Enema?

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Ran My First Marathon

6 5K Tips for a Great Running Experience

Hunter McIntyre Rises Above the Competition

Off-Season Triathlon Training Tips and Workout Program

5 Keys and A Workout Plan for An Awesome 5K

Are You Ready for a Tough Mudder?

Foolproof 20-Week Marathon Training Schedule

Be Ready to Run a 5K in 6-8 Weeks

How to Prepare for the Spartan Race and Other Mud Runs

7-Year Old Triathlete Sets 5K Record

Tired of Tiring During Runs? Try These Jogging Pace Drills

Why Jogging Is Counterproductive

An Introduction to Strength Training for Runners

4 Biggest 5K Training Mistakes

Running Tips for True Beginners

Runners: Don't Overlook These 2 Types of Training

The Nature and Nurture of Running for Fitness

Get Geared Up for the Wall Jump Obstacle

Running Away From GI Distress: Symptoms, Causes And Tips

Training for Mud Runs, Part 4: Long Trail Runs

Ultramarathon Runner Stephanie Howe's 7 Training Secrets

Maximize Your Trail Running