How to prepare for Ironman- Candid interview with Ingit Anand

When we hear Ironman all that we gauge is the suit of armor and one who can fly and shoot beams from his hands. But here we have the real ironman, Four times ironman finisher and a certified ironman coach Ingit Anand. Imagine swimming 3.8 km, cycling 180 km and running 42 km, all at one go. Hailing from Ahmedabad, Ingit has always had a burning passion for running. Little did he know that this passion would one day fuel him to complete the Ironman.
India’s very own ‘Ironman’ gives us the lowdown on ironman, triathlons and his experience of being a part of this exceptionally demanding athletic event. In an exclusive interview, Ingit opens up about his struggles as a runner and what still keeps him going.

Since when have you been running and what inspired you first to run?

I have always been into fitness. I started running in 2011 when I finished my first half marathon. From there on it has become my passion. I’ve always been stubborn about pushing my limits, and this helped me find a higher threshold for pain and consequently build my endurance.

What keeps you going on a regular basis? Any particular motivation or person who inspires you?

In 2011, when I read an article about Milind Soman that he ran from Mumbai to Delhi at the age of 50, I got inspired to take up running. In 2016, after running multiple marathons and triathlons, I started training for Ironman. The fact that very few people have achieved this feat made it even more desirable. When I train every day, I try hard to surpass the bar that I’ve set for myself and keep doing better. Jan Frodeno said," Every day I want to go to bed better than I woke up". I truly believe in this theory.

What advice would you give if someone asks you, how to prepare for Ironman?

Most importantly, "Get a Coach"! Ironman is a big goal and the journey of training requires right guidance. It requires lot of strength and endurance to prepare for an Ironman. Your body/mind should be prepared to take the load. It is advisable to start small with sprint / Olympic distance triathlons to prepare the body for the bigger challenges like Ironman 70.3 and an Ironman. Remember, consistency is the key.

What are some of the races you have participated in?

• Ironman- Busselton, Australia, 02 Dec 2018- 11:04:24 (hour:min:sec) 
• Ironman- Subic bay, Philippines, 03 June 2018- 12:15:16 (hour:min:sec)
• Ironman- Emilia Romagna, Italy, 23 Sep 2017- 11:52:55 (hour:min:sec)
• Ironman- Langkawi, Malaysia, 12 Nov 2016- 13:42:44 (hour:min:sec)
• Multiple podium finish in Olympic and half iron distance triathlons in India 
• 6 km open sea swim competition, Nov 2015- 01:32:38

When did you plan to do Ironman?

Having done triathlons and a couple of half/full marathons for a few years working my way up through the distances I decided it was time to sign up for Ironman in 2016 (Fact- the Ironman registration was a surprise wedding gift on 24th April 2016 by a close friend named Diana). I started training under Deepak Raj, coach from Australia who got me to the start line in the best shape. I followed his training schedules rigorously and pushed my limits while building at the right tempo for me.

How do you prepare yourself for an Ironman?

For the first Ironman in Malaysia, I started preparations six months ago, where I maintained a strict exercise schedule designed by my coach Deepak Raj. I religiously followed a diet designed by my dietician wife and followed a disciplined daily routine. It took 16- 17 hours per week's training during peak phase. While training one need to be mentally strong and focused towards achieving the desired goal.

What are the challenges that you face while prepping up for races?

I take on the challenge and urge myself to follow it without giving in to my fears. I would say that though physical strength is essential, being mentally strong is what helps me see things through. While training for Ironman, I found cycling the major challenge due to traffic conditions on the road and the traffic is not very cyclist friendly.

In your opinion, what makes Ironman triathlon such a special sport?

Ironman is the toughest one-day endurance race in the world. It demands you to be physically and mentally fit. Also, you get to travel and meet the best of athletes across the world. It is a sport that pushes your limit to a next level and evolves you to better and grounded person.

Do you follow a specific diet or nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

I have always believed, "The better you eat, the better you perform". This includes 3 whole meals through the day. Breakfast is the biggest portion of the day which has high protein, well balanced fat and carbohydrates. Lunch is usually salad/ dal-rice and Dinner is usually vegetable soup and grilled paneer. I stay away from processed food and I believe in consuming nutritious home-cooked meals. I also have cheat days rather "reward days" wherein I indulge my all time favorite dark chocolate brownies.

What keeps you motivated?

Besides my family, I have some Ironman friends who keep me motivated. They have similar stories, full-time jobs with a family, and are still doing couple of races a year. I love the challenge these races bring, I get to test my fitness and it’s a goal to look forward to during the year. The added excitement is that I get to visit new parts of the world as well as see the great friends I have made who also try to sign up for the same races.

How did it feel crossing the finish line at your first ever Ironman race?

This question always gets me thinking and I look back to relive each and everything that I have experienced. When I crossed the finish line, it took me just 30 seconds to recall the amount of hard work that I had put in to achieve this and; that I have conquered something in life. I felt grateful who have helped me and supported me throughout the journey. 
There are no limits to human body. Whatever you think, you can achieve.

What are you goals for 2019?

In 2019 I'm planning to do another Ironman in Europe. Also, I have already registered for an Ironman 70.3 in Philippines. My ultimate goal is to qualify and race in Ironman world championship (IMWC) that happens in Kona, Hawaii . Also, I aim to do least 1-2 Ironman every year. In this year I want to improve my timing and focus on the run part of the Ironman.

A quote that inspires you ?

"I am made of all the days you don't see. Not just the one you do" by Jan Frodeno, 2X Ironman World Championship

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