You’ve read the books, you’ve signed up, you’re inspired. Excellent! Good work, it’ll change you blah blah. You know your heart rate (max), you’ve become friends with Z2 (let’s not talk about Z3). What does training for an ironman triathlon really mean though? Well first up it means……

An absolute mountain of washing

That’s right. Obvious isn’t it. You have nine sessions a week planned, you’re using a lot of kit. But wow, nine sessions a week of sweaty horrible triathlon kit is grim. Running tops, base layers, gloves, cycling shorts, tights, tops, socks, swimming kit and towels. All piled so high the lid of your washing bin is swaying steadily in the stink haze created from your kit. Almost all of it is wet from either your efforts, the rain, the pool or all three mixed together. None of it smells good. It’s literally never ending. And what’s more, despite the fact that you are always washing sports clothes, drying sports clothes, and putting sports clothes away, you will never have the right kit ready. When it’s warm all your cold stuff will be clean, when it’s wet all your dry stuff will be clean. The washing game is particularly challenging when you live in a little flat – like trying to wash an sports teams worth of kit every week. And get it dry in a tiny room. And then wear it when it’s still damp anyway, because well that is the only cycling top you have.

So the first lesson. Make friends with your washing machine.