14 signs your loved one’s an Ironman addict

Is your significant other addicted to Ironman training and talks about nothing else? Then these 14 personas may just sound a little familiar...


This blog is about spending your life with someone who’s training for an ironman. Because my wife didn’t sign up for this. I was a chubby smoker when we met. I hadn’t done any real exercise since school. The only aero bars I knew about had bubbles in them.

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1. You’re sharing a house with someone who has deformed the washing basket with their sweat-soaked, mud-covered sports gear, and whose wardrobe consists of 70% Lycra and 30% race t-shirts.

2. Your Significant Other (YSO) is someone whose idea of a perfect birthday is a three-hour brick session, and whose idea of a perfect birthday gift is a leotard with a padded bum.

3. YSO is someone who watches TV wearing hospital DVT socks, except he calls them ‘calf guards’ and buys them for a price that would make an NHS nurse cry.

4. YSO is someone who watches spinning DVDs wearing short lycra dungarees. In the lounge. Sweating onto a bed sheet.

5. YSO is someone who eats so much that they spend half her life looking in cupboards for food that disappeared, unannounced, days earlier, spooned straight from the jar/box/packet/dustbin.

6. YSO is someone who bangs on and on about heart rates and Brownlees and intervals and Wellingtons, even though she hasn’t really got the faintest idea what he’s on about, or why she should be interested.

7.  YSO is someone who insists on going training even when staying at friends’ houses, and then keeps everyone waiting because the hand-drawn ‘map’ they’ve taken with them ends up not being quite up to the job.

8.  YSO is someone who doesn’t just shell out hundreds of pounds on everything from wheels to tiny sachets of sugary gloop, but who does so only after spending hours sharing every detail of his agonising decision-making process.

9.  YSO is someone who is pathologically unable to answer the question: ‘How was your run/bike/swim?’ with a simple ‘Fine thanks’ and leave it at that.

10. YSO is someone who gets up at the crack of dawn to swim in lakes so cold they lose the feeling in their face, and then breaks the garden fence by hanging his wetsuit on the washing line that’s attached to it.

11. YSO is someone who frets over every tiny little muscle niggle, and turns into a nervous, paranoid wreck in the weeks before a race, jumping and holding his breath every time anyone sneezes.

12. YSO is someone who has spent six months thinking of weekdays as training sessions with work in between, and weekends as longer training sessions with more sleep in between.

13. YSO is someone who, like the author as previously discussed, thinks nothing of turning a holiday into a training camp.

14. YSO is someone who knows that they are, basically, a bit wrong. And who really has spent quite a bit of time getting ready for training, actually training and recovering from training over the year

This blog is for my wife. And for all of the iron-wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends out there.

Because we’re sorry. We really are. And we’re grateful. We know we’re a nightmare. We know we’re obsessed. We know you put up with a lot. And we love you for it.

And if we don’t say it enough, well, don’t take it personally. It’s just that we’ve got a brick session to fit in, and it’s looking like it might rain.

Talking of which, you haven’t seen my heart rate monitor anywhere, have you?

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