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It starts with a 2.1-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Each year, thousands of triathletes push their bodies to the limit in Ironman competitions around the world.
Holly Benjamin, MD, knows firsthand the challenges of training. A lifelong competitive athlete, she focuses on pediatric sports medicine and treating adult endurance athletes, including marathon runners, swimmers and triathletes.
With a family and busy career, Benjamin participates in sprint-distance triathlons, which take an hour to complete, compared with the 14.5-hour average needed to complete a traditional distance triathlon. She says that her athletic background, “really helps in treating athletes as a sports medicine doctor.”
Benjamin was one of the physicians on staff at the 2018 Hawaii Ironman in Kailua-Kona, site of the sport’s world championship, as well as a featured speaker at the race’s sports medicine conference.
“Kona brings out some of the very best athletes, but they still struggle,” said Benjamin.
Ironman athletes spend 30-35 hours each week preparing to compete. A balanced training approach is essential to having a successful race, including the following tips from Benjamin: