I’m doing an Ironman in Austria!

Update: Unfortunately I was unable to take part in the Ironman as I’m having a baby.


You know when you agree to do something and then a few months later you think, ‘What the hell was I thinking? I can’t do that!’

Yea, that’s what happened with the Ironman.

I was invited to take part in an Ironman 70.3 in Austria by the Austrian tourism board. Austria is a gorgeous country that I’ve always wanted to visit so I had beautiful visions of swimming in lakes and bike rides through the countryside. And then I started doing some research and realised what an Ironman actually is…

An Ironman is basically a triathlon but longer. An Ironman 70.3 is a half Ironman. The 70.3 represents the number of miles you cover (oh em gee, I know!) Here’s what you have to do:

  • Swim: 1.2-mile (1.9 km)
  • Cycle: 56-mile (90 km)
  • Run: 13.1-mile (21.1 km)

I’d done the Virgin Active Triathlon last year which was just under 16 miles and was feeling all cocky and healthy. I loved the challenge of the triathlon, having a fitness goal and also having something motivating me to train.

The only thing was that the Virgin Active Tri was much, much shorter. As in 54 miles shorter. I barely even needed to train it was that short.

And then I realised how flipping far 70.3 miles is.

I went into panic mode and my survival instinct wasn’t to get out there and train, it was to curl up on the sofa with a tube of Pringles and a family sized bar of Dairy Milk – possibly my body’s way of stocking up on fat in preparation?

I tried a little bit of training but how do you go from a ‘once a week in the gym’ kind of girl to being able to do a 70 mile swim, cycle, run combo?

Luckily for me, two of the other journalists who were also invited along had requested a team event whereby one person takes the swim, another takes the cycle and another takes the run.

I was over the moon!

I’ve been nominated to take the run section.

While 13.1 miles does seem like an incredibly long way, in comparison to the entire half Ironman, it seems like a walk in the park.

The week before the Ironman I’ll be meeting up with my team for a week of training in Austria. At the minute I’m imaging myself casually running through the beautiful Austrian countryside but in reality it will probably look more like a scene from The Biggest Loser.

You may have noticed my post about how to stay fit and healthy while you’re travelling and if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen I took a running tour in Ljubljana. This sudden healthiness is all in preparation for my run.

I’m still training as thought I’m doing the Ironman 70.3. This is mainly because too much running is boring but also because a part of me wants to see if I can do it.

Over the next few weeks you’re (hopefully) going to be seeing lots more running chat and photos over on Twitter and Instagram. I hope you’ll follow along and see how I get on, particularly if you fancy giving a half marathon a go because if I can do it, anyone can!

I’d like to say a massive thanks to Austria tourism for inviting me along, to KTM bikes for my gorgeous road bike I’ll be using for training this summer (this is the bike I have), to The Body Mechanic for my much needed personal training sesh and to Sweaty Betty for some sexy running and cycling gear. More on all of this next week.


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of affordable luxury travel experiences.Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!

SHOWHIDE Comments (17)
  1. I weirdly have always wanted to do one of these although I would need to vastly improve my cycling skills seeing as I’ve only ever cycled to uni and back beforehand. I also think it’s a good way to travel, I did a half marathon in Nice whilst I was in Paris and it gave me the excuse to have a weekend away (if I ever needed one!) Lots of good luck and enjoy (if that’s possible!)

  2. Ahhh! Good luck! It’s my dream to one day do one of these. I’ve run a few half-marathons and long distance relays, but I definitely wouldn’t be prepared for this. I’m fairly certain I’d drown during the first half mile of the swim if I attempted something so bold right now. 🙂 I’m excited to hear how you do! Have fun and be safe!

  3. I’m so impressed right now, seriously! My co-blogger Sara runs marathons, so I’m sure she knows better than I do how hard these things are, but I need to give mad props for taking part in something so awesome. Best of luck to you!

  4. Over the weekend I had a last minute invitation to the same event. One of the criteria was “must be able to swim 1.9km”. Being totally unfit I have to admit that I wimped out at that point. Good luck though.

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