At 70-years-old, here’s how I’ve competed in 42 Ironman races (and how you can, too)

Just like the title says, I’m 70 years old and I’ve competed in 42 Ironman races. That’s a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. You can imagine how people are surprised when they find out that I still like to compete. How do I do it, they want to know. I always tell them the same thing: there’s no secret.

If there was a secret, maybe I could get rich off of it. Unfortunately, I don’t know of one. Instead, I just do the same things that athletes all around the world, of all ages, have been doing for decades. I’ve tapped into the natural potential of the human body. True as it may be, that statement just doesn’t satisfy some of my more curious acquaintances. “But how?” they say. So here’s what I tell them:

It’s all about the foundation

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Dr. David Minkoff at Ironman Augusta 70.3 in 2016

There’s no end to the ways I’ve seen triathletes try and improve their times. From shaving your body hair to finding sponsors with deep pockets, there are so many ways to get a competitive advantage. Here’s the thing: without a solid foundation, those “extras” don’t matter one bit.

In car racing, the biggest engine and the fanciest aerodynamic bodywork only come into play if the basics are covered — the car needs fuel, lubrication, and good tires. Without those, you might as well leave it on the trailer.

The same goes for the human body. There are 4 things that matter most when it comes to competing in a long-distance race: fuel, hydration, rest, and mindset.


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Dr. David Minkoff competing in the 1992 Ironman Triathlon World Championships

Fuel=food. This doesn’t just mean during the race. Going back to the race car analogy, you wouldn’t fill up the tank with old, dirty gasoline for your practice sessions, and save the hi-test for race day. You’d always run the right fuel. It’s the same with eating. Different diets work for different athletes, but the most important thing is consuming healthy, organic foods as often as possible, and an absolute minimum of junk food.




Building on the basics

Want to be a writer? Write a lot, and finish what you start. Want to run a business? Learn accounting. I could go on all day, but here’s the bottom line: if you want more success in your life, and to surprise yourself with what you can achieve, build yourself a solid foundation and go from there.

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Dr. David Minkoff is a Physician, Author, and Lecturer. He is Co-founder of LifeWorks Wellness Center & Founder of BodyHealth|

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