How a Running Pro Trains For an Ironman 27 Years In The Future

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Part 1

Mike Trees, a former pro runner, decided to break a Guinness Book world record on his second Ironman triathlon attempt after focusing on speed his whole life. What an amazing feat!

As a runner (new or old) you may be wondering what an Ironman triathlon is. It’s considered the end-all be-all of endurance events, comprising a 3.8k swim, a 180k bike, and a marathon (42k run) completed in one day. That’s right, it’s a whole lot of running!

Mike Trees is an ex-pro runner who focused on speed his whole life. He’s now in his 50s and decided to take on the challenge of an Ironman triathlon. He hadn’t done any work on the bike, having just been running, but he was up for the challenge. He had done an Ironman before, but that was 27 years ago. And he was now aiming to break the Guinness Book world record for the longest gap between the first and second Ironman. What a guy!

Finding Joy in Running

One thing that stood out to me in the podcast was Mike’s attitude towards training. He emphasized that it’s important to enjoy every day, no matter what the training is. He varies his training and enjoys doing it. It doesn’t matter if he’s running in the mountains, swimming in the sea, or training in the pool. He makes sure that he enjoys each day to the fullest.Whether you’re running on a treadmill or outside, listen to some music or a podcast and enjoy the moment.

Pushing Past Mental Barriers

Mike also talked about how he used to worry about his to-do list while running, which prevented him from enjoying the run. He realized that he was spending the whole run thinking about what he had to do after the run. He learned to cut that out and enjoy the present. As a runner (new or old) it’s important to push past those mental barriers and enjoy the run. Don’t worry about how far you have to go or how fast you’re running. Just focus on enjoying the moment and the feeling of your feet hitting the ground.

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Setting Goals and Trusting the Process

Mike had a goal of breaking the Guinness Book world record for the longest gap between the first and second Ironman. He had to trust the process and put in the work to achieve that goal. As a new runner, it’s important to set goals and trust the process. Maybe your goal is to run a 5k or a 10k. Whatever it is, trust the process and put in the work to achieve that goal. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Facing Challenges Head-On

Mike faced challenges while training for his Ironman triathlon. He had to deal with COVID-19 and races being cancelled. He had to cut himself some slack and not stress about it. He had to focus on the things he could control and not worry about the things he couldn’t control. Runners are always facing challenges. Maybe you’ll get injured or have to deal with bad weather. Whatever it is, face the challenge head-on. Don’t stress about it, focus on the things you can control, and keep pushing forward.

Enjoy the Journey

Mike’s journey to his second Ironman was a long one. He had to put in the work, trust the process, and face challenges head-on. But he enjoyed the journey along the way. Remember to enjoy the journey. Running is not just about reaching your goals, it’s also about enjoying the process of getting there. Take in the scenery, listen to some music or a podcast, and enjoy the feeling of your feet hitting the ground.

What You’ll Learn In the Episode

  • Why he took a 27 year long gap between the Ironman
  • How and why olympic distanced triathletes move up into the ironman distance
  • How he’s feeling about his race tomorrow
  • His epic Spain Covid DIY Marathon story
  • What training he’s done different
  • What will happen if he doesn’t get his projected time
  • And Much more

Part 2

In this quick part 2 we talk to him about the challenges before the race, what actually happened in the race, and what’s up next for him.

Spoiler – he did it! He got first in his age group and 92nd overall with a time of 10 hours 31 minutes.

He did a 1 hour 13 min swim in very cold water (17 degrees celsius – and about 67 degrees farenheit)

Blazing – 5hour 24 min bike

And then somehow had enough in him after that to run a 3 hour 44 minute marathon with a very fast last 5k kick (he heard the 2nd place guy was catching up to him!)

It was a super challenging and cold day (Florida had the coldest weather they’ve ever had in over 100 years!)

Notable Quotables

  • “Enjoy the present but plan a bit for the future. If I plan the session, I know I’ve got 2 hours to enjoy my run. I don’t worry about what else I have to do.
  • “I want to have the fastest time in the world at 60 years old for Ironman”
  • “Defeat never depresses me – it’s just another challenge. I ask myself, ‘Where I went wrong, what did I learn, how can I get it right the next time.'”
  • “I’m going into the race expecting to win my age group, not to lose”


2 Lessons Learned

1. Take Calculated Risks

In your training, the only way to run faster times or further distances is by taking risks in your training and racing.

If you get your goals 50% of the time then you have set them at the right level

Anything more or less means it’s either too ambitious or not ambitious enough

2. When things go wrong – it makes the race memorable

Mike tells his awesomely hilarious story about his DIY 2:39 Covid Spain Marathon attempt and the biggest thing that sticks out is how absolutely crazy and eventful the race was.

While we all take our training and racing serious, don’t forget that weird and crazy times are the ones that last forever.


This episode is brought to you by NRG – Coaching which is Mike Trees’ coaching service. Mike coaches beginners to pros and all levels in between.

No one is too fast and no one too slow. They just want a desire to learn and improve.

They focus on 1,500m to marathon running and triathlon training.

NRG Coaching is constantly overbooked, so Instagram and this new podcast venture, gives Mike and the rest of his NRG coaching team a way to reach out to more people.

Contact mike and his team for more info


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