Training and Racing an Ironman Triathlon with the 80/20 Philosophy

The above statements sum up what’s been on my mind over the past 12 months or so while training for something that pushes me out of my comfort zone (#understatement).

So… I’m here. Where is here you may ask? It’s Cairns, Queensland, Australia ( think Crocodile Dundee land) ready to do my first full Ironman Triathlon in less than 3 hours. What is an Ironman Triathlon you might ask? Well… wikipedia is amazing and I know I only have your attention spans for about another 4–8 minutes depending on how much value (see below) I add to this write-up, so I need to have some brevity in my writing (ah, wasting precious minutes as I type away).

So yeah… I’m about to do this Ironman and I got to thinking “why the hell would anyone care about my story”. I sat back (I started sitting back 3 months ago actually) and thought about it and realized there were a lot of people that would actually care about my journey.

Most people just have a few generic questions like

“Why would you do this?”

“How long will it take you?”


“How do you eat or pee on that long ass bike?!”

And other more in the know competitive type folk have more insider questions like

“What times are you shooting for?”

“Have you done anything close to training for this”


“What’s your strongest sport of the 3?!”.

I’ve decided to somehow create a quick reference guide to help answer most of the people most of the time as best as I can. I call this method “The 80/20 Experience” and while it might not play out like that awesome sports movie where the short and skinny kid wins with a buzzer beater, I think it’s pretty damn awesome that I’m here, healthy and have found a new way to quench the appetite of my creative instant gratification monkey through fitness and sports.

This reference guide is brief because well… I haven’t proven my value to you so again I’ve only got 4–9 minutes of your time.

I’m going to treat this like a business proposal of sorts. You gotta have an objective and that objective here is the who, what, where, when, why, and how.

The whole reason I did this is two fold;

  1. To teach myself to have more with less (ie: Minimal)
  2. To show myself and others what true value is

I realized #1 might be a lifelong lesson and while I may never graduate to the master of “The 80/20 Experience” it would be an awesome way to bring some awesome and passionate people along the journey with me as students.

There is a great parable I read a few years ago that has stuck with me about a Mexican fisherman.

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions — then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

With that said, let’s get it in!


Yours truly, Daren Lake. Background in university level track and field (400m and 800m running) and basketball. Entered into endurance events in 2007 with the Baltimore half Marathon (link) and was hooked.


Complete a self coached sub 10 hour Ironman (wiki link)


Cairns, Queensland, Australia (but have been training all over the world; NYC, Baltimore, San Diego, and Sydney)


Sunday 12th of June 2016 7:35am (Australian Eastern Standard Time). But I will be taking whatever I learn (whether I hit my goal of sub 10 hours or not) into future races, training, and other areas of my life.


Because I wanted to show myself and others that it can be done in a different way. that way can be;

  • without a traditional coach
  • without a dedicated group
  • without training 30 hours a week and
  • without being the fastest or the best

[side note] — I also love technology, over analysis of quantitative/qualitative data, and curating experiments/experiences using myself as the guinea pig for these trials. While 10 hours isn’t even close to record breaking, it’s still a very big milestone for most amateur age group athletes to strive for (esp on their first Ironmam) and a nice round number that sounds pretty damn cool.


This is all so that I can tweak a sort of advisory adaptive training method formula of sorts (“The 80/20 Experience”) that can be applied to most competitive endurance athletes and triathletes. Again, This time is kind of a big deal within the ironman community as the average ironman time is about 12 Hour 35 minutes

This will all be done as my first ironman without ever doing a full marathon (#scaryLARRY aka #DumbDan) but yeah whatever… YOLO right?


Actionable tasks

I decided to take action and make a plan early on that cut out the bullshit (ie: all the junk miles) and really just focus on what matters after reading this blog post on how to do a sub 10 hour Ironman with 10 hours of training per week (can you get anymore damn 80/20 than that?!) I believe the law of diminishing returns holds true with things that require more and more hours to be better at. But because we love doing things, because doing things makes us feel valuable and because doing said things justify our existence we do them mindlessly without asking f we are creating true value to ourselves and others in the process.

What do you value? What do I value?

As I get older I start asking myself that question and this one “is what I’m doing adding value to myself and/or others” more. It’s a simple question but allows you to 80/20 life and focus on what matters (which is inevitably “The Now”). As I’m telling you all this, I’m striving each day to live the 80.20 experience that I’ve curated. It’s a daily trial/error and I’m far from being great at it. What’s awesome is that the value is in the sharing of my experiences with you (or someone out there reading this shit) so that someone hopefully can learn from them and 80/20 their lives

While I may not or don’t Want to be an official coach I think there is value and opportunity in being a middle man, sherpa or “advisor” of sorts. And While I may not be the greatest and most knowledgable about fitness, nutrition, stress management, training, and triathlon I am an expert in the field of advising and helping people based on my relentless knowledge for information, the truth, and helping people. Remember the definition of an expert is knowing more than the person that is asking the questions/looking for the information. Expert does not mean THE BEST AT DOING IT.

Through it all I realized I’m living the same full and balanced life similar to the Mexican fisherman. I don’t need huge accolades, gold medals and fame to say that I’m doing what I want to do. I’ve literally 80/20’d (is that even a word? Well if ifs not, I’m making it one now) the process and went straight for the objective to live a life of value and purpose without all the bullshit in the middle. There technically is no end point (until I die) and this can be applied to so many areas of my life that it’s literally endless.

I’ve got many challenges ahead of me and many more problems to solve (boredom is never an issue for me). But if I want To practice what I preach then I need to live in “The Now”. And…first things first…do a sub 10 hour Ironman.

So did I/will I do it?! (depends on when you read this).

See the results here, or follow my 80/20 Experience journey through the social fitness app Strava (and Facebook, and twitter  and Instagram) to find out more.

[UPDATE — Check out the Race Recap here!]

Much love and Keep.It.Moving

(c) Kary Youman

PS – answer to those questions from the beginning below;

  • “How do you eat or pee? — great question… I eat 10–20 calories every 10 mins on the bike, then every 30 mins running 50–70 calories. Some people pee on the bike… I refuse to do that so I either hold it or go at one of the many aid stations during the race.
  • “What times are you shooting for?” — for the swim — 70 ish mins. For the bike — 5 ish hours and for the run 3 hours 30 mins.
  • “Have you done anything close to training for this” — great question — yes, I’ve done a half ironman in April 2016 Batemans bay where I did my exact ironman pacing and took notice of how I felt at the end and also 2 super sets that were about 9 hours of training each. I feel they prepared me very well for the race… But we will see.
  • “What’s your strongest sport of the 3?!” — def running, the cycling 2nd (has gotten much stronger through the last 4 years) and the swimming last which has also gotten stronger. With the percentage of swimming only about 10–12% of my ironman time, that’s actually a great thing!!!

PPS- huge thanks for all of the people that have helped me get here. If I miss you, much love and don’t worry you made an impression on me that will love forever.

My Parents, Nadia, Marty, Kary, Matt Webster, Spot, Brad, Bondi Fit, Justin, Tim, Da Boyz, Max Fenn, Lamar Fernanders, and a whole bunch more.