By her own Holly Ransom's preparation for her first Ironman was a shambles - but her baptism of fire sparked a life-changing passion for the sport.
Holly Ransom, Presented by
Stef Hanson

27 Jul 2016 - 8:30 AM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2016 - 8:30 AM

For those of you I haven’t “met” over the magical powers of the internet yet, I’m Holly Ransom, and last year I made the life altering decision to sign up for an Ironman 100 days out from Ironman Western Australia in Busselton.

This time last year, I couldn’t have run a half marathon! As was brilliantly captured in this vid, crossing the Busso finish line in 13hr 15min, and conquering my own personal ‘Everest’ has had a profound ripple effect through every part of my life.

Not only have I become hooked on triathlon – yep, I’ve drunk the koolaid – but I’m passionate about doing whatever I can to help others dabble in all things tri! 

My training spanned four continents, every Australian capital city and 27 regional cities and towns, and is probably as close to community-sourced as an iron-distance triathlon can get – I even had school principals opening pools up early so I could train!


But I’m not going to sugar coat things though; my first Ironman, and triathlon for that matter, was an absolute hack job! For example:

I did all of my cycling training hours on a stationary gym bike 

Including six hour bike sessions… and only hired a bike two days before I raced a 180km on it. This made Busso’s 35 km/h headwinds a particularly fun new phenomenon to contend with on race day!

I rented a wetsuit for the race and only swam in it in the practice swim the day before

Which led to me finishing the swim leg with a wetsuit chafing burn that looked like Chewbacca had given me a hickey!

I didn’t really understand nutrition… AT ALL! 

I grabbed for energy bars on the bike because my nutrition was well off point. I also ate enough sugar and Vegemite on the run to have filled 50 kids’ school lunch boxes – I had no method to my very obvious madness!

Slow claps welcome … And this isn’t even touching on my form and technique, or lack there of! Sigh.

I certainly didn’t intentionally set out to ‘worst practice’ prepare but,

I was embarrassed by how rookie I felt some of my questions were

People seemed to have an intimidating amount of knowledge and access to this whole other vocabulary … E3 heart rates? Casettes? Fartlek? … Uhhhh whaaaaat?!

Everything seemed uber expensive

Bikes, runners, swim gear, training gear, massages, nutrition gels and bars, registration … This list of things you ‘needed’ was longer than the one Santa checks twice! Did this have to be done business class style or was there a budget airline version of triathlon? And what optional extras should I purchase? I felt clueless.

There was such a MOUNTAIN of conflicting information on the interwebs that I felt paralysed by confusion

Are carbs the devil or are they essential? When should you eat pre, post and during training? What was the right mix of sessions to be doing every week? Should I just be doing cardio or did strength and conditioning matter too? Brain overload!

I chose to take control of the things I could: I sourced an amazing coach (props to Sarah Anne Evans from Karmea who I never would have crossed the finish line without); I didn’t miss a single training session in the lead up; and I worked on cultivating a range of mental techniques to focus my effort and energy, enable me to adapt, and to help me push through those ‘walls’ where your body just screams ‘ENOUGH’ at you.


 While I might have achieved my goal, I am not in any way suggesting people should follow my original training regime – in fact I highly recommend that you don’t, and I also highly recommend that you dip your toe in short course triathlons first. However, what I’d really like you take away from adventures into the world of triathlon, is that you truly can do anything. I did, and now I am frothing to learn how to do it all better.

So one of the reasons I’m so excited to be a part of the Witsup family is that I’m now learning how to move from worst practice to best practice. I’m a few weeks off competing in my second iron-distance (Vineman in Northern California) and in the last couple of months I’ve had the good fortune of getting to learn from and be supported by so many of the Witsup family: Stef, Amber of First Wave Fitness, Margs of Fuel Right Nutrition, the legends at Liv Cycling and Giant South Yarra, Footpro and Aqua Shop. I can’t thank them enough for the help they’ve given me and in the coming weeks and months I want to share the lessons they’ve taught my rookie self, as well as the questions you’ve sent my way in the last few months that are serving as stumbling blocks for you in tackling whatever, swim, bike or run goal you’ve set for yourself.

We’re in this together, and wherever you’re at I hope to be able to help you move a little better, aim a little higher, unleash a little more power or just harness all your enthusiasm to have a crack right now!

Yours in tri,


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