ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The hand-painted sign on the side of the road read:

“Trust in your training,
Stick to your plan,
You’ll end the day an Ironman!”

The poster-board was one of literally hundreds covering the 112-mile bike course of the Lake Placid Ironman event this summer. It was just what I needed to see as my mind and body duked it out for how the day would go. Two hours of torrential rain had just stopped, the sun appeared, and my cold limbs wanted nothing more than to slow down and bask in its glow. But that wasn’t really an option only four hours into what would turn into a tiring 15-hour day.

I had signed up for my first Ironman event last summer, giving myself a full year to prepare. I would need it, as I was literally in the worst shape of my life, and extremely overweight. I needed a motivating goal. And I might have gotten a bit out over my skis signing up for an Ironman Triathlon.

So what does this have to do with investing? I was speaking with a colleague recently about the struggle to get investors engaged in educating themselves about investing. Studies show most people spend far more time planning their next vacation than planning for their hard-earned retirements. I think that’s just human nature – a vacation is a very real experience that you get to enjoy in the near term. A long term investment is just that – long term. If you choose wisely, you get to reap the rewards – 30 years down the road.

My Ironman training began in August of 2013. I ambitiously put on a pair of old (barely used) running shoes and headed out for a “run”, which became a fast walk within 30 seconds and a slow walk a minute later. I needed a plan.

I hired a trainer, and we discussed my goals for the race, which were simple. Get healthy, get my training load up to Ironman standards without injury, and complete the race within the 17-hour cutoff time. Sounds simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy. Even more important to keep in mind through all of this: difficult doesn’t mean impossible.

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