by Amy Hite

“That’s so awesome that you can race and train together!” – says the random person who finds out my husband, Dave, and I both do Ironman

My general response is always a sly smile and a laugh. Spoiler alert: It’s not all rainbows and butterflies! There are pros and there are cons.

First, let’s talk about some of the less than positive things that come with training and racing with your spouse.

The Cons

  • Conflicting training plans. (Tip: Get a coach. Problem solved.)
  • Paying double the race entry fees.
  • The never-ending mountains of laundry.
  • Astronomical food (and sports nutrition) bills.
  • Listening to them explain their latest swim “breakthrough” repeatedly.
  • Disagreements over the best Netflix shows to binge watch during long trainer rides—and no, I don’t want to watch golf…or football.
  • Who left the sweaty bibs on the floor?
  • At all times one or both of you is likely to be: tired, injured, crabby, hungry. [Pick one or more.]
  • The house is always a mess and the lawn always needed to be mowed a week ago.
  • Co-tapering for an Ironman is…YIKES!  
  • No detailed splits mid-race from a spouse sherpa. This actually gives your non-racing spouse competitors a huge advantage, especially with the now prevalent rolling starts.
  • You’ll have to pick up your own bike and gear bags (and sometimes your spouse’s) after the race.

Of course, there are also some huge pluses to sharing Ironman training and racing. Let’s get into those too.

The Pros

  • There’s an understanding of the commitment and dedication this entails.
  • It’s easy to find an open water swim partner.
  • And almost always a weekend long ride partner too.
  • There are no questions about “required” gear purchases.
  • Bike chains magically get re-waxed.
  • No one bats an eye when you suggest at 7:30 p.m. that it is rapidly approaching bedtime.
  • Post-race pictures together.
  • If you are exceptionally lucky, you get to share the experience of the Ironman World Championships.

Would I recommend training for Ironman and racing with your spouse? It totally depends, but it seems to work for us!


Amy Hite is SMASH-Dimond team member, veteran iron-woman and 2x Hawaii Ironman finisher. After competing in Kona just this month, she will tackle Ironman Arizona next month! 

Hillary Biscay