What doing an Ironman taught me about trading

Hey traders, I hope everything is going well!

Last Sunday I did an Ironman 70.3 … and let me tell you, it was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

Just take a look at this picture:


How satisfied do I look?

For those of you that don’t know, an Ironman 70.3 is a: 1.9km swim + 90kms Bike + 21.2kms run, one after the other.

I completed it in 6:46 hrs (more than expected, but based on the circumstances, I guess it was alright).

I have mixed feelings about it, I physically suffered like no other day in my life (that I can recall), but I also was very satisfied when I crossed the line.

So here is how it went.

1.9 km Swim

I think it was the hardest part, even when I thought this one was going to be the easiest one. You know, I was a surfer, I know how to swim, I know how to do it well, I did it every day for years and years… Some days I even swim 4 or 5 kms.

But last Sunday, the water was very very cold, I knew it was going to be a little cold but bearable. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t use a wetsuit (its also a more complicated to swim with it)… big mistake.

The moment I jumped into the water, I just wanted to be out of there. If it wasn’t because my girlfriend was watching, I would probably had left and go back to bed (I woke up at 4am that morning).

But no, she was there and she was watching… So I had to act like nothing was happening… like I was enjoying it hahahahaha Ahhhhh men… I laugh about it now, but believe me, at that moment it wasn’t that funny…

Anyway, it was very very cold that I could hardly swim, I couldn’t hold my breath for more than 2 seconds (that’s one of the things your body does when its temperature goes down), so I had to swim the whole thing with my head over the water, not a very easy thing to do.

But I completed it, and again, my girlfriend was there, so I smiled like I was having fun big time!

Here is a pic, guess who is the only one not wearing a wetsuit?


90 kms Bike

Then I went into the transition zone (where you finish one discipline and prepare for the next one), I felt a little dizzy and had to rest for about 5 minutes, and stood there looking at the horizon, like a zombie… and once I felt ready, I took off…

And guess what… It started to rain.

So I had to slow down a bit, which was ok. You know, I’m not that experienced on the bike, but I think, it probably was the easiest discipline of them all (by the way, I thought it was going to be the hardest one).

You see, I never road for more than 50 kms… And I was like, I’m ready, I’m prepared. That day I did 90 kms.

But just after the 50th km, you start to feel a little uncomfortable, you start to feel a little pain in the lower back, and the list goes on and on… So I had to deal with it for 40kms, but it wasn’t that bad (compared to the swim, it was like heaven).

Luckily I didn’t fell, which was one of my first goal (the other one was to actually complete it), so I reached both of them.

Then the run.

21.2 kms Run

This one was another discipline that I thought it was going to be easy…

You know, I’ve ran several marathons, plenty of half-marathons, not to mention all the 10K runs I’ve done…

So I thought, if I get to this point, I’ll be practically done.

I just forgot something, I never ran a half-marathon after swimming 1.9 km and riding 90 kms…


Every step after the first 10K was painful… but I was more experienced with this type of “pain”. So just kept running and running until I crossed the line.

What an experience


I suffered the whole thing, from the very first second that I dived into the water, to the moment that I cross the line.

But that feeling when you cross the line makes everything worth it! I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to explain it, but its something that errases every single second of pain and suddenly makes you feel very satisfied for what you have done.

I guess is like reaching a goal, a very difficult one.

Look at it this way: every single thing in life that’s its worth it, its complicated to get it. There is no way around it.

Doing and Ironman or having good results in your trading is no different.

How would you feel once you start getting consistent results on your trading?

That’s exactly the same feeling… because you’ve been working so hard and finally you are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Anyway, this is what I learned

You need to trade alongside other likeminded traders

If I had teamed up with other triathletes, I would have known better about the water temperature.

I calculate that I lost around 25 minutes because of this.

I usually swim the same distance in about 38 – 40 minutes. That day, I swam it in 52 minutes. Plus all the energy I lost because of that that I could have used in other disciplines…

In the trading arena, the same applies. Its always good to be in touch with other like minded traders.

I say like minded traders, because it will be no good if you get together with traders that are using a totally different approach than yours.

You’ll get confused, second thoughts, you’ll second guess your trading decisions, etc.

You dont have to trade in the exact same way, but your approach should be similar.

When I started to trade, I traded along 3 other trades, and all of us were working in the same strategy, in fact, the way I trade right now is an evolved version of that strategy.

I still get together with them and do ocasional sessions to share our experiences, etc.

So if you haven’t had a chance to create a mastermind group, its never to late to start one.

You need to prepare yourself

There are no shortcuts my fellow traders.

I wanted to complete the Ironman in less than 6 hours, but being honest, I didn’t prepare myself to do so.

When I look back, I could find a lot of excuses: didn’t have enough time, I was too cold outside, etc. At the end, I didn’t do what was necessary to do the job in less than 6 hrs. That’s it.

Whose fault is it: mine. And I’m going to forget about all those excuses. It’s all my fault. No more words.

The same goes for trading.

In order to succeed, you need to do what its necessary to trade with consistent results.

You need to develop a system, you need to make sure the system fits your trading style, you need to make sure you follow every single rule, you need to trade the right instruments at the right time, etc.

And what happens if you don’t do whats necessary?

Its our own fault. Not the brokers fault, not your fellow traders fault, not the non-farm payrolls report fault, etc.


Make sure when ever you make a mistake, to learn from it and promise yourself not to make that same mistake again.

Learn from it!

Your Turn

What have you learn about trading from doing other things?

What do you think about my Ironman experience?

Please share your thoughts!

experience, forex, lessons, trading

Raul Lopez

I've been trading the markets for more than 15 years. I believe the best way to trade is by adapting to the market conditions. You can learn it too, join our community .