Do a Half Ironman
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Most serious triathletes dream of doing an Ironman. But training for one can mean a commitment of up to 20 hours a week – "really difficult if you have any sort of a job or a family," says pro triathlete Andy Starykowicz. "It puts a lot of stress on the marriage."

That makes the half Ironman, a.k.a. the Ironman 70.3 – 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles in the saddle, and 13.1 miles of running – a classic big step up in every triathlete's personal journey. "There is no faking your way through a half," says Matt Dixon, founder and head coach of Purplepatch Fitness in San Francisco. But you can train for one in about eight hours a week.

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We suggest the Ironman 70.3 Vineman, held in Sonoma County. It will give you a view of vineyards and rolling California hills as you swim, ride, and run. For other halfs held regularly throughout the U.S., look to the American Triathlon calendar: