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Interview with Nadi Khan-Iron Man and Machine

Interview with Nadi Khan-Iron Man and Machine

Swoosh0018: Nadi,On my first training ride with cleats You came to me and took me for a round to get used to the cleats. Later on I asked Motala at Wimpy. Whos is that guy. To which he replied, “That is a Bozza” . That’s simply sublime. What a CV ! Nadi: Slms Swoosh, I am 50 years old, a toppie by definition When  it comes to pure stats and the number of time I have done things I will provide, that’s half the story. As i  preach that what you remember about your event is the way your felt doing it. Who your were with and how you got thru.  Those memories and camaraderie are simply pearls you treasure for longer than any of the medals and t-shirts you receive.

Number of full ironmans done is 4, this will be my 5th. With a personal best of 12 hour 36 minutes.Half ironmans  done 10, these include the east London 70.3,prestige,bufflespoort and pharmathon. With a personal best of 4 hours 59 minutes which was last week at the SA champs in Vaal 2013, finished with 92 min 21.1km.Olympic distance triathlons 21, these include Joburg tri, Vaal tri’s,Pretoria tri’s ,PE and  Benoni. With a best time of 2 hour 23minutes.Comrades done is 7  bill rowans, 2 of them was done a few weeks after ironman. I prefer the shorter distances that’s why my times are better at those distances.


Personal best for 10km is 34 minutes, 21.1km is 78 minutes, and marathon 2hours 42 minutes.  These were done without the pressure of doing a Comrades marathon and my basis was mainly speed work done at sub 3 minutes a km.International marathon done is the New York City marathon.

Tell us. What made you pursue the iron man?Did you like just wake up and say .Ok I am going to be the iron man one day? I decided on Ironman in 2002 as a personal challenge , I had read about it and was fascinated. It was said to be the most gruelling single day event in the world, I read what I could about the event and the tougher it sounded the more I wanted to do it.

Yoh. How did you train for such a competition? Training for Ironman has to be done carefully and if you work fulltime and have a family you need to ensure that you manage your time properly. The base training time is 7 hours and the peak around 15 hours. but its also what you do with your sessions that count. I do 3 sessions of each decipline, with the weekend sessions being the key sessions.

Im going to ask you to tell us firstly tell us more about each stage and how you found it, Which stage would you say is the toughest and which stage did you enjoy the most? Training for Ironman has to be done carefully and if you work fulltime and have a family you need to ensure that you manage your time properly. The base training time is  7 hours and the peak around 15 hours. but its also what you do with your sessions that count.  I do 3 sessions of each decipline, with the weekend sessions being the key sessions. The toughest  part for myself is the swim as I am an average swimmer and will start at the back. On race day the first 300 meters I get into a comfortable pace and talk a lot to myself. I know that many things will go wrong but I don’t stress about it, as it happens I deal with it and move on without losing composure. Once the swim is done the bike is the main course of your Ironmeal, but if you greedy and go too fast you will suffer later. In PE the run is certainly the best part to do and I enjoy that the most.

The supporters and family make a difference at the end. And as you cross that line and say your name ‘ you are an ironman man’ its fantastic and something I hope that everybody in our tri group gets to hear.The biggest fear most novice triathletes including myself have  is the swim. As you may panic and not finish. So you have to work on the mental side and firstly have faith in your ability. Next you have to accept that its going to be tough so you have to’suck it up and keep moving’. Accidents will happened and water will be swallowed , deal with it. If is was all easy it would not be Ironman. For me I believe that perseverance is needed when you tackle Ironman. I also have my own ABC, which is A for ability  and attitude, B is be brave and C for courage and composure.

How long did you have to train to make it and complete your first iron man? I underestimated the training needed for my first one but did average arounf 11 hours a week.

The first one must have been special,Tell us the first thing that came to your mind when you crossed the finish line. You feel blessed and I shed a tear. The tiredness is forgotten as you hold your medal. My first ironman race was in the Vaal and I did it with no wetsuit or tri bike using the normal giant aluminuim. Technology has evolved a lot and I now use a tri bike which assist with aerodynamic and gives you an edge of around 15 minutes. I remember being the only person of color at the start and said no matter what I need to finish today.

I was very tired off the bike and realized that I had not done enough biking, but as a strong runner I  felt more confidant that on that day I would finish the race. I cramped at around 110km into the cycle and knew that I still had 100km of racing on the. From there my pace slowed as I coped with the cramping. It’s a very tiring race physically and mentally I had to dig deep and keep going. You have to run on tired legs for a longtime. My  Comrades experience was a great asset at this stage of the event. I rested and lay down on a blanket at the 21km mark as I had nausea and vomiting.  

I came across the finish line with my daughter and niece who ran the last km with me. I cant describe what you feel but the race will change you.  You realize that most challenges can be achieved and your biggest muscle is your mind.

This year you will be attempting your fifth Iron Man at the Age of 53. Shoh. Age is nothing but a Number. How do you look the way you do and have all the energy still? You need to train wiser as the body takes longer to recover. You also do more specific training and cut out the junk mileage.

Swoosh0018 is into cycling and this whole story about the type of bike you ride etc is a big thing. What was your wheels for your first iron man and what are you riding now. ?My first bike was a Giant road bike, and now I ride a cervelo.. as you get older your toys cost more.

The big question.Does the bike make a difference to some extent or is it in the legs? It makes a difference as you carry less weight and the tri setup has you using less energy with more speed. In the end you still have to put in the hardyards.

What was your biggest fear in any of the iron man competitons. For me it would probably be Sharks? To not panic when doing the sea swim, and have an accident and not complete it.

What was your dietry requirements as the competition drew nearer? Is there any secret diet you would recommend to competitors or triathletes that worked for you? Don’t have a special diet and the training load allows me to eat what i want, thank goodness.

Your quest for iron man has obviously put you ahead of cycling,running and swimming. How would you say these sports are growing in the community?All the sports have grown and cycling especially has seen significant growth. While the establishment of both swimming and cycling clubs ensures the sport is getting bigger.
Your quests have also lead you to be an influential member of the Tri Group of which Swoosh0018 has had the priviledge of being under your wing. Tell us about it and your quest to develop triathlon in the community and to aspiring kids? I have started a running coaching program in Emmarentia. Which will introduce kids and adults to road and trail running.

What advise would you give and youngsters wanting to emulate in your footsteps. If there is a single word i would say perseverance. And never stop learning about your sport.
The Tri Group has a great Bunch of guys. We definitely going places and Im glad Im a part of it. Training for this years Iron Man must be special because we going with 12 guys . How big is that break through.? At the 2012 IM Motala and myself said we need to get more of our guys there. Success for us would be to get others to experience the IM. Thru his leadership and encouragement we now have a strong tri group.

Mohamed Motala is obviously a big influence on the Tri Group. Surely Him,yourself and a few other guys have found training a whole lot better since you guys share ideas and thoughts together?How important is it to have such iinfluential guys going into this years Iron man?  Its just awesome , group training has ensured that the guys will be ready come IM time.

Where to after SA Iron Man. Do you have any internatonal or national events lined up? Nothing lined up, unless I once again get selected to represent SA. I hope to put together strong group for the Gauteng duathlon championships and take it from there.

Once again Well done. You have Swoosh0018 under your wing. How do you think hel far. A Mini TRI in the horizon perhaps.:) Lol you will definitely be doing at least a sprint triathlon in the coming future.

Swoosh0018 getting some pointers from the Bozza

Oh how could I forget.Now that you are the Iron Man…How would you rate the Comrades marathon he he 🙂 AS opposed to other Endurance Events .The Ironman man will test you far more both mentally and physically. You are thinking from the first second, there is no downtime. While most of us will cruise the first half at Comrades and really start the hard work after halfway. Comrades is more sore while Ironman is more tiring.

16. Congratulations again and Good Luck with the tri group Nadi. We trust your influence will grow this sport in the future and hopefully more iron mans develop from the Tri-Group.

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