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Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman
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Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  409 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This book is both a lesson in true grit and determination, but its goal is one that is attainable. Andy isn't a sporting superstar, he holds down a 9-5 job and all the pressures that go with it; he isn't blessed with speed and talent; there are no multi-million pound sponsorship deals; yet this remarkable "common man" is inspiring in a way that some of today's sporting ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Pitch Publishing
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One by Kellie McNabbCan't Sleep, Can't Train, Can't Stop by Andy HolgateFinding Ultra by Rich RollCan't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run by Andy HolgateHow Triathlon Ruined My Life by Darren Roberts
Triathlon Memoirs
4th out of 7 books — 2 voters
Freakonomics by Steven D. LevittStiff by Mary RoachA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondBlink by Malcolm Gladwell
Interesting and Readable NonFiction
285th out of 895 books — 393 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 03, 2014 Vicii rated it really liked it
Fantastic read. Extremely motivating and I've already checked out dates for the local triathlon - oddly enough it was actually today, but still that gives me a clear 12 months to train. Having said that I have set myself up a training plan to run a 10K in November!

The book itself was really inspiring, I really like autobiographies that are written when the author actually has something to say and haven't yet managed to finish one by a "famous" person only by interesting and inspiring "normal" pe
Dec 18, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an easy and enjoyable read, even for couch potatoes who want to understand the suffering and torment that these people go to in order to complete an Ironman triathlon event. Finishing it, I have to say I have no compulsion whatsoever to complete a triathlon and wondered what drives the people who do? Andy Holgate does manage to come across as a pretty ordinary bloke as he takes us through the training and development programmes he pushed himself into in order to compete in an Ironman ...more
Silpa Parmar
Oct 02, 2012 Silpa Parmar rated it liked it
26/09/12: One thing is for sure: I don't ever want to do a triathlon in the cold, wet and miserable UK. Australia is a far more sensible place for the swim, ride, run combo!

02/10/12: Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run follows all-round nice guy, Andy Holgate, on his journey from becoming an overweight librarian to a fully-crazy, let’s-swim-2.4 miles-cycle 112-and-run-a-marathon-for-shits-and-giggles Ironman. Before I continue with the review, I have to mention that this book should really be call
Richard Wright
Jul 21, 2012 Richard Wright rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
I suspect I'm the ideal reader for this kind of book - somebody who isn't fit, but who would like to be fitter. Stories about other people who've made that journey, well told and relatable to, are just what I need. In this the book fails. Holgate isn't really making the journey from ordinary man to ironman. Instead, he's journeying from lapsed but experienced athlete, to very good athlete indeed. This chain-smoking crisp-munche r struggled to wholly identify. That said, the book's still a good ...more
Autumn Howard
Mar 17, 2013 Autumn Howard rated it really liked it
Fantastic read. More of a 'blog style' than a well-written book, but once I'd started I just couldn't put it down. A truly inspirational 'zero to hero' story. Left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Clark Goble
Jul 06, 2012 Clark Goble rated it liked it
A few months ago I began a diet program. I’ve had mixed success in my endeavors having lost 30 or so pounds and then hitting a wall. My wall is more a failure of will rather than ability. I’ve grown tired of the effort it takes me to lose weight. In my twenties and thirties it seemed I could lose weight at will. In my forties it seems every pound lost requires excruciating effort. One of my favorite activities however is cycling and I have long harbored a desire to train for and complete a ...more
Henri Hämäläinen
Jan 07, 2013 Henri Hämäläinen rated it liked it
I got as a Christmas present from my sister and her husband a book about common guy turning to an ironman. This book Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman from Andy Holgate was their interpretation of my current triathlon enthuasism. I guess they hit it quite close.

This book is a journey without any technical jargon about training. It's a motivational story about ones life and how triathlon bug can hit hard. Andy Holgate turns from quite normal, bit overweight, librarian
Elena Tawney
May 02, 2015 Elena Tawney rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. This is probably my favorite Ironman book out of the 3 I have read. Andy is just so affable and down-to-earth. He has a great sense of humor and you feel like you are there on the journey with him, through the highs and lows, as he trains and battles through various setbacks, crashes, and injuries. The book finished on such a positive note with both Andy, "IronHolgs," and his friend Viking finishing IM Germany. Andy very much embodies the regular bloke turned Ironman and it is ...more
Sep 10, 2013 Tony rated it liked it
A witty, self-effacing account of one man's journey from being an out of shape every man to conquering that ultimate physical challenge, an Iron-distance triathlon. The writing style is a bit simple and conversational and there are several British-isms that are a unfamiliar to an American reader. Since I've caught the triathlon bug in a big way myself, I was fascinated by the technical details of the training considerations, equipment, and the races themselves, but I do wonder if it would be as ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Heidi rated it did not like it
I think that this book may be aimed for a reader who does not know anything about triathlon and needs a motivating story to try it. For that kind of audience the book may be a great read.

Although this book gives a very realistic picture of the sport, I found the book very boring. This is a sort of a story you hear at the triathlon group trainings again and again. I am sorry, but I had to struggle to read it through.
Lee Ann
Jun 14, 2012 Lee Ann rated it did not like it
Found this book so poorly written that it was annoying and frustrating me so much I really had to force myself to stick with it. He should stick to writing blogs - the inane drivel doesn't transfer so well to a book. As they say in Glasgow - "his patter's pish''. Great achievement, but the book is pretty poor. Read Chrissie Wellington's book instead for a refreshingly well written sports autobiography.
Mar 02, 2016 Thomas rated it liked it
Tightly written, interesting through and not unnecessarily flashy, for someone interested in long distance endurance sports and the experience of pain and willpower in extreme, a very enjoyable read. I sometimes had the impression there was an overload of detail, but I read every word willingly and came away with a very impressive image of a slightly mad, stubborn bloke and a great urge to go on a long bike riding holiday. 6
Adina R
May 31, 2016 Adina R rated it liked it
Shelves: sport, non-fiction
I am entertained by these types of triathlon memoirs. Nothing spectacular here but not a waste of time either. The most memorable story was when he hit his toe in the fridge right before the big event. Auch. It happens to me quite often and it always hurts like hell. Last time, I walked in pain for a week and I had to wear heels.
Mark Bell
Aug 28, 2013 Mark Bell rated it really liked it
Just the right book to read on holiday...
Anyone can do an Ironman... with enough hours to train and a bucket of grit and determination.
I thought this was an enjoyable read, but then I like these sort of "give it a go / self test" books.
Dec 11, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
i know Andy from a long time ago and was thrilled to find out was the same one!! i really enjoyed this book as did ny husband. so much so he has signed up to do a triathlon next year. a fun and inspirational read!!
Sep 17, 2013 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-books
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't particularly well written, but I loved following his journey from couch potato to Ironman. Rather than reading a book it was more like reading someone's blogs and race reports.
Ross Leckridge
Jul 19, 2013 Ross Leckridge rated it liked it
For someone about to attempt their first Triathlon, the content was both inspiring and reassuring. The prose ain't great though, and I think there were parts that were unnecessary. The last chapter was my favourite part of the whole book.
Elizabeth Boltuc
Mar 21, 2012 Elizabeth Boltuc rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Laugh out loud funny. Completing a triathlon has just been added to my bucket list.
Feb 21, 2013 Cameron rated it really liked it
Fairly entertaining read, became a little repetitive at the end. I will remember to blame Andy for want to do an Iron Man
Michelle Barker
Jul 07, 2016 Michelle Barker rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads
Inspirational, yes, but suffered from poor writing (and poor editing) and too many anecdotes that had a cliched feel to them.
Oct 06, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it

Just the right kind of book - funny with interesting race reports but not too much detail. Found myself much to invested in his success which seems about right.
Jason Mcintyre
Sep 26, 2013 Jason Mcintyre rated it it was ok
An engrossing tale, charting the rise from couch potato to Ironman. Easy to read and motivating - a must have for those requiring inspiration.
Dionne Christie-cunningham
Sep 29, 2012 Dionne Christie-cunningham rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book ! the run 26.2 miles,:(bike 112 miles swim 2.4 miles. He is awesome, He never gave up..AWESOME
May 26, 2015 Nik rated it liked it
A good all round read that captures the grit & determination of training for a Triathlon. Possibly a little too rambly towards the end, but nevertheless enjoyable.
bernard underwood
More than I thought

I thought this book was a beginner's book about training (I did not dl the sample) I was surprised about this guys journey to the ironman made me a believer
Dec 08, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
Great insight into triathlon and Ironman in particular. The last third of the book drags a bit until he gets onto his German Ironman, but overall definitely recommend.
Ian Roberts
Oct 10, 2014 Ian Roberts rated it really liked it
A good book for someone like me who have done a couple of duathlon and triathlons who can relate to it.
Stuart Mackenzie
Stuart Mackenzie rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2016
Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2014
Tess rated it it was ok
Mar 17, 2016
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