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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

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  552 ratings  ·  38 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 sup ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Pitch Publishing
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Aug 02, 2014 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 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 ev ...more
Silpa Parmar
Aug 27, 2012 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 15, 2012 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 r ...more
Jul 14, 2013 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.
Autumn Pearson
Mar 15, 2013 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.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fun, audiobooks
Title is misleading - Andy was an experienced athlete which get back in shape and became a triathlonist. Which is nice story, not extremely well written and not so easy to replicate for somebody which truly can't run, bike and swim :)
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic idea to finish this the day of gold nugget. I'll need the inspiration
Aug 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
A more accurate title would say From Common Man to Ironman-distance event finisher. Total demotivation
Clark Goble
Jul 06, 2012 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 mini- ...more
Henri Hämäläinen
Jan 07, 2013 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 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
Jun 13, 2013 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 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 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.
Feb 10, 2016 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
Mark Bell
Aug 28, 2013 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 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 03, 2013 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
Jun 27, 2013 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 Germany
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Laugh out loud funny. Completing a triathlon has just been added to my bucket list.
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Easy read, enjoyed hearing about the challenges he faced on his road to doing the iron man.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fast read. Enjoyable read and very motivational for a beginner triathlete.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
really enjoyable read and very inspiring! My 1st triathlon doesn't seem so daunting now
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Very drawn out.
Jan 08, 2013 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
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's a lot of British English, so be prepared to use the dictionary!
Michelle Barker
Jun 24, 2016 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.
Simon Brighty
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oct 06, 2012 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.
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“A compulsory safety briefing. Did the organizers know something I didn't? Was it really that unsafe that they had to warn us? Would there be a solicitor present checking that my will was up to date? Was triathlon secretly a government scheme to reduce the population by having those of a less than full mental capacity willing go to their depths in mass suicide disguised as a sporting challenge?” 0 likes
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