Training for an Ironman

Training for an Ironman

Hello everyone, welcome back to Tim’s sporting and fitness blog. My name is Alan, and Tim asked me to write a piece for him today as we used to be on the same football team. Recently, I began training for an Ironman competition. To get myself started though, I made sure to get lots of sports and fitness equiptment from a site called that has lots of new and used sporting gear. I used them to source some new running shoes, swimming goggles, and a hydration belt with bottles. Thanks to this website, I am now fully prepared in terms of equipment so the next step is to get physically ready. For that, I have started a big six month long journey.

Ironman North America


Getting Ready

If you are like me and just signed up for your first Ironman and you are committed to completing it, then first off congratulations. Now is the time to start on it, making some notes on your fitness and schedule and focusing on your goal ahead. With a full six months ahead of you, it is time to start forming good training habits, build up your base miles and identify your strengths and weaknesses. You also want to make sure that you are avoiding burnout, with six months of hard training it can take a serious toll on your body and if not done carefully cause serious injury. You will also want to let employers and family know about this incredible achievement you are aiming for and how it may require some changes to your lifestyle. 

Before you Start

If you want, you can decide to train yourself for the entirety of the six month Ironman journey. This may be a cheaper route, but getting an experienced trainer can help in many ways. Before you start either with or without a trainer, there are two simple things that can help boost your start. The first is to have your swimming technique checked. You don’t have to get a personal trainer to have this checked, just head down to a good swimming pool and see if a coach can spend 20 minutes with you. The second thing is to get a professional bike fitting. This will make cycling more comfortable and make sure that you are as efficient as possible. 

Ironman Swimming

6 Months out

Every athlete as an individual is different. Some of you might find sticking to a schedule like this very easy, while others may find it to get monotonous. Everyone however will need to adapt their workout to fit into their already busy life and the needs that go along with that. The idea is to pick pick big sessions to do every week, and not beat yourself up about it if you can’t manage a sixth.  A week would consist of something like: Monday 1 hour swim, Tuesday 1 hou cycle, Wednesday off, Thursday 45 to 60 minutes of running, Friday 1 hour swim, Saturday 60 minute run, Sunday 2 to 3 hour cycle. If you aim to hit 5 of these each week, and a sixth whenever possible a sixth month program will work wonders.


Ironman Running


Five months out

After your first month, you will want to start a gradual increase in the time you spend during each session. In the first week of your second month, try increasing your workout durations by about 10 percent, and then another ten every week for that month. At the end of the two month period, it is recommended to break for a week before taking on a brutal 16 week Ironman specific regime. This is also a good period to address any issue you have found so far.


Four Months out

In month three you will want to start doing multiple session per day, involving two different workouts. You should also increase your run and cycle times again by 10 percent each week, although try to fit in a week of rest where you do not increase your workout time. The schedule would look something like this- Monday off day, Tuesday 90 minute cycle and 60 minute run, Wednesday 60 minute swim, Thursday 90 minute cycle and 60 minute run, Friday 60 minute swim, Saturday 180 minute to 240 minute cycle and a 15 minute run off the bike, Sunday 40 minute open water swim and 80 minute run. 

Three month out

At the midpoint of your workout, not much needs to be changed. Slowly increase the running and cycle times again but this time only by 5 percent each week. 

Two Month out

This is when the real action starts. It is a good idea to do any olympic or half distance races you can at this point, or any race simulation brick sessions that include running swimming and cycling. During this time also increase your normal workouts by 15 percent each week. 

Check us out next week for a follow up on the month before an Ironman. If you liked this, check out our last blog about NFL MVP voting here .