The perfect Ironman 2 week taper - Saturday Race

Average Weekly Training Hours 09:24
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 09:24
Training Load By Week

Tapering is an essential part of executing a great race. A lot of people often think that this is a time to put their feet up and relax. However, an Ironman triathlon is a long event and the body needs to be ready for the physical demands of a race will take even the best athletes 8-9hrs. This two-week plan is one I've perfected with the professional athletes I've worked with over many years. For a more personalised plan you can contact me via my website or email me

Sample Day 1
Goldielocks Set

200 easy freestyle
100 pull buoy ↑ B5s ↓ B3s
2 x 50 fins
1. 25 6/1/6 + 25 freestyle
2. 50 broken arrow
200 pull buoy and optional paddles
100 freestyle moderate pace
2 x 50 pull buoy (12 ½ scull # 1 + 12 ½ doggy paddle + 25 freestyle)
4 x 100 freestyle (25 easy + 25 moderate + 25 fast + 25 easy) (+10s)
All at CSS/100 pace and all with 20s recovery between each
4 x 100
1 x 200 (Baby Bear)
4 x 100
1 x 300 (Mamma Bear)
4 x 100
1 x 400 (Papa Bear)
100 Choice

Sample Day 2
Rhythmical Speed

200 easy freestyle
200 fins ↑ 25 Javelin L + 25 freestyle B-Right ↓ 25 Javelin R + 25 freestyle B-Left
100 pull buoy (12 ½ scull #1 + 12 ½ doggy paddle + 25 fast)
3 x 100 pull buoy and optional paddles building to fast throughout the 100 (+10s)
30 x~50 fast freestyle (+15s) as below:
5 x 50 @ base rate stroke rate
5 x 50 @ base rate stroke rate + 3 SPM
5 x 50 @ base rate stroke rate + 6 SPM
5 x 50m @ base rate stroke rate + 9 SPM
5 x 50m @ base rate stroke rate + 12 SPM*
5 x 50m @ base rate stroke rate + 15 SPM*
200 Choice

Sample Day 5
Light run

Very light with 5x 100m strides (hard effrots) to keep the legs turning over.

Sample Day 6

Keep this as an easy zone 2 run that feels comfortable the whole way. The main goal is to keep an aerobic stimulus in the legs over a long duration. This is not a run to try and gain fitness or an extra edge. That work has been done.

Sample Day 9
Run after swim steady

No need to warm-up as you'll be ready to go from the swim. Build straight into Ironman pace and then continue to build to half-ironman pace over 20min. Finish with 5x 100-150m strides (Hard efforts) with 30sec recovery and cool-down.

Sample Day 11
Recon ride

This is a steady aerobic ride. This is a good chance to checkout out the hardest or most technical part of the course. It's also a good idea to drive a lap of the course if you can't ride it due to weather so you can note down landmarks/distances for when hilly sections maybe coming up. This will help with pacing.

Sample Day 11
light jog off the bike

Just getting the legs moving and running through transition practice. Your legs have a lot of work to do on Saturday so it's best to keep running to a minimum to allow them to freshen up.

Will O'Connor - PhD
Performance Advantage

I have PhD in sports science and work with many top endurance athletes. Personally, I love trail running, but will compete in almost anything endurance based.

My coaching philosophy is built around educating athletes and taking time to understand their personal situation and sporting goals.