Ironman Arizona 2019 - 21 week plan by Craig Zelent


Craig Zelent


21 Weeks

Typical Week

1 Day Off, 3 Swim, 4 Run, 4 Bike, 2 Strength

Longest Workout

1:30 hrs swim
8:00 hrs bike
3:04 hrs run

Plan Specs

triathlon ironman

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This is a training plan that will provide you with a solid foundation for a great racing experience. This is a very specific training plan for the 20 weeks leading up to and including your race. Additionally you will find an extra week of recovery workouts for the week after your race.

This plan is perfect for the 1st time Ironman competitor. This is also ideal for those who want to train by feel as heart rate and power tools are not utilized. This is very practical for those who have real lives - 1 day per week is always scheduled as an off day from training.

I used the Ironman Lake Placid plan written by Craig. It worked so well for me as it gave me visibility of the long term plan and required progression yet also walked me through the volume and intensity steps needed to have the strength, endurance and mental toughness to compete so strongly on race day. I actually found it to be of significantly more value than some prior 1:1 coaching I had had as it focused on progressive development and highly targeted training for my specific race. Most importantly for me was the value of the plan; my development as a function of the money spent, and given the expertise I received was undeniable. Here Craig not only developed a highly effective training plan but also made himself available to me by email and even phone ahead of the race. I can't recommend Craig's training plans enough. If you are serious about triathlon and want to achieve your goals at Iron distance racing then look no further. - Darren H.

I will always be grateful to Craig Zelent for his wonderful IM Lake Tahoe training plan. Craig not only provides a great program (swim, bike, run), but includes strength, recovery workouts and nutrition plans which makes the Ironman training more feasible, diverse, successful and fun. The 20 week program leading up to the race is great for people like me who work full time. His extra week of recovery workouts for the week after the race is very helpful, as well. I highly recommend his programs to other triathletes.

His program is oriented to have a great racing experience and show results. Craig encourages athletes to approach him (by phone or e-mail) to answer any specific questions or ways to modify the program. He is always eager to help identify and execute the routine on a weekly basis to guarantee becoming an Ironman. He wants other people to succeed and meet their racing goals. I got a PR thanks to his program and knowledgeable advice. - Claudia F.

I've used Craig's Oceanside 70.3 plan more than once and it is my 70.3 PR race. I love the flexibility in Training Peaks and seeing the entire race plan in one place so I can shift schedules around my other events. It is a great baseline plan that one can easily add or subtract or shift workouts around to fit a worker's schedule. I highly recommend this easily downloadable plan for anyone. LS


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 18:33
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 18:33
Average Weekly Breakdown

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

WEEK #16 - Recovery Day

Actively focus on recovery today: Watch nutrition closely (healthy carbs, lean protein, and good fats), stretch for 5-10 minutes.

Goals for the week:
1)Complete your 2nd bike ride of 100 miles.
2)Implement the final adjustments to your race day nutrition plan during your long weekend bike ride.
3)Be certain to complete a 4,000 yard swim.

Sample Day 2

Swim 3,500 Yards

Masters swim.

400 yards – freestyle warm up.

400 yards – 4 x100 yards w/fins as 25 shooter, 25 kick on your left side, 25 kick on your right side, 25 freestyle swim. The shooters are dolphin kick under water with no breathing or as few breaths as possible. I used an interval of 1:45.

600 yards – 6 x 100 yards as 75 freestyle, 25 backstroke. Descend these 1 through 3 and again 4 through 6. Thus, your fastest efforts should be on #3 and #6. I used an interval of 1:40 which gave me 5-10 seconds rest on #1 and #4 and 15-20 seconds rest on #3 and #6.

50 yards – easy freestyle recovery.

1,200 yards – pull buoy and paddles. (150, 100, 50) x 4. #1 and #3 are form. #2 and #4 are fast. I did these on the same interval all the way through (ie, 45 seconds per 50 cycle so the 150 was on 2:15, the 100 was on 1:30 and the 50 was on :45.)

50 yards – easy freestyle recovery.

600 yards – 12 x 50. The odds are 50 backstroke. The evens are 25 butterfly (or breast stroke) and 25 freestyle. I did these on 1:00 interval which gave me a lot of rest (about 15-20 seconds). They are all fast.

200 yards – freestyle warm down.

"B" workout

Sample Day 2

Transition Run 7 Miles

I'd suggest doing this run immediately after the swim workout or immediately after the bike workout so as to not have 3 separate workouts in 1 day. Thus, combining workouts may be the best use of your time. Run on soft but firm surface. Aim for 7 miles.

Post workout recovery priority: Drink a protein shake (24 grams protein) within 30 minutes of completing this workout. Consume some carbs asap, as well.

"B" workout

Sample Day 2

Indoor Bike Workout

Ideally you will have access to a spin class. I like the idea of a spin class (with a good instructor) because it often will be the best quality hour you spend on the bike all week. You don't have stop signs or other interruptions and it is a chance to really clean up your pedal stroke and cadence. Always make certain to have enough tension on the fly wheel - especially when you ride out of the saddle. Try to get to class early so you can have 10 minutes of warmup and give yourself 5 minutes at the end of class to warm down while on the bike.

"A" workout

Sample Day 3

Swim 4,000 Yards

Masters swim.

300 yards - freestyle warm up.

600 yards - with fins. 8 x 75 yards in this fashion: 25 flutter kick on your left side, 25 dolphin kick shooter style (ie, no breath for as long as you can go), 25 flutter kick on your right side. Do these

on 5 seconds rest.

100 yards - 4 x 25 yards freestyle drill. Count your strokes. Do these 25's with the least # of strokes possible. Do these on 5 seconds rest.

2,400 yards - 12 x 200 yards freestyle. The first 4 are "form", the next 4 are "firm", the final 4 are "fast." For the "form" really try hard to maintain the form you were just working on with the previous set. Pick an interval that will give you 5 seconds rest for these. My intervals were 2:55 for "form", 3:05 for "firm" and 3:15 for "fast."

400 yards 8 x 50 yards with pull buoy and paddles. Pick an interval that will give you a maximum of 5 seconds of rest. Breathe every 3 strokes on the odds. And breathe every 5 strokes on the evens.

200 yards - freestyle warm down.

"B" workout

Sample Day 3

Maintenance Phase

Warm up 5 minutes - easy running, spinning. or eliptical.

Try to spend 15 minutes each on core, upper body, legs.

For weights: MAINTENANCE PHASE: 10-12 reps/1 set. I suggest in this order: Bench Press or Push-ups, Squats, Lat Pull Down, Leg Extensions, Military or Shoulder Press, Hamstring or Leg Curl, Bicep Curl, Calf Raises, Tricep Curl, Wrist Curl.

2 sets of your ab/core exercises for 20 minutes - Ab Crunches, Back Extensions. I highly recommend using an Exercise Ball, Free Motion Cable Cross Machine, Bosu Ball.

Post workout recovery priority: Drink a protein shake (24 grams protein) within 30 minutes of completing this workout. Consume some carbs asap, as well.

"A" workout.

Sample Day 4

Run 7 Miles

On soft but firm surface. Keep your pace steady and consistent. Aim for 7 miles. I'd suggest getting this run in starting at the crack of dawn or just before. Then bike to work, if possible.

Post workout recovery priority: Drink a protein shake (24 grams protein) within 30 minutes of completing this workout. Consume some carbs asap, as well.

"B" workout

Ironman Arizona 2019 - 21 week plan by Craig Zelent

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