Intermediate Full Distance IRONMAN 20-week plan - VIDEOS included (Power based - bike and run)

Average Weekly Training Hours 11:00
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 11:00
Training Load By Week

This plan will help intermediate triathletes prepare to race their fastest full-distance IRONMAN triathlon ever in 20 weeks. The structured and specific progression of the workouts in the plan will see to that.

If you typically finish between the top-20% and top-75% of your age-group this plan will suit you well, even if you haven't done an Ironman previously (it is recommended that you have completed at least a half distance/Ironman 70.3 race, though).

The plan is simple and easy-to-follow. You don't need any prior knowledge about structured training endurance sports to be able to follow it. Everything is clearly explained in the plan.

There is on average 11 hours of training per week, over 7-10 workouts. The lightest week is 6 hours, and the hardest has 16 hours of training.

There are 21 videos included in the plan, one for each week plus one big-picture overview. This will help you understand the purpose of the plan as a whole and each week within it, its different phases, and importantly, how to execute it correctly.

Workouts that should not be missed are clearly marked as KEY WORKOUTS, so you can optimise your scheduling, and rearrange the plan cleverly if life gets in the way.

This plan is based on power for cycling and for running.

It is also available as versions based on bike heart rate (and RPE) instead of power and based on run pace instead of power to guide intensity. See


-Average user rating: 9.3 / 10 (at the moment of writing, 24 October 2018)

*I gather feedback on all the training plans I create in order to constantly improve them. One of the questions I ask is for the user to rate the plan on a scale from 1/10. The average user rating is calculated from this feedback.


One of the best training plans I´ve ever purchased!

The progression of the plan was very good. I felt a lot stronger after the training and I also liked that the Training Peaks version of the plan has the Structured Workouts feature so they can be easily downloaded to Garmin devices.

I sincerely think that it has been one of the best training plans I´ve ever purchased. Worth every penny!

Victor Campos Vallejo
31, Mexico

Kept me organised and focused!

Your plan kept me very organized and focused through the 12 weeks. It was a good fit for my level. Not too easy, with too short training distances like so many other training plans I looked at, but not so daunting as some of the 12-15 hrs/week plans.

I have another race coming up, so I plan to restart the plan next week to prep for it. I would highly recommend it!

Christina Meyer
47, United States

Made my training much more efficient!

With this training plan, my training changed to be more systematic. Each session has a clear target for what you're trying to achieve - not just "going for a run".

I haven't previously trained using training zones, and this made the training much more efficient. I've improved my run pace nicely (and it was my strongest discipline before) and really improved my cycling.

Finally, having this plan makes it harder to skip workouts, so it helps you stay consistent. If you're considering purchasing it, just go for it! It helps immensely.

Kristian Nikinmaa
33, United Kingdom

-You can find more testimonials at

Sample Day 1
CSS-test (Critical Swim Speed) [KEY WORKOUT]

CSS training (Critical Swim Speed) involves swimming at a pace that will improve your lactate threshold, a physiological factor that when improved will result in significant speed increases in distance swimming (400m plus). Use this test to find out what speed to swim at to train your lactate threshold.

-300 easy
-200 w/ fins as ­↑ broken arrow ↓ freestyle
-200 w/ pull buoy and paddles as B3/5/7/3/3/5/7/3
-100 w/ pull buoy as: 2 x (12 ½ scull #1 + 12 ½ doggy paddle + 25 freestyle)

-4 x 50 (25 fast + 25 easy)
-4 x 100 at your predicted 400 pace / 20 sec rest

Main set - the CSS-test:
-400 m/yd at your absolute best effort
-10 min rest doing some light swimming (e.g. get in 200-300 m of very easy swimming, perhaps as 4-6 x 50, can include mixed strokes)
-200 m/yd at your absolute best effort

Main set part 2: Pacing
-4 x 100 at a strong effort, but slightly slower than your actual pace from the 400 / 20 sec rest

Warm down
-200m mixed strokes


-"↑ X ↓ Y" means swim X on the way up the lane (25 m or yds, or 50 in a long-course pool) and swim Y on the way back.

-B3/B4/B5/B6/B7... means breathe every 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... strokes

-Broken arrow:

-"Mixed strokes" means that you can choose to swim a mixture of freestyle, back stroke, breast stroke, butterfly, however you prefer (e.g. 200 mixed strokes can be 2 x (25 back + 75 free)

-If you need to scale down this workout, remove
1. The warm-down
2. The Main Set part 2

Sample Day 2
FTP-test: 20-minute Time Trial [KEY WORKOUT]

Use this test to find out what your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) and/or Heart Rate (FTHR) is and set your training zones.

Do the test on an indoor trainer or outside with no interruptions for traffic and ideally as flat as possible.

If using a power meter, remember to calibrate your power meter at some point during the warm-up (e.g. after 10 minutes), before starting the Time Trial.

-10 minutes easy spinning
-3 x (1 minute hard effort 90+ rpm, 1 minute easy Z1)
-4 minutes easy (Z1)
-5 minutes hard effort (Z4-Z5)
-5 minutes easy (Z1/Z2)

Main set:
-20 minutes Time Trial at your best possible effort.

-10 minutes very easy spin


-Pace well. Don't go out too hard and fade before the end of the test. But make sure that you've given it your 100% at the end of the test.

-Looking through previous tests and recent workouts will give you an idea of what power (or heart rate if you don't use power) you can realistically sustain. But tune in to your body and your effort to really give your absolute best, regardless of what you thought beforehand that you were capable of.

-Record the 20-minute TT in one single lap on your watch/head unit. Press lap when starting and finishing the TT. Do not have auto-lap (e.g. automatic laps every 5 km) activated.

-If you have a heart rate monitor, use it in the test to get an estimate of your threshold heart rate.

Sample Day 10
Threshold + Muscular Endurance 15 x 100 [KEY WORKOUT]

Warm up:
-600 easy
-4 x 100 as (B3, B5, B3, B5) / 20 s
-4 x 100 (snorkel optional) as (50 kick, 25 easy free, 25 sprint) / 30 s

-8 x 50 descend 1-4 / 15 sec rest

Main set - all at threshold/CSS *effort* (note that reps with paddles may be faster at the same effort)
-3 x 100 / 20 sec rest
-3 x 100 w/ paddles / 20 sec rest
-3 x 100 / 20 sec rest
-3 x 100 w/ paddles / 20 sec rest
-3 x 100 / 20 sec rest

Strength (if absolutely necessary, add a pull buoy):
-4 x 25 w/ bands / 15 sec
-4 x 50 w/ paddles and bands / 15 sec


-Swim with bands:

-"↑ X ↓ Y" means swim X on the way up the lane (25 m or yds, or 50 in a long-course pool) and swim Y on the way back.

-B3/B4/B5/B6/B7... means breathe every 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... strokes

-Descending = each interval faster than the previous.

-Descend 1-3 example: "9 x 100 m / 10 s, descend 1-3” means descending within sets of three and then starting over for the next set of 3 (intervals 4-6). E.g. 1:50, 1:45, 1:40, 1:50, 1:45, 1:40, 1:50, 1:45, 1:40.

Sample Day 19
Speed - 4 x 50 + 4 x 25

-600 easy

-300 as 4 x (50 very easy, 25 FAST)

Main set:
4 x (
-50 all out SPRINT + 50 super easy swim recovery / 1 min rest
-25 all out SPRINT + 25 super easy swim recovery / 45 sec rest

Sample Day 43
VO2max - 10 x 100

-500 easy
-4 x 100 as (choice drill, freestyle, choice drill, freestyle) (snorkel and fins/pull buoy optional)

-2 x 50 w/ paddles as (25 sprint + 25 easy)
-2 x 50 as (25 sprint + 25 easy)

Main set:
-10 x 100 FAST! (maximum sustainable effort) / 1 min (if you swim the 100s slower than 1:40, take 1:15 recovery)

Endurance set:
-3 x 300 easy, focus on maintaining technique when tired / 15 sec

Sample Day 84
Big Day (Open Water) - Race Intensity 1h [KEY WORKOUT]

Open water or pool:
-If you have the option to do this workout in the open water, this is infinitely valuable. After all, you want to simulate your race as closely as possible and pool swimming is not very specific to open water swimming in a triathlon. However, if open water is absolutely not an option the pool will have to do. Even in the pool, follow the Equipment guidance below (i.e. use a wetsuit if you're preparing for a wetsuit-legal race).

-Use the equipment you will be using on race day. Likely a wetsuit, since most races for age-groupers are wetsuit-legal, but if your goal race does not allow wetsuits, do this workout in the same equipment as the goal race (trisuit or swimskin) if possible (if you're preparing for a hot race but live in a colder climate this might of course not be possible since the water temperature where you live is so much colder).
-Simulate your race-day warm-up. If that means a swim warm-up, do it (see below for an example warm-up). If your race does not allow a swim warm-up, this is your opportunity to test the dryland warm-up you will be using on race day. Jog to raise your core temperature, mobilise your body and in particular your upper body and shoulders, and work with rubber bands to simulate swimming and activae your swimming muscles generally.

Race pace swim:
-1h continuous swim @ race intensity.

Sample Day 84
Big Day - Race Intensity 2 x 90' [KEY WORKOUT]

-1 h @ high Z1/low to mid Z2

2 x (
-90' @ Race Intensity (mid to high Z2)
-30' @ high Z1/low to mid Z2

-Simulate race day as much as possible. This means race equipment, race fuelling and hydration, if possible select a course and weather conditions similar to what you will experience on race day.

-Be honest with yourself about pacing. This is not a day when medals are awarded for peak power outputs. This is a day when you should find a very sustainable output and hold it for the duration of the race pace segments, and it should feel manageable (alhough you will no doubt be tired towards the latter parts of the workout, especially given the prior weeks of training you have in your legs).

-Pay particular attention to holding a good aerodynamic position throughout the ride.

-And as mentioned above, you HAVE to practise your race fuelling and hyration plan. As a very general guideline, aim for 60-90 g carbohydrate per hour (equicalent of ~3-4 energy gels per hour). Hydration varies widely based on sweat rate, sweat sodium content, and weather conditions. There's no need to consume more than at most 1 litre of fluid per hour, but depending on your sweat rate and the weather conditions you might need much less, 500-750 ml. As for sodium and electrolytes, heavy sweaters (do you often get salt stains on your clothes when training?) will need 1000-2000 mg sodium per litre of fluid, and light sweaters will be fine with 500-1000 mg.

Mikael Eriksson - Founder of Scientific Triathlon, Podcaster at That Triathlon Show
Scientific Triathlon

With all the athletes I coach, I have three goals:

-Improve the athlete's performance
-Increase the motivation and enjoyment the athlete gets from the sport
-Provide 100% personalized feedback, mentoring and support. Essentially, teach my athletes to be able to self-coach, should they so desire.

I have coached complete beginners to finish their first sprint and Olympic triathlons, and helped intermediate/advanced athletes qualify for World Championships and reach age group wins and podiums.