IRONMAN 16-Week Intermediate-Advanced Training Program / Sunday Race Day

Average Weekly Training Hours 13:04
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 13:04
Training Load By Week

This is an Intermediate - Advanced level Ironman distance focused training plan intended for use by the competitive Ironman Age Group Triathlete with at least 3 years or more of training and racing experience and with at least one Ironman distance race 'under their belt'. Before starting this plan, it's recommended that the athlete complete at least 12 weeks of steady aerobic foundation training and perhaps have completed one or two races in order to establish their 'race legs'. In addition, this advanced program requires a high level of overall body conditioning and good biomechanics due to the high volume. It is expected that the athlete takes full responsibility for monitoring themselves for signs of overtraining or overuse and adjust the plan according to their own individual needs. A complete physical check up is recommended prior to starting this or any strenuous exercise program. Finally, it's important for all athletes to understand that successful triathlon racing requires a year-round commitment to training and it is advised that serious competitors work with a coach in regard to their annual training plan development.

The daily workouts in the plan are detailed with small ranges in order to accommodate individual time restraints. For example, a run workout might suggest 40-45 minutes of zone 2 (aerobic paced) running and a target distance of 5 miles. It is up to the athlete to hit daily training goals and to log them accordingly in the trainingpeaks software.

With the busy age group athlete in mind, most weekdays involve lighter training loads of one or two workouts a day and involve a time commitment of one to two hours (or slightly more) depending on which stage of the plan the athlete is in. Weekends typically have higher workloads and 'peak' at upwards of 8-10 hours of total training.

At times during the plan, Spinervals DVDs are recommended for use but are not required. Athletes can learn more about the Spinervals DVD series by visiting Also, training tips are available to everyone by visiting

The workouts are given an intensity description by Zones. Advanced athletes can use heart rate, power (on the bike) or PE(perceived effort) to monitor their daily training intensities. In general, the intensities for this plan are as follows:

Zone 1: Recovery pace. Very low intensity active recovery 'shake the legs out'. Ideal after long/hard workout days and races. 'Noodle it'.

Zone 2: Aerobic/Blue pace. Low to moderate intensity training. PE of 6-7.5 (Scale 1-10, 10 being 100%). Steady conversation effort. HR is at least 10-25 beats per minute below LTHR (lactate threshold heart rate).

Zone 3: Aerobic Endurance/Gray pace. Moderate to hard training. PE of 7.5- 8.5. Harder efforts that can be sustained for long periods of time. HR 0-10 beats below LTHR

Zone 4: Threshold Training. Hard training at a pace sustainable for short durations. At and above 'race pace'. PE 8.5 - 9. Suffer a little. HR within 5+/- LTHR

Zone 5: V02max Training: Really hard training, PE 9-10. Suffer a lot. HR 10-20 bpm above LTHR

Prior to starting this program and again mid-way through the program, it is recommended that the athlete gets a metabolic test in order to set up target training zones effectively. If that test is not available or convenient, benchmark tests such as that found in Spinervals 27.0 (, a 20 minute functional threshold test or for the run, a hard 3 mile effort (take avg. HR for the run) can be used to determine LTHR. (Example: If a 3 mile hard, race paced run yields an avg. HR of 150 bpm, this is your LTHR.)

By the end of this 16 week block of training, the athlete should have a high level of fitness required for the successful completion of the Ironman distance. More information, videos and articles about training and racing can be found online at, with a bulk of articles available to members of

Sample Day 2
Swim Workout

Technique: w/up 200 free
8x50 catch up drill @ 10 sec rest (sr)
4x50 kick w/board @ 10 sr
Pull 500 steady (focus on dist. / stroke)
8x50 finger tip drag drill @ 10 sr
4x50 kick on back (arms over head) @ 10 sr
c/down 200 easy free

Sample Day 2
Run Workout

Aerobic Base: Zone 2, 30- 40 minutes steady aerobic run. Focus on using good form and staying within your comfort zone. Push to the upper range of Z2 on days you feel strong and keep it at the lower range on other days.

Sample Day 3
Brick Workout

1 Hr Aerobic Base Bike/Z2 (85-95 rpms), rest 3 min. then Run 30 min. aerobic (treadmill or pavement)

Sample Day 4
Swim Workout

Consider your shoulder health as your swim training volume picks up. We recommend strength training with bands and doing some rotator cuff work on a regular basis.

Technique: w/up 200 free
10x75 drill (25 left arm, 25 right arm, 25 swim @ 10 sr
4x50 kick (scull w/ hands in front) @10 sr
5x100 pull (focus on strokes/length) @ 15sr
6x75 drill (25 rt. Arm, 25 lft. Arm, 25 swim @ 10 sr
4x50 kick (on back – arms extended overhead)
200 pull (Strokes per length focus)
c/down 200 easy

Sample Day 4
Bike Workout

1:30 Hr Aerobic Base Builder Zone 2 HR, 85-95 rpms Or Spinervals 16 or 18

Sample Day 5
Run Workout

Aerobic Base: Zone 2, 40-50 minutes steady aerobic run. Focus on using good form and staying within your comfort zone. Push to the upper range of Zone 2 on days you feel strong and keep it at the lower range on the other days.

Sample Day 6
Swim Workout / Steady straight swim

2000 Yard straight swim. Focus on good form. Negative split the workout, but don’t ‘race’ it. Swim relaxed and under control.

Troy Jacobson
Life Time Fitness, Inc.

Offering Training plans for triathlon and cycling, personal online coaching, training camps and training media (