Whether you are looking to finish your first Ironman, improve performance or qualify for Hawaii, choose from four different levels of Ironman training plans to help you train systematically to attain your Ironman goals. These plans are ideal for time-crunched athletes looking to make the most of their training time.
Each 24-week plan follows a 2:1 periodization schedule that involves two weeks of increasing volume or intensity followed by a recovery week. The plans vary according to the number of workouts per week, the amount of training hours, and the length of time spent working on the foundational base.
As you compare the plans to find the right one for you, consider your past training volume, the amount of time you have to dedicate to training, and your Ironman goals.
Swim at recovery pace. Incorporate some drills; stay focused on form.
Training effects are gained between key workouts when your body recovers and rebuilds. The purpose of this workout is to facilitate that rebuilding process by helping your body recover from prior training.
If you need to shorten this workout or take the day off completely, do so. Listen to your body.
This should be an easy ride—it is designed to aid recovery, add to your training volume and loosen you up for the key workouts of the week.
Bike primarily in Zones 1-2. Keep cadence high. Don’t worry about pace; goal is to loosen legs and feel fresh at end. Include a few isolated leg drills during the ride.
Isolated leg drill: Spin with one leg; focus on smooth pedal stroke.
Warm up: 400 free, 200 non-free and/or kick, 200 drill.
Swim 10-20 x 100 free in Zone 2 (i.e. T-pace plus 10 seconds) with 15 seconds rest interval (set a send-off time based on swimming pace zones). Focus on a steady pace.
Warm down: 200 easy backstroke.
Note: Choose number of 100s based on your send-off time so that you can finish the set in about 30 minutes. For example, if you swim the 100s in 1:15 your send-off time would be 1:30; this would allow you to do 20 x 100s in 30 minutes. Or, if you swim the 100s in 1:45 your send-off time would be 2:00; this would allow you to do 15 x 100s in 30 minutes. The entire workout should take about an hour, including warmup, main set, and warmdown.
This run is designed to build your aerobic system and add to your training base. Run primarily in Zone 2 for the bulk of the run. Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds.
This bike workout is designed to build your aerobic system and add to your training base. Bike primarily in Zone 2 for the bulk of the ride. Focus on keeping cadence at 90 or above.
This should be an easy run—it is designed to aid recovery, add to your training volume and loosen you up for the key runs of the week.
Run primarily in Zone 1 (or into bottom of Zone 2). Focus on keeping cadence between 28-30 left foot strikes per 20 seconds. Don’t worry about pace or distance covered; goal is to feel fresh at the end. This run is ideal to do on trails where you can keep it easy without worrying about time splits.
Note: if you feel overly fatigued going into this workout, then cut back the duration of this run—or take the day off completely. It’s better to truly recover on this day, rather than going into the next key workout unable to give it a quality effort.
Warm up: 400 free, 300 pull, 200 backstroke, 100 kick.
Swim 16 x 25 build freestyle (i.e. build to a sprint) with rest interval equivalent to swim time. Focus on good push off wall with nice streamline. Swim as fast as you can without breaking form! This should be “feel good” speed.
Swim 6-8 x 300 free in Zone 2 (i.e. T-pace plus 10 seconds) with 25 seconds rest interval (set a send-off time based on swimming pace zones). Focus on a steady pace.
Optional: 3-500 pull in Zone 2 with backstroke every fourth 25. Focus on body roll and breathing to alternate sides. If you feel comfortable breathing every three strokes; then try to extend it to every five strokes.
Swim 8 x 50 with hands closed in fist during the first 25 of each 50. Focus on keeping the elbow high and finding the most effective position for your arm during the pull phase of your stroke. Open up fist and swim normally for second 25 of each 50. Focus on keeping elbow high and building upon the position you found during the fists drill. 15 seconds rest interval. Focus is on form not speed.
Warm down: 200 easy backstroke.