Triathlete Magazine's 16-Week Time Crunched Ironman Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 12:45
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 12:45
Training Load By Week

This kickstart 16-week plan will build a solid foundation to get you Ironman-ready without exceeding 18 training hours per week.

We recommend that the athlete starting this program have at least a few weeks of training under their belt—they should be able to ride for 3 hours or so and run 75-90 minutes. We also strongly recommend that athletes train only lightly the week prior to starting this program.

Ideally you should start an Ironman block rested and healthy with no injuries. It is key for an athlete to look at his/her year and figure out what Ironman race they are preparing for and if they are racing 70.3 s or other distances prior to the IM block. They should finish their races a week or two prior to starting the Ironman plan and preferably after a little break or vacation. We also recommend doing a tune-up race around weeks 9 or 12.

Sixteen weeks is ample time to get in a very solid preparation for an Ironman. The first phase of this plan is geared towards creating consistency with your training and adapting to the structure and routine of being on a program.

Sample Day 2

Strength run:
20min w-up
5x (1min hill repeat on 3-4% garde @ half marathon effort --1min ez walk or jog recovery)
5min ez
5x (1min pick ups on flat terrain up to half marathon effort with good cadence---1min ez)
10min cool-down

Sample Day 3

Swim: 2.5k

400 Choice :15

6x 50 as 25 drill choice / 25FR :15

4x 400 @ IM effort and can use pull buoy :15

200 c-d

Sample Day 3

Bike strength work: 1.25hrs
30mn w-up
2x (5min climbs @ zone 3 so close to 70.3 effort / 5minez)
If you do not have hills you can do this as a BIG gear session and keep cadence @ 75rpm in a larger gear...
25min c-d

Sample Day 4

Run Fartlek: 50min
20min w-up
8x 60sec on 2:30
All at 10k
-controlled and with good form and good cadence around 90…
10min c-d

Sample Day 5

Swim: 2.5k

4x 200 Choice of stroke w-up :15
4x 50 as 25 drill choice/25Fr :10

Main set:
2x (5x 100 @ IM effort :15---100 ez :15)

300 c-d w/ some kicking w/board

Sample Day 5

streamlined basic core strength program:
- 1 type core crunches 2 sets of 20reps
- 1 type core on ball 2 sets of 20 reps
- planks/body bridge holding good horizontal body position 2-4 x 30-45sec and build up to
Rest is 20-30sec rest between sets

Sample Day 6

Long Ironman pacing ride
45 minute warm-up
3x 30 minutes @ IM effort---15min easier recovery pace
30 minute cool-down