The Easiest and Most Effective Ironman Training Plan

Ironman training plan

I can’t help crying. Every time.

Watching those athletes come across the finish line is always emotional and inspirational. The way they fall across the finish line in complete exhaustion. The way they put themselves out there to accomplish their goals.

Watching those athletes push their bodies and minds to the point of breaking down makes me want to do that.

Crazy, isn’t it?

What is it about watching others push themselves to the max that makes us want to join in?

Triathlons of any length are not for the weak. Being able to swim, bike, and run in a single race takes hard work and dedication. There is no other physical feat like taking on an Ironman Triathalon.

Are you determined to train for the Ironman Triathlon? Follow this easy Ironman training plan and conquer the race!

Keep It Simple

In spite of what you may think, training for the Ironman is best if kept simple. In the 1980s there was a particular athlete who had a very monotonous Ironman training plan.

He did the same workouts over and over, day after day. He rode the same routes and ran the same trails the entire time he was training. The only variation was that he pushed himself to go a little faster each time.

Many of his fellow athletes thought this approach was too simple. Dave Scott went on to win 6 Hawaii Ironmans with his repetitive training program, becoming one of the most celebrated Ironman athletes.

Benefits of Simplicity

1. First of all, a simple training plan is more manageable. You know what to expect week after week. Many coaches try to put fancy workouts into your Ironman training plan, but the truth is you just don’t need to do anything special. Just stick to the basicS.

2. Second, training for an Ironman is mentally and physically taxing no matter what plan you choose to follow. Why would you want to add the mental stress of a complex training plan? Stick with workouts that will clear your mind and allow our body to perform effortlessly.

3. The third benefit of keeping it simple is that the results are predictable. We know how your body will adjust to the basic workouts of Ironman training. By following this tried and true method, your body will peak at the right time.

Basics of Ironman Training Plan

There are basically 2 variations that you need to incorporate into your Ironman training plan. It’s really not as complicated as you might think.

The first is the distance or duration must increase as you get farther into your training plan. This is expected as a full Ironman is the ultimate test of endurance. You will now be able to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon by doing short workouts. You must increase your workouts to build your endurance.

Second, there should be some variation in the intensity of the workouts. Some workouts should be moderate-intensity. Moderate workouts are a great time to push yourself in duration. But, you should also have some high-intensity workouts that include sprints and interval training. These high-intensity workouts will push your speed and your overall fitness.

20 Week Program

We recommend following a simple 20-week program. The format is 3 swims, 3 rides, and 3 runs per week. Pick one day to be a rest day, and every 4th week should be a less intense week to give your body a much-needed break.

Here is an overview of a simple 20-week Ironman training plan.

Week One

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 40-minute bike ride with 4×30-second sprints scattered throughout the workout.

Wednesday: Swim 800 yards total and run 4 miles with a few 10-second hill sprints at the end.

Thursday: Bike 40 minutes at a moderate pace.

Friday: Swim 800 yards with 3×100 at race pace and run 4 miles at a moderate pace.

Saturday: Bike 20 miles moderate.

Sunday: Run 6 miles moderate and swim 800 yards.

Having to fit 9 workouts in during a week can be a challenge. There’s no way around it, training for a triathlon is time-consuming. Several days a week you will have to do two different workouts.

Because of the strenuous schedule, do not miss your rest day. Your body needs the time to recover.

Week Two

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Bike 40 minutes at a moderate with 4 x 30-second sprints scattered throughout. You can see we have increased the intervals for this workout.

Wednesday: Swim 850 yards total and run 4 miles moderate with 4 hill sprints at the end. We have upped the distance for the swim, and the intervals for the run.

Thursday: Bike 45 minutes, with the last 5 pushing yourself at a moderately hard pace. We have upped the distance and added a push at the end.

Friday: Swim 850 yards total, doing 4 X100 yards at race pace. Then run 4 miles. We have made the swim longer and added another sprint on the end.

Saturday: Bike 25 miles moderate. We added a few miles to this ride.

Sunday: Run 7 miles and swim 1,000 yards both at a moderate pace. Sundays will be your long endurance day. Plan on longer runs and swims on this day.

As you can see, the second week has the same format as the first week, you are just adding on distance, and increasing the intervals.

Week Three

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Bike 40 minutes with 8 x 30-second sprints scattered.

Wednesday: Swim 900 yards and Run 4 miles with 6 hill sprints at the end.

Thursday: Bike 48 minutes moderate with the last 8 minutes being moderately hard.

Friday: Swim 900 yards total with 3 x 200 yards at race pace.

Saturday: Bike 30 miles moderate.

Sunday: Run 8 miles moderate and swim 1,200 yards moderate.

Week 3 followed the same format as week two by increasing the distance and intervals throughout the week.

Your fourth week is considered a “rest” week. Therefore, you will do week 1 again. It should seem easier for you this time around.

Your 5th week would start with upping both the distance and the intervals from week 3.

Follow this same pattern for 20 weeks.

Check Ironman Off Your Bucketlist

By following this simple Ironman triathlon plan, you will be able to check this off your bucket-list. All it takes is some dedication and the willingness to put in the work.

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