Ironman Triathlon Training
A training program has to be developed to meet the individual needs of the athlete and take into consideration many factors: gender, age, strengths, weaknesses, objectives, training facilities etc. As all athletes have different needs, a single program suitable for all athletes is not possible. The program supplied here is just an example and will require updates to meet your specific aims and objectives.
Any application of this training program is at the athlete's own discretion and risk.
Before You Start
Prior to starting any training, it is recommended you have a medical examination to ensure it is safe for you to do so.
Ironman - facts and figures
The Ironman comprises of a 3.8 kilometre swim, a 180 kilometre cycle ride and finally a 42 kilometre run. The event can take an athlete anywhere between 8 and 17 hours to complete.
During the race, an athlete can expect to expend 8,500 to 11,500 kilocalories and lose up to 2 litres of fluid per hour.
Dehydration is the most likely reason why an Ironman athlete will require medical attention during a race. Loss of fluid and electrolyte result in elevated core temperatures and reduced performance. The loss of fluid also upsets the electrolyte balance and in particular, a lower sodium level (hyponatraemia) which is characterised by muscular weakness, dizziness, headache, fall in blood pressure, rapid heart beat and shock. Severe sodium loss can result in mental confusion, stupor and coma. Fluid and sodium consumption during a race are therefore very important.
Another factor to consider is that choline levels drop dramatically when you exercise continuously for approximately two hours or more. if your choline levels fall too far, acetylcholine production can come to a relative standstill, and your nerve cells will simply refuse to stimulate your muscles
Overview of the Training program
The seasons training plan is based on six phases where each phase comprises of a repeated four week program. The workload in the first three weeks of the four week program increase each week (easy, medium, hard) and the fourth week comprises of active recovery and tests to monitor training progress. The aim of the four week cycles is to:
Remember a training program is athlete specific and the results of the tests in the fourth week can be used to adjust the training in the next four week cycle to address any limitations.
The content and quantity of training in each week and phase will depend on many factors. The Planning page provides an insight into the process of data gathering and preparing training programs
Example Training Plan & programs
The objective of each phase, with links to examples of a season's training plan and four week training programs for phases 1, 2 and 3, are as follows:
The content of the four week programs in phases four and five depends very much on the athletes progress and competition races. Your aim in these phases is to address any limitations the athlete may have in order to bring him/her to a peak of performance for the major competition in phase five.
The following are links to the appropriate page for the activities identified on the training programs.
The intensity for each session is given in terms of a percentage of the event distance target time. e.g. run for 40 minutes at race pace +15%. If the athlete's target time for the 10 km is 36 minutes then at race pace + 15% their time for 10k would be 41 minutes 24 seconds (36×1.15). This equates to running at 4 minutes 8 seconds pace per kilometre and in 40 minutes, you would cover approx 9.7 kilometres.
The reference for this page is:
The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: