Category Archives for "Ironman Triathlon"


Ironman Training Program: The Minimalist Approach

“Having a good Ironman Training Program will be a big help on race day and considering a minimalist approach might be a big help. Know the reasons below!”

You can prepare for a successful Ironman triathlon with a program that has an average training volume of only 12 hours per week and a briefly-maintained peak training volume of 16 hours. And by “successful” I don’t mean finishing alive. I mean covering the distance as fast as your genetic potential allows. In fact, I believe that many triathletes can race a faster Ironman by following a well-constructed 12-hours-a-week program than they could with a higher-volume approach.

 Ironman Training Program

Find a Ironman Training Program That’s Suited for You

There are specific reasons a minimalist approach to Ironman training can work just as well as, if not better than, a higher-volume approach.

1. Swimming performance is all about technique, not fitness
Very little improvement in swimming performance comes from building swim fitness through hours of training. Almost all swimming improvement comes from technique refinements that often occur instantaneously. You should swim-train for an Ironman in a way that encourages and accelerates technique refinements instead of in a way that concentrates on building fitness. Get one-on-one stroke coaching from a qualified swim coach, study freestyle technique ( is a good source of technique videos), fiddle with your stroke, use swim aids that encourage technique development and perform technique drills for body position, rotation, efficient breathing, a strong pull and efficient kicking. Use intervals and sustained swimming primarily to ingrain technique and secondarily to develop fitness.

2. The swim just isn’t that important
To complete the swim leg of a Hawaii Ironman as fast as your inner talent allows, you would have to train in the pool two hours a day, six days a week, or thereabouts. That’s what it would take to shave off every second possible. But the swim accounts for only about 10 percent of the time it takes to complete an Ironman. And you can get at least 90 percent of the way toward your fastest possible Ironman swim split by swimming just one hour a day, three times per week. So why not do that?

3. Cycling fitness crosses over well to running
When I trained for my first Ironman in 2002, my run training was severely compromised due to injury. My race took place in mid-September. Through July I averaged just 15 miles of running per week. Not until five weeks before the race was I able to do my first “long” run: a 12-miler. I squeezed in a 16-miler and a lone 20-miler before race day.
Despite these limitations, I was able to run a 3:23 marathon at Ironman Wisconsin—not as fast as I could have run with better training, but faster than all but 42 other participants in the race nevertheless. The reason, I realized, was that my excellent cycling fitness carried me through the run.

You can count on the fitness crossover from cycling to running to trim back the amount of run training you do in preparing for an Ironman. One long run, one high-intensity run and a moderate, steady base run (to which more advanced athlete’s can add a threshold progression or a sprinkling of fartlek speed intervals) each week will suffice. You may also do one- or two-mile transition runs after bike workouts to prepare for the specific challenge of running off the bike.

4. High-intensity indoor cycling is time-efficient and effective
Cycling predominantly indoors can be an effective means to develop a higher level of cycling fitness with a substantially lesser time commitment to training than cycling exclusively outside. Riding indoors requires less set-up time and entails fewer stops than outdoor riding. It is also more intense—heart rates are always higher on an indoor trainer because there is no momentum and there are no downhills. Finally, the indoor cycling environment is more controlled and more conducive to high-intensity riding.

There is a small trend of predominantly indoor bike training at the top levels of triathlon these days. Andy Potts, the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Champion, typically rides outdoors only once a week. His five or six other rides are indoor workouts featuring lots of lung-busting interval and threshold efforts and lasting only 45 minutes each, on average. Tyler Stewart, who has the fastest women’s Ironman bike split in history (4:47:59 at Ironman Florida in 2007), gets most of her bike training in the form of 90-minute interval-based indoor workouts that she teaches for other triathletes and cyclists. Like Potts, she rides outdoors just once weekly and she completes only a handful of rides longer than four hours before racing an Ironman.

I’ve recently adopted a similar approach to my Ironman bike training, and with excellent results so far. Each week I perform five rides on a CycleOps 300PT indoor trainer. Each of these rides is 30 to 45 minutes long and two feature very challenging high-intensity work. On Saturdays I hop on my Kestrel Airfoil and ride long. My power numbers are as high as they have ever been, but my time commitment to bike training is much smaller than it has been in the past. Try it and you’ll see.

This article was written by Matt Fitzgerald. More at Minimalist Ironman Training

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Half Triathlon Training

Helpful Half Ironman Training For Your Next Race!

“Half Ironman Training can be quite intense. Below are a few training tips that could help you on your next race. Read on and find out what they are!”

The Half Ironman is a challenging event, comprising a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike, and culminating with a 13.1-mile run. As a beginner, your primary concern will be on finishing the course within the allotted cutoff times, which vary by event. In order to achieve the required endurance, you should plan to train for at least six months. Through consistent training, and proper pacing, any able-bodied individual can have a successful Half Ironman event.

Half Triathlon Training

Useful Half Triathlon Training Tips

Choosing Your Event
Before choosing which Half Ironman event you’ll do, there are a few things you should consider. First, cutoff times vary by event, so look up the cutoff times for each discipline at each of the events you’re considering. Average cutoff time for the 1.2-mile swim is one hour from the start of your wave. You will then typically have 4 to 4.5 hours to complete the 56-mile bike, and up to three hours to complete the 13.1-mile run. Again, these cutoff times will vary, so know what time constraints you’ll be held to prior to registering.

Course profile, typical weather conditions, and altitude should also be considerations in your decision. Whenever possible, choose an event which closely mimics your training conditions. Being prematurely pulled off the course after investing countless hours of training, over many months, is a discouraging outcome. Play it smart by following these training tips, and you’ll be prepared to avoid this heartbreaking scenario.

Swim Training
To complete the swim portion of the Half Ironman, you will be required to swim 1.2 miles in less than an hour. As a beginner, you should plan to swim three days per week, with one of these being a long swim that gradually builds until you can comfortably swim 1.2 miles without stopping. For the first few months, focus on proper form, and building your aerobic base. That means swimming at a pace that is comfortable while employing bilateral breathing; breathing every third stroke.

In the final six to eight weeks leading up to your event, keep your long swim day, but use the other two to focus on swimming shorter distances at a faster pace. For example, you could do a main set of 5 x 200 yards with a 45-second recovery between each 200, or even 7 x 150 yards with a 30-second recovery. Push yourself to go faster, but keep times consistent between efforts. This type of work will increase your ability to perform at a higher level, and recover faster. Practice speed work in the pool, and your long swim speed will increase as well.

One final important factor in the triathlon swim equation is open water swim practice. Swimming open water is a completely different experience from pool swimming, both mentally and physically. If you wait until race day to experience your first open water swim, you’ll compound your anxiety level, and set yourself up for failure. If your race will require wearing a wetsuit, make sure you get in several practice sessions wearing one. The confining feeling of a wetsuit can be quit unsettling, so train like you race, and get those practice sessions in.

Bike Training
Next thing on your Half Ironman Training is bike training. Cycling fitness is the most important factor in triathlon success. Whatever distance of triathlon you’re participating in, the bike is the longest segment, and you will always want to finish the bike feeling as fresh as possible for the run. This requires a lot of saddle time, and in order to build a solid aerobic foundation, you’ll want to keep the intensity level low while gradually increasing duration. As elite triathlon coach Gordo Byrn, author of “Going Long,” recommends, “[…] you’ll want your backside to give out before your legs.” If your legs are feeling tapped out before the overall discomfort of sitting in the saddle has you yearning for the end of the ride, then chances are you’re going out with too much intensity for the early phases of training.

Once you’ve built your long ride up to a comfortable four to five hours, you can start working on more speed, but always reserve one day a week for a long ride. Find your functional threshold effort or heart rate by completing an all-out 30-minute time trial, preferably on a flat to rolling course. Use this value as a training target for sessions geared toward increasing your muscular endurance. Start out by incorporating two to three 10-minute intervals at this intensity level, with a full recovery between efforts. Gradually increase the duration of your intervals to push that functional threshold and increase your sustainable power. While there are many different systems to train, this threshold will be of utmost importance for a successful Half Ironman race.

Run Training
A solid aerobic foundation is most important for run training because more damage is done to the body when running than in either of the other disciplines of triathlon. If you are new to running, pay considerable attention to making small increases in mileage, and do not incorporate speed sessions until you can comfortably run for over an hour without stopping. Pace during these early training sessions should be low enough that you could carry on a conversation. If you don’t have a running buddy to converse with, another trick for checking that your intensity is to practice inhaling for three steps, exhaling for three steps. If you find yourself struggling for air, then you need to slow it down, as the intensity with which you are running is too high and requiring a high oxygen consumption. The only thing to be gained from running too fast, too soon, is injury which will set back your training, and threaten your ability to complete your race.

When you’ve reached your one-hour run benchmark, then it is time to start adding speed work. Run training expert Dr. Jack Daniels, PhD, author of “Daniels’ Running Formula,” recommends two to three quality run sessions per week. Since you will also be swimming and cycling, this may be all the running you are able to fit in. Make sure one of these sessions is focused on maintaining your long run fitness. Your second session could be used for a high-intensity track workout, with the final session directed toward increasing your running functional threshold. To find your threshold running pace, sign up for and complete a 10k race. The average pace or heart rate for this performance can then be used for interval sessions that will increase your muscular endurance, and ability to maintain a powerful run.

Combining Workouts
Once you have a solid foundation in each of the three disciplines of triathlon, it’s time to start putting them together in training. Combining workouts, or doing “bricks,” should be a high priority in the six to eight weeks leading up to your race. The most common brick workout is the bike-to-run. Due to the differences in muscle fiber recruitment and blood flow, when you first run off the bike, your legs will not feel like your own. Rest assured, this feeling will pass in eight to 10 minutes as the muscle confusion passes, and your running legs return. Begin incorporating these bricks with short runs off the bike, 10 to 15 minutes long, but in the month leading up to your event, you’ll want the confidence of having run at least an hour after cycling for up to three hours. Some athletes choose to do more, and may even cover the entire distance of the event before toeing the line on race day, but if you’ve been training consistently as outlined above, this won’t be necessary for a good finish. More at Beginner Training for a Half Ironman

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All You Need to Know About Ironman Triathlon

“Ironman Triathlon: A multisport trial so difficult that anyone who even manages to complete it will be known for the rest of his or her life as an Ironman. Learn more about it below!”

An extreme challenge for the supremely fit, the Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile (3.9-kilometer) swim, a 112-mile (180-kilometer) bike ride and a 26.2-mile (42.1-kilometer) run. It’s been said that just finishing is a victory! The World Triathlon Corporation organizes Ironman Triathlon events held around the world throughout the year.

Ironman Triathlon

Ironman Triathlon: Be a Part of it!

The idea for the Ironman began as a challenge among a group of Navy SEALs who debated which sport was more physically demanding, running or swimming. The first Ironman was born in Hawaii in Feb. 18, 1978, when California triathletes John and Judy Collins organized the first endurance triathlon. The Hawaiian Iron Triathlon was a swim/bike/run event around the island of Oahu. The course revolved around the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, about 112 miles (180 kilometers) of the 115-mile (185-kilometer) Round Oahu Bike Course and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon [source:].

“Whoever finishes first we’ll call the Ironman,” Collins reportedly said, and the Ironman triathlon has been one of the world’s most popular endurance events ever since [source: Ironman Triathlon World Championship]. Not only is the distance grueling, there’s a time limit for each segment. Most Ironman events allow participants 17 hours to complete all three legs of the race. The event begins at 7 a.m. The swim must be complete in 2 hours and 20 minutes; the bike ride must be done by 5:30 p.m.; and the marathon must be finished by midnight.

Athletes looking for a challenge that’s slightly less intense should consider the Ironman 70.3 series. At half the distances of a full Ironman — a 1.2-mile (1.9-kilometer) swim, 56-mile (90-kilometer) bike ride and a 13.1-mile (21-kilometer) run — the Ironman 70.3 series is the fastest growing triathlon series in the world.

While the Hawaii Ironman is considered the granddaddy of them all, the Ironman qualifying series includes 28 events (23 Ironman and five Ironman 70.3 races) events throughout the world. Qualified athletes then compete for the Ford Ironman World Championship, held every October in Kona, Hawaii. Almost 1,800 athletes gather to participate in the world’s most challenging endurance event, where hot temperatures and high winds make the course even more demanding. More at What is an Iron Man Competition?

Feeling strong? Once you’ve mastered the distance of the Ironman, consider a Hyperman triathlon (which is three times the Ironman distance over three days) or a decatriathlon (10 times the Ironman distance to be completed in 18 days or less.)

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