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How much training should I do for first Ironman?

Hi all

I'm doing my first full Ironman distance triathlon next summer (Ironman UK in Bolton). Like most first timers, I imagine, my only goal is to finish within the cut off.

How much training should I do? What level is too much and what is too little? Essentially, I'm asking what can I "get away" with (not) doing between now and next July.

I did my one and only half Ironman in Weymouth in September and finished just 25 minutes inside the cut off.


  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168


    The best way for you to work this one out is to figure out how much time you have to train around your life.  For the race distance you are doing (and you being a beginner) I would suggest devoting around two hours each for swim, bike and run to start with - so from now until end of December (what you do within these sessions is another matter).  Then you'll need to decide what you need to work on the most as you may need to up the training within that particular sport - so if swimming is your weakness then you may want to dedicate more work to that for a month or so.

    The closer you get to the race you will need to up your distances.  So at least a month away from the event you should be up to the distance on the swim (by practicing in open water as well as pool swimming); 100 miles on your bike; and doing at least 3 hour runs.  You will note that to get to this point you will have increased the time you train considerably (at least 6 hours on the bike to start..).

    So, you need to adjust the amount of time you have to train - which means your lifestyle will need to adjust accordingly overt he coming months.

    It isn't a trivial thing that you have undertaken.  You need to train smart.  Us your time wisely and good luck.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    TJ2, really like your approach.

    If you are active, healthy and not carrying too much weight why not consider doing the same training as for your half IM then on race day just pace it. This approach may lead to quite a struggle on the day but your training will be fun. No deep tiredness, low risk of injuries and fresh for every session.

    Consider you have 17 hours. 2 hours for the swim (3:10 per 100m is pretty sedate). If you can't walk/jog a marathon in 5 hours I'd want to see a note from your doctor as to why not. This leaves you with 10 hours for 180km on the bike. Come on, 18kmph, can you actually go that slowly? Really? You will need to master the pacing (no trying to build a time buffer on the day), learn how not to push into the red at any time, have a decent feeding strategy and learn when to drink (none of this drink & drink again nonsense). Have a plan and keep to it.

    Hope this helps
  • TJ2TJ2 Posts: 4

    Hi both - two very different answers there but both welcome. Maybe I'll aim somewhere between the two.

    I think I will need to have at least some time buffer on the day though, even only to keep my morale up.


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Just to clarify. If you build a buffer into your race day pacing plan that is good. If on the day you are feeling good early on trying to build an extra buffer can be disastrous.
  • I would do gym work for strength and lots of cycling. That???s where you will really lose or make up time

    Just my humble opinion

    And pay for a decent bike fitting
  • I also did weymouth 70.3 as first experience before entering Ironman Switz following July. All I did was 4 hours week as a winter pre training start. 6months out I averaged 7hours week for a 20 week training plan.

    Completed first ironman 13:55hrs so plenty of time and I had puncture.

    All I would say is do the full swim in a pool and see how it feels, work upto the full bike during training plan and dont run further than 21km as longest run, the run hammers the body well at least for me it does. Throw in a few shorter local races and another half distance 12 weeks in. these give you small milestones to look forward to and try your shiny new gear. You will smash it!

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