Ironman cycling training Sundried

Whether you’re new to the sport of triathlon or you’re looking to take your racing to the next level, this series of articles will help you on your journey to your first Ironman. Covering numerous topics and answering all your questions from fitting the extensive training around work and family life to a complete kit guide, example workouts, and how to choose a race including testimonials from those who have done them. This is your ultimate companion to becoming an Ironman.

Read Chapter 1 Choosing To Be A Triathlete

Read Chapter 2 Making The Leap To Ironman

If you’ve got this far, it means we haven’t scared you off with the costs, commitment, and dedication required to complete an Ironman. Training for an event like this has to blend seamlessly with your everyday life so that it is manageable and enjoyable. Find a training schedule and plan that work for you as an individual and meet the needs of your work and family life. You need to enjoy swimming, cycling, and running for long periods of time and it is worth entering smaller races in the interim to prepare you for the big event.

Example training schedules

Our first example training schedule is based around the fictional John. John works 40 hours a week in an office job 10 miles away from his home and has a goal of completing a half Ironman in 9 months’ time. He works from 9am to 6pm and has a wife and two young children.

Day Of The Week

Activity

Explanation

Monday

Rest

 

John does the heaviest and hardest of his training at the weekend, so Mondays are the perfect day to rest and focus on work and family.

Tuesday

Swim session before work

7am-7.30am

 

 

Cycle to and from work

 

Evening gym session

6pm-7pm

John does a quick 30-minute swim session before work to focus on drills and technique.

 

 

Cycling the 20-mile round trip to and from work means John can fit in extra time in the saddle and enjoys the benefit of blasting past the traffic.

John finishes work at 6pm, so he goes straight to the gym on his way home and then eats dinner with his wife before tucking his children into bed.

Wednesday

Fasted run before work

7am-7.30am

 

Cycle to and from work

 

 

 

Evening swim session

9pm-10pm

John doesn’t start work until 9am and his cycle commute only takes him 40 minutes, so he has plenty of time for a quick 5k run before breakfast without having to get up too early.

 

 

 

He eats a light dinner with his family when he gets home from work and then heads to the pool for a late session when it’s quiet at his local leisure centre.

Thursday

Cycle to and from work

 

Lunchtime run

12pm-12:40pm

On a Thursday, John uses his lunch hour to go for a 40-minute pace run. Knowing that he has a time limit and has to get back to the office means he is extra motivated not to slack on his pace. He then has 20-minutes to freshen up and eats his lunch at his desk.

Friday

Cycle to and from work

 

 

Lunchtime stair climb

12pm-12.45pm

 

 

 

Evening brick session

6pm-7.30pm

John works in a building with 30 floors, so at lunchtime he changes into his training gear and runs to the top of the building and down again. It’s a great way to condition his legs without having to hit the gym.

 

 

 

John finishes work early on Fridays and uses this opportunity to do a bike-run brick session. His legs are already primed from the stair climb so it’s great practice for running on tired legs.

Saturday

Long club ride

8am-10am

John is part of his local cycling club and every Saturday morning does a long ride of 30+ miles with them. Occasionally they do time trials and other team events which helps John to improve his speed on the bike as well as group cycling skills.

Sunday

Long run

8am-11am

Sunday is long, slow run day where John is able to process the stresses of the week and spend some time clearing his head. He runs anywhere from 10 to 20 miles for his long run.

 

running triathlon training Ironman Sundried

Our second example training schedule is for fictional working mum Amy. As a mum, Amy is worried about fitting in training around her busy life, but she enjoys the workouts and still has time to spend with her husband and school-age children. She works full-time as a receptionist at a gym and her hours are 6am to 2pm. She has a background in fitness and has a goal of completing a full Ironman in 12 months’ time.

 

Day Of The Week

Activity

Explanation

Monday

Afternoon gym session

2pm-3pm

 

 

Evening run

8pm-9pm

Amy’s husband does the morning school run while she is at work and her children don’t finish school until 4pm due to extra-curricular clubs, so she has time to enjoy a one-hour gym session as soon as she finishes her shift before picking up the kids.

Once the kids are in bed and after eating a light dinner with her husband, Amy heads out for a 1-hour pace run to keep the legs moving after a tough gym session and to work on her fitness.

Tuesday

Evening brick session

5pm-7pm

As Amy starts work so early in the morning, it’s not realistic for her to train before work. She is able to enjoy the afternoon with her children and then has her mother watch the children in the evening while she does a bike-run brick session. She is finished before her husband gets home from work so they can eat dinner together.

Wednesday

Afternoon 1-2-1 swimming lesson

4pm-5pm

Amy’s children have extra-curricular clubs on a Wednesday so she uses this time to work on her swimming with her dedicated swim coach. She uses the opportunity to get in extra training by cycling the 30-mile round trip to and from the pool.

Thursday

Rest day

After three consecutive days of training, Amy takes a well-deserved complete rest day. Her husband works from home on Thursdays so she is able to make the most of spending all afternoon and evening with her family.

Friday

Afternoon brick session

2pm-4pm

On a Friday, Amy cycles the 15 miles to work so that she can make her afternoon commute contribute to her brick session. As soon as she gets home, she heads out for a one-hour run.

Saturday

Long bike ride

6am-10am

 

 

 

Long run

5pm-8pm

As she is already used to getting up early, Amy has no problem heading out for an early bike ride on a Saturday morning.

 

 

In the evening, she heads out for a long run to get her body used to the endurance needed for a full Ironman. Her children are often at social events or friends’ houses on a Saturday and her husband uses this opportunity to see friends.

Sunday

Swim session

6am-8am

Long brick workout

6pm-9pm

Another early session for Amy, she uses this to work on her swimming endurance.

 

Amy does a late evening brick workout to get used to working out while feeling tired. She has a big lunch in the middle of the day to fuel her without weighing her down.

running training Parkrun triathlon

Tri Camps

For those who are looking for an intensive training block without the distractions of work and home life, a tri camp is the perfect solution. These are now a lucrative business and as such there is lots of choice on offer. Usually set in beautiful, warm locations like Lanzarote and Ibiza, a tri camp is the perfect place to focus on uninterrupted training overseen by an expert coach and surrounded by like-minded athletes.

Countries like Lanzarote and Ibiza provide endless, smooth roads for cycling, large pools for swimming, and plenty of hills for running. Not only this, the altitude and heat means you benefit from extra conditioning that you might not otherwise get at home. If a tri camp is something you’re interested in, we have detailed information about travelling as a triathlete in Chapter 6.