The Ironman Triathlon is a grueling three-part long distance race that includes a 2.4 mile swim, over 100-mile bike ride and a full 26.2 marathon run. Without a single break.
It takes serious dedication, and some tough gear, to handle a race like this. We’ve paired up with Ironman to offer the kind of bags that can handle any terrain, so you can be prepared when your training starts.
But are you the kind of person that can handle the Ironman Triathlon?
The training is tough, and it takes more than time and self-discipline to get prepped for such a hard-core sport. Most trainers recommend you start out at a certain level before training even begins. Ask yourself a few questions to determine what kind of shape you’re in prior to starting.
- How long can you swim before tiring? The race requires over an hour.
- Can you bike for an hour and a half and still remain comfortable?
- Have you previously completed a marathon?
- Do you have at least 13 hours per week to train?
- Do you have easy access to a pool that will allow you to train?
While the above questions tell them whether or not you can complete the Ironman in 12-14 hours, remember, you only have 17 hours until you disqualify. Part of the training will be ensuring you can complete all of these stages within that time frame, but you still need to be at a certain physical standpoint prior to beginning.
Once you’ve figured out if your body can handle the hits, it’s time to look at different training options that can fit within your time frame, and how long you’ll need to train in order to get in prime condition. We’ve outlined some options below, based on the opinions and training plans of long-time coaches.
12-Month Training Plan
12-month training plans typically include not only a dedicated workout regimen for your body, but a complete nutritional overhaul that will ensure your body doesn’t flake out in the throes of the race. It includes getting involved in other marathons, century rides and swim meets. It may include first doing the half-Ironman to give you a taste of the expectations. John Becker, who completed his first Ironman back in 1997, has an in-depth blog article detailing how he trained all the way up to the final week. This plan is good for those that may not already be in peak physical condition, and need extra time to get to a better place.
6-Month Training Plan
Ironmen themselves have come up with an effective training plan that starts 6 months from race date. While they’ve given you the tools you need to get started, they — and we — stress how important a good coach will be to your experience. The training guide includes specific workouts that increase in duration over time, with a 16-week crash schedule that gives you one day off each week.
13-Week Training Plan
This training plan claims that it will help you finish the race without injury and without disqualifying. It requires being in good to great physical shape prior to starting. The plan requires less time during the week, and much more time on the weekends. It focuses on gradually building your workout time in the first four weeks, one rest week, and higher increases in weeks 4-8.
While there are some plans that claim they can get you Ironman-ready in just a few weeks or days, unless you are an elite athlete (and sometimes even then), it’s just not true. You may be able to get through the race, but spending almost an entire day being miserable, in pain and risking injury isn’t the way you want to remember your first race. When you’re ready to commit, though, anyone can do it – even if it takes years to prep. OGIO will be right beside you every step of the way, providing you the gear that can stand up to anything you throw at it. And when you need a reminder of why you’re doing it, just look to the Ironman logo on your gear bag – then get back up and finish it.