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A Sample Fulltime Ironman Training Plan

For comparison with the weekend’s Ironman training plan I thought I’d post a sample week from the final portion of my Kona build. This is the template I’m basing the next five weeks around adjusting for work and events. It’s a challenging structure with demands for both volume and intensity throughout the week.

Hopefully you can see aspects from the previous simple plan creeping in. There’s an attempt to have a number of quality sessions in each discipline. The main difference is I have more hard sessions and also a lot of additional workouts. As I described in the previous post they’ll be the ones to go should performance in key sessions suffer.

Until a week ago the plan looked nothing like this it was overly ambitious in volume, unclear in focus and set me up to fail! Considering and analysing past training allowed me to step back and see what was important. This template is the result giving a better balance of training and free time. Key sessions have clear objectives and provide a means to measure performance and development.

Kona Build Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Workout 1 Swim – Strength (1.5 hours) Swim – Open Water (1.5 hours)
3x750m Hard
Run – Easy (1 hour) Swim – Open Water (1.5 hours)
6x375m Hard
Bike – Threshold (2 hours)
2×20 min Efforts
Swim – Open Water (1 hour) Swim – Open Water (1 hour)
Workout 2 Run – Steady + Race Pace (1 hour)
2×10 min Half pace
Run – Endurance (2 hours) Bike – Endurance (6 hours)
IM Pace Work to finish
Run – Easy (30 min) Run – Easy (1 hour) Run – Hill Reps (1 hour)
5×5 min hill reps
Bike – Club Ride/Easy (2.5 hours)
Workout 3 Bike – Endurance (3 hours)
HIM Pace work to finish
  Swim – Masters (1 hour) Run – Steady + Pace Work(1 hour)
5×2 min 5K Pace
Swim – Masters
(1.5 hours)
Bike – Endurance (3 hours) Bike – Threshold (2 hours)
Brick run – race pace (30 min)
2 x 20 min Efforts
Hours 5.5 9 17 20 24.5 29.5 35.5

Aims

Coming from a large run block and recovering from a calf injury the focus is very much biking. There are four main bike sessions a week each including a good dosage of hard work regardless of length. I’m sticking to only one significantly long ride and using hard efforts in the others to work on threshold. My aim is to try to push my threshold a little over the next five weeks and establish clear race pacing.

My run form (when I can run) is in good shape and as I heal I see signs I’ll quickly be back where I was. The presence of an injury forces me to adjust key run sessions along with additional ones the priority is recovery. It’s not ideal, but the process needs to be well managed and I’ll deviate from the plan by utilising frequent, short runs until I am comfortable going longer.

I aim to swim every day chasing that nebulous feel for the water along with developing fitness. I’ve seen benefits from focussed blocks of swim training so five weeks of consistent swimming will see me in good shape for Hawaii. Again I plan to have plenty of hard work in there and particularly to pay more attention to structuring open water sessions.

Challenges

A failing in my self-coaching is routinely committing myself to unrealistic plans. The volume and regularity of hard sessions may lead you to suspect I’ve done it again, but remember it’s a template. Most weeks will have adjustments made to fit around life and recovery so I anticipate losing a few hours. Perfectly fine so long as I hit the key sessions hard.

Some combinations here I suspect will prove more problematic than others. Saturday’s endurance ride definitely falls into this camp and I’ll need to see how the double threshold sessions on Friday and Sunday work out. There’s also the question of how well I can handle the Monday ride with sub-threshold intervals in. After the weekend this may prove more challenging than I imagine.

Whilst Tuesday and Thursday allow me some time off the bike and hopefully a stronger Wednesday ride their run content is tough. I know a long run is rarely compatible with recovery from experience and whether it will leave me too tired to make the most of the long ride is an open question.

On a similar theme planning to go to Masters swimming on days with either a very long ride or a tough threshold bike may be optimistic. At least on Friday I can space them out so I am fresh again by early evening (aided by a nap perhaps!) Whether I’ll drag myself the thirty minute drive to the pool on Wednesdays is another matter.

I chose to remove gym work as I didn’t feel it added quantifiable value and was sure it would impact my interval sessions. A little more free time and opportunity to rest seems more important. I’ll include a core and basic strength routine work in the evening, but no long gym workouts.

I think this provides an interesting comparison of the other extreme to the simple week’s training plan. The proof of this approach will come both in my ability to execute it satisfactorily and the subsequent performance in Kona. My objective is to head to Hawaii with better fitness than last year and subsequently deliver an improved performance.

In this regard time will tell.

Ironman Training Library

From nutrition to pacing - a collection of CoachCox blog posts focused specifically on Ironman training and racing.

Comments

  • Hi Russ,
    Really appreciating your recent posts. On Mondays, you’ve got swimming – strength. Is that two sessions, or a specific swim workout aimed at building strength in the water?

  • Hi Ian,

    That’s a specific swim session – well specific in that I’ll aim to do a block of work with paddles, bands and similar equipment.

    I’ve dropped gym work from the schedule as I don’t feel I can support it with the intensity I want on the bike. That said as my calf is still not 100% I may end up in there on cross trainers in the end! That and doing aqua jogging in the swim lake.

    Glad you’ve liked the posts.

    Russ

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