Here’s Exactly How To Train For An IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 Weeks

Here's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 WeeksHere's Exactly How to Train For an IRONMAN 70.3 In Just 6 Weeks

Training for an IRONMAN is no easy task. Many athletes train for months and years before attempting such a feat. However, not all of us have the time to spend on training so far in advance. In my case, the IRONMAN company along with the Hawaii Visitors Bureau invited me to compete in the IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii race. Of course, I accepted, even though I had only six weeks to train. Prior to this, I biked, ran, and lifted weights on a weekly basis, so I was already in good athletic shape. Below you can find the exact plan I used to train for this insanely challenging race.

The workout descriptions are pretty self-explanatory, but the intensity and pacing guidelines require some explanation. Here’s a key to understanding them taken from Triathlete’s website:

  • 5K race pace = An effort performed at approximately the fastest pace you could sustain in a 5K running race.
  • 10K race pace = An effort performed at approximately the fastest pace you could sustain in a 10K running race.
  • Comfortably hard = An effort that is right on the threshold of making you really suffer.
  • Easy = A very comfortable effort, deliberately slower than your natural pace in swimming, cycling or running.
  • Hard = An effort that is very challenging but not maximal for the prescribed duration (such that a two-minute hard effort is performed at a slightly faster pace than a three-minute hard effort).
  • Jog = Very slow running.
  • Moderate = An effort that feels comfortable but not dawdling.
  • Race pace = An effort performed at your anticipated half-iron-distance race pace.
  • Sprint = A 100 percent maximal effort.
  • Time trial = A maximal effort relative to the prescribed distance.

6 Week IRONMAN Training Schedule

Week 1

Monday: Bike 55 minutes with 4 x 4-minute hard efforts scattered.

Tuesday: Bike 40 minutes moderate + 20 minutes comfortably hard.

Wednesday: Swim 1,500 yards total (60 Laps). Main set: 10 x 75 sprints, RI = 20 seconds. | Run 1 mile easy, 5 x 1,000m (.6 miles) at 5K race pace with 400m (.25miles) jog recoveries, 1 mile easy.

Thursday: Swim 1,500 yards total (52 laps) . Main set: 3 x 300 yards (12 laps) race pace, RI = 30 seconds. | Run 6 miles moderate + 4 x 10-second hill sprints.

Friday: Bike 60 miles moderate + 10-minute transition run at race pace.

Sat: Run 14 miles moderate. | Swim 2,200 yards (88 laps) moderate.

Week 2

Monday: Bike 45 minutes with 5 x 2-minute hard efforts scattered.

Tuesday: Swim 1,300 yards (52 laps) total. Main set: 6 x 75 (3 lap) sprints, RI = 20 seconds. Run 2 miles easy, 1 mile at 10K race pace, 2 miles easy.

Wednesday: Bike 40 minutes moderate + 10 minutes comfortably hard.

Thursday: Swim 1,300 (52 laps) yards total. Main set: 2 x 300 yards (12 laps) race pace, RI = 30 seconds. | Run 5 miles moderate.

Friday: Bike 45 miles moderate.

Sat: Run 10 miles moderate. | Swim 2,000 yards (80 laps) moderate.

Week 3

Monday: Bike 20 minutes easy, 20 minutes comfortably hard, 20 minutes easy.

Tuesday: Swim 1,600 yards (62 laps) total. Main set: 6 x 100 (4 laps) sprints, RI = 20 seconds. | Run 2 miles easy, 2 miles at 10K race pace, 2 miles easy.

Wednesday: Bike 45 minutes with 5 x 2-minute hard efforts scattered.

Thursday: Swim 1,600 yards (62 laps) total. Main set: 2 x 400 yards (16 laps) race pace, RI = 30 seconds. | Run 6 miles moderate + 4 x 10-second hill sprints.

Friday: Bike 50 miles moderate + 10 miles race pace + 15-minute transition run at race pace.

Sat: Run 10 miles moderate + 2 miles race pace. | Swim 2,200 yards (88 laps) total. Main set: 500 yards (20 laps) race pace.

Week 4

Monday: Bike 20 minutes easy, 25 minutes comfortably hard, 15 minutes easy.

Tuesday: Swim 1,800 yards (72 laps) total. Main set: 8 x 100 ( 4 laps )sprints, RI = 20 seconds. | Run 2 miles easy, 3 miles at 10K race pace, 2 miles easy.

Wednesday: Bike 45 minutes with 4 x 3-minute hard efforts scattered.

Thursday: Swim 1,600 yards total. Main set: 2 x 400 yards race pace, RI = 20 seconds. | Run 6 miles moderate + 4 x 10-second hill sprints.

Friday: Bike 45 miles moderate + 15 miles race pace + 20-minute transition run at race pace.

Sat: Run 12 miles moderate + 2 miles race pace. | Swim 2,400 yards (96 laps) total. Main set: 600 yards race pace.

Week 5

Monday: Bike 15 minutes easy, 30 minutes comfortably hard, 15 minutes easy.

Tuesday: Swim 2,000 yards (80 laps) total. Main set: 10 x 100 (4 laps) sprints, RI = 20 seconds. | Run 2 miles easy, 3 miles at 10K race pace, 2 miles easy.

Wednesday: Bike 45 minutes with 8 x 1-minute hard efforts scattered.

Thursday: Swim 1,600 yards (64 laps) total. Main set: 2 x 400 (16 laps) yards race pace, RI = 30 seconds. | Run 4.5 miles moderate + 4 x 10-second hill sprints.

Friday: Bike 40 miles moderate + 10 miles race pace + 10-minute transition run at race pace.

Sat: Run 12 miles moderate + 2 miles race pace (beat last week’s time). | Swim 2,400 yards (96 laps) total. Main set: 600 (24 laps) yards race pace (beat last week’s time).

Week 6

Monday: Bike 10 minutes easy, 10 minutes comfortably hard, 10 minutes easy.

Tuesday: Swim 1,300 (52 laps) yards total. Main set: 5 x 100 (4 laps) sprints, RI = 20 seconds. | Run 2 miles easy, 1 mile at 10K race pace, 2 miles easy.

Wednesday: Bike 45 minutes with 5 x 30-second sprints scattered.

Thursday: Swim 800 (32 laps) yards total. Main set: 400 (16 laps) yards race pace. | Run 3 miles easy.

Friday: Swim 10 minutes easy with 4 x 30 seconds at race pace. | Bike 10 minutes with 4 x 30 seconds fast. | Run 10 minutes with 4 x 20 seconds at 90 percent effort.

Sat: RACE!

When you’re training, be mindful of your pace. The IRONMAN has cut off times for each category, so you don’t want to risk being disqualified. Also, if your swim is in the ocean, make sure to try to get in a few open water swims so you will be better prepared for the swim come race day. Finally, make sure to invest in good quality training gear. I wore Calia sports bras because they doubled as a swimsuit and as a sports bra so I could go straight from the pool to the treadmill without having to change. I wore Calia clothes for biking and running because they were super comfortable and never caused me to chafe. I also used my BellabeatGarmin watch, and Asic sneakers.

Also, if you read my previous post about me going to Hawaii to compete, I ultimately decided not to go because I would have had to take over a week off of work during the very last week of school. I didn’t realize the travel time was so long! Also, it would have been unpaid time off because I ended up using most of my personal days due to funerals and my husband’s graduation. The Hawaii’s Visitors Bureau is still sending me to Hawaii, but my trip has been postponed until July.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see pictures of my upcoming trip: @courtneylivin

Have you ever trained for a race? What is your preferred training method? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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