Half Ironman training and how to have fun with it

The Half Ironman race — a.k.a the Ironman 70.3 or Half-distance triathlon — consists of a 1.2 mi / 1.9 km swim, a 56 mi / 90 km bike, and a 13.1 mi / 21.1 km run segment. More often than not, triathletes who mostly compete in full-distance races opt for a half-distance triathlon as preparation for more demanding Ironman events. However, there are triathletes who place the Half Ironman event as their A priority race, fully committing themselves to a Half Ironman training, to achieve great performance.

How long should a Half Ironman training last?

The duration of your Half Ironman training depends on your fitness level, your training history, your athletic goal, etc. Nonetheless, as a rule of thumb — for a complete Half Ironman training — approximately 18-24 weeks will suffice. All things considered, the Half Ironman preparation consists of the following phases:

  1. Preparation
  2. Base
  3. Build 
  4. Peak
  5. Taper

Pro tip: A key to enhance your overall performance is to extend the base period for as long as you can (seek advice from a professional coach).

A typical Half Ironman training week

Above all, Half Ironman training requires consistency. Consistency is far more important than equipment, training method, periodization, etc. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that the aforementioned aspects aren’t important; but even the best training plan in the world won’t work if you don’t follow it with consistency. 

So, to get back to the typical Half Ironman training week, generally speaking, programs contain 3 sessions per sport, per week. Yet, for best results — regarding the effectiveness of your training program — we highly recommend hiring a certified coach. Such a coach can design a personalized training pattern for you; that is to say, exactly on your strengths and weaknesses.

How much should you train weekly in each discipline?

Would we bore you if we said that it depends 😬? Cause, it does 🤷‍♂️! To clarify, let’s use the example of a (former) swimmer, who decides to jump into triathlon races. Chances are that they’ll minimize the swimming time in their training, and focus on cycling and running. Or a cyclist who is not that strong in the running discipline, naturally, will try to train more in it. 

Be that as it may, if we were to provide you with percentages per discipline — again, as a rule of thumb —  these would be:

  • Swim: 20-25% 
  • Bike: 40-45%
  • Run: 25-35% 
  • Strength: 5-10%

Note:  These percentages are calculated based on the total training weekly load.

Some tips to make your Half Ironman preparation fun

Find a training buddy

A training buddy, yes — a Half Ironman training buddy, even better! As a matter of fact, this may prove to be a game-changing parameter in your preparation for the Half Ironman race. To begin with, a training buddy can make the whole training experience seem a lot easier, and more fun. 

For instance, in the long workouts, you’ll always have company; and, in the high-intensity workouts, one can push the other’s limits, and make things a bit more competitive. Just don’t push each other too hard, OK? Furthermore, a training buddy can motivate you on days that you’ll just want to stay on the sofa, eating ice cream all day. 

But, most importantly, it has to do with safety reasons! We wouldn’t recommend swimming, cycling, or running alone. 

Try out indoor training and software

Your daily schedule is probably a very busy one, often impeding you from executing your training routine, during the day. Add the time you’re going to need to move to a stadium, and you’ve already lost valuable time; soon, you’ll find yourself off your training schedule. 

To that end, a smart solution, adopted by many triathletes — from professionals to newbies — is the purchase of equipment that allows you to train at home,  just as efficiently; at least, most of the time.

Without a doubt, an indoor bike trainer and a treadmill can save you a lot of time. Most importantly, they’ll enable you to train at any time of the day; regardless of the weather, or other arising difficulties that could potentially prevent you from training outdoors. And, if you connect them with indoor training software, you can have a wholesome experience, every time you jump on your bike trainer, or treadmill.

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Train with a triathlon coach, or with your local TriClub

In our humble opinion, this is indeed an all-in-one solution! On one hand, a coach can offer you a well-structured training plan, as well as advice on race strategies, techniques, nutrition, etc. On the other hand, if you join your local TriClub too, you’ll have more than just one training buddy. Generally speaking, both are great choices for enjoying your training. 
But, we’re not done yet. We have another tip up our sleeve to offer you; and, that could be none other than to make the most of our online training platform, Endogusto. So give Endogusto a try with your coach, today; and watch your performance go through the roof, at every Half Ironman training session!

Half Ironman training and how to have fun with it was last modified: August 1st, 2022 by Aris Myrkos