Training for an Iron distance triathlon does require the commitment to a reasonable amount of training hours spread over a number of months. That is – if you want to have a good experience on race day.
How long should you give yourself to train before the event? This will depend on your training background and your skill level in each discipline. For example, if you have been out of training for a while then I would suggest that you spend 3 months gradually getting back into training and gradually building back up to a level where you could comfortably cycle for 2-3 hours, run for 60 mins and swim for 45 mins (in a session – not without stopping!). This will give you a good base to start a structured and highly focussed 6 month program up to your race date. Similarly, if you are weak in a particular discipline then use 3 months to make improvements ie., have some swimming lessons and then start a 6 month plan.
How many hours a week will I need? Having a good experience on race day should be your priority. To just complete an Iron event within the cut off times most athletes would need to train for an average of around 8 hours a week with 6-8 weeks of around 10-14 hours per week. That is just to get round. If you want to be more competitive, then your average will need to be higher maybe 10-12 hours a week with a few big volume weeks of 16-18 hours.
Keep in mind that these are just average figures – you should include rest weeks (and rest days) when your training is much lighter. However much time you have you should train “smart”. This means that each phase has an objective as does each week and each session. In triathlon, coaches like to say “no junk mileage”!
Our Year 3 Iron distance Masters athletes have 2 plans to choose from. For novice athletes, first time Iron distance athletes there is a 6 sessions a week plan that starts at 6.5 hours (see week 1) and builds to just over 14 hours (see 4 weeks from race).
And for more experienced athletes that want to be competitive there is the 9 sessions a week Long Distance PRO plan starting at 9 hours (see week 1) and builds up to around 17 hours (see 4 weeks out from race).
For more information on our Year 3 long distance Masters program please follow this link.