Setting up an Ironman training timetable – Part III: Find an online training plan

So I need a 20 week Ironman training plan for 18 Oct 2010 to 6 March 2011 (Ironman New Zealand).

First resource is to search the tubes. I found a few free candidates (free is good!):

  • “13 Weeks to a 13-Hour Ironman” from Gale Bernhardt. 1-2 days off a week, 7-9 sessions, and 6-13 hours pw. Each session is described by a duration and an intensity. No session details. Sample:
    Bike 3:30 E3
  • Trifuels 38-week SuperCoach Ironman Workout. Contains 24 weeks of pre-season training and 14 weeks of race training. Really REALLY detailed session information. During the final 14 weeks: 1 day off a week, 11-14 sessions and 12-19 hours pw. Each session is described in meticulous detail: warm-ups, zones, drills, rest intervals, cadence, cooldown etc. (see example below). This is what I imagine a proper coach-provided training plan looks like. At first I thought it was too detailed, but on further reading, it looks promising! (and on even FURTHER reading it looks too technical!!). Sample:
    BIKE 1:40
    10:00 spinning @90-95rpm
    4 x 3:00 Isolated Leg Training w/30 sec recovery after each
    We're putting more emphasis on longer efforts at the higher 
    end aerobic zone to better prepare you for the long bike effort 
    of an Ironman.
    2 x 30:00 @75% w/5:00 easy spinning between repeats- 
    hold 90-95rpm cadence throughout
    Spin easy (small chain ring) @95rpm,
    allowing your HR to return to 50% for the final few minutes.
  • Beginner Triathlete Full Ironman Training Program from Scott Herrick. This is a 20 week plan that is very similar to their Half Ironman plan which I’ve used and loved. 1 day off a week, 9-12 sessions and 8-18 hrs pw. Each session is described in 1-2 short sentences – nice and brief! Each week is a separate PDF which is kind of annoying. Sample:
    B: 90 at RPE 3. Again, practice food and hydration timing 
    that you plan to use during race.
  • 12 week Ironman Training Plans from Hornet Juice. 0-2 days off a week, 14-15 sessions and it’s pretty hard to work out weekly mileage due to the layout, but it looks longer than all the others week 8 is about 22 hours. They do provide details on which sessions to drop for rookies, but it is laid out in 5 different tables so quite confusing. Each session is nicely described with a zone, duration and single line description. Sample:
    Bike Z1-3
    3 hours including long steady climb: 30-45 min

This gives me plenty to start with. I think I’ll be going with either the Beginner Triathlete 20 week plan, or the SuperCoach plan (using the last 6 weeks of pre-season training and then the 14 weeks of race training). More analysis required!

The key things I’ll be looking for:

  1. The volume looks about right (no super-crazy long weeks expected); around 7hrs for a recovery week, building to a maximum of less than 20hrs
  2. I can manipulate it to fit my weekly schedule
  3. Not too much swimming. I’m aqua-intolerant: 2-3 sessions per week is my limit!

To be continued…

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One Response to Setting up an Ironman training timetable – Part III: Find an online training plan

  1. jontsnz says:

    Not quite ironman training plan related, but you can win yourself a cool techy scale that hooks up to the internet if you check out dcrainmakers blog at It’s a pretty cool blog that does super-deep product reviews. In fact, it was this review that inspired me to get my Garmin 310XT.

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