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IRONMAN 140.6 Training Plans

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The Best Way To Train For An IRONMAN 140.6 Triathlon

An IRONMAN 140.6 triathlon involves a 3800-meter swim, a 180-km bike and a 42.2-km run. The event will typically take you between eight and 16 hours to complete.  You’ll be training almost every day, for many months, with longer rides and runs that eat up your spare time at weekends. It’s not always easy fitting that around your job, family and friends. The best way to train is by following an intelligently designed training plan. People who use training plans have been shown to be twice as likely to succeed in reaching their goals.

Another challenging aspect of IRONMAN training is that you can’t realistically cover the race distances in training – especially back to back. For example, running a marathon in training might take you a week or two to recover from – not ideal in the middle of an IRONMAN training block. The result is that no matter how much training you do, you will never feel 100% confident about conquering your IRONMAN 140.6 race. And that is part of the excitement and challenge of it.

Top Training Tips For An IRONMAN 140.6 Triathlon

The good news is that you can build up slowly and gradually.  Over a period of months or years you need to train your body, so that you’re eventually able to swim 3800m, cycle 180km and run 42.2km, back to back. Think of the event as one long race, rather than three separate events.

To improve at all three disciplines simultaneously, you need to train at least twice per week for each one. That’s six workouts per week, plus strength training.

This is most people’s weakest area, and the aspect they are most concerned about. If you’re not a confident swimmer, it’s a good idea to sign up for a series of adult improver swim lessons before you start a triathlon training program. Swimming is the smallest part of an IRONMAN 140.6 triathlon, and you’ll spend far more time running and cycling. But 3.8km (2.4 miles) is still a long way!

The main goal of your IRONMAN swim training is getting fit enough to swim 3.8km in relative comfort. This is done in two ways: 1. Improving your swim fitness and 2. Improving your technique.

You should break up your swim workouts into smaller chunks with regular rest periods. Slowly increase the duration of your workouts each week, so that you’re eventually able to swim a 4 to 5 km session (with frequent short rests). By this stage you could also test yourself with a 3800 non-stop swim. Our IRONMAN 140.6 training plans include varied swim workouts with video swim drills, to help improve different aspects of your stroke.

An IRONMAN triathlon includes an open water swim, so it’s important to practice swimming in that environment too. It doesn’t have to be every swim you do but aim for several open water swims before you race in open water. We include these kinds of workouts in our training plans too, in the lead up to race day.

Aim to cycle a couple of times per week (or more) and build one of your rides up to a point where you can eventually cover 100 miles in training. If you can eventually ride 100 miles without it taking several days to recover, you should be fit enough for IRONMAN race day. Most of your bike training can be done at chatting pace, but it’s also good to include some harder efforts.

The cycle workouts in our training plans can be exported to platforms such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and devices such as Garmin. This means you can follow your workouts on screen in real time. You can ride outdoors, or on an indoor training. Just make sure you do at least some of your training outside on the bike you intend to use during your triathlon. This ensures you’re used to the feel and handling of your race-day bike.

Aim to run two or three times per week, but be sensible about your speed and distances, to avoid injury. One of your weekly runs should be a long one, where you eventually build up to around 2 hours 30 of low intensity running. Don’t be tempted to make these runs too long, otherwise you’ll increase your recovery time, increase injury risk and interrupt your training pattern. You should also include some runs straight after cycling, just to get used to the feeling. Do most of your running at chatting pace, even if it means you must include some walking. It’s also good to include some harder efforts once per week, interspersed with plenty of easy stuff.

We include two 40-minute strength and conditioning sessions per week with our IRONMAN triathlon plans. Not everyone can fit them in around their busy lives, on top of their swimming, cycling and running, but it’s great if you can. These workouts can help improve your strength and flexibility, which leads to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least two swims, two runs and two cycles per week. Rather than instead of them.

Using An IRONMAN 140.6 Triathlon Training Plan

Online training plans are for athletes who don’t feel the need for a personal coach, but who still want the structure and planning of an expertly-written training program. Research has shown that you are twice as likely to reach your goals if you train with a structured plan. 

If you already have some experience of swimming, cycling or running, we recommend you give yourself an absolute minimum of 24 weeks to get fit for an IRONMAN triathlon. Whereas, if you’re starting from scratch, with no experience of swimming, cycling or running, it might take you a year or two of regular training to build up your fitness. Either way, the sooner you start, the more time you have to build up your fitness gradually.

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About Phil Mosley
About Phil Mosley

As an athlete and parent, I know how challenging it can be to train effectively for endurance events. Being a certified coach with over 20 years’ experience, the biggest challenge is balancing my client’s training with their lifestyle...

And that’s why I started MyProCoach - to offer the world’s most comprehensive range of online training plans, all designed to help you enjoy the same success that my athletes and I have, while still making sure you have quality time for your family, friends and career (read 100+ detailed reviews here). You can also hear from me in a series of 6 short explainer videos below:

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MORE THAN JUST A TRAINING PLAN

We use Training Peaks to deliver your plan – the world’s most popular endurance coaching platform. Free to use, Training Peaks is an online calendar that lets you record, track and analyze your training sessions. 

It has a host of great features allowing you to get as in-depth as you like, including the ability to export your workouts to your training devices (Garmin, TrainerRoad etc) and follow them in real time. 

Training Peaks enables us to set you in-depth training plans in a way that other formats cannot. Phil Mosley is a Certified Coach and one of the best-selling coaches on the platform.

We want to provide an affordable and effective training solution, including email coach support for any questions you may have. As you can understand, some limits apply, like personalisation or analysis of your training, but for anything else relevant to your plan, we would love to help. We also give you full access to our online help centre, with videos and articles to help you train effectively.

Certainly! Our training plans allow you to easily swap a few days around each week to suit your availability. We give a few recommendations on how to best do this in our help centre.

Yes! Our training plans guide you up to your target “A” race, but it’s also good to include some “B or C” races along the way. Our help centre goes through the exact steps you should take to enable you to get full benefit, without detracting from your key focus.

Over 40? Compare these with our Masters IRONMAN 140.6 plans ▸

BEGINNER

Perfect in your first season
6-14 hrs per week, across 6-8 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $3.31/week!

INTERMEDIATE

For seasoned triathletes
8-14 hrs per week, across 7-9 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $3.31/week!

ADVANCED

Slash your race-times
8-17 hrs per week, across 9-11 workouts
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  • Help centre & FAQ support
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FEEDBACK FROM MY IRONMAN CLIENTS

My goal was to finish the Norseman and I raced my best full distance triathlon so far! Finishing 80th overall (Black T-Shirt!!) simply proves the plan (including the numerous supporting documents about pacing, strength exercise, swimming drills, … ) can set you up for a great race performance for even extreme triathlon.
Herbert Idink - Aug 2018
IRONMAN 140.6
I would like to thank you for your training program. I have been following your 24 week intermediate program and finished Ironman Vichy in 11:08 beating my PB by 1 hour and 45 minutes, surpassing all my expectations.Joel Davis
Joel Davies
IRONMAN 140.6
In 2011 did an Ironman in 15hr 17mins. I then started with the triathlon coaching in 2012 and in 2014 did an Ironman in 10hr 18mins. The results say it all! ​
Chris Waddell - Sep 2014
Challenge Weymouth

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IRONMAN 140.6 Triathlon - Beginner Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

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IRONMAN 140.6 Triathlon - Intermediate Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

Preview or Buy Now!

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

IRONMAN 140.6 Triathlon - Advanced Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net