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Training for Triathlon With a Heart Rate Monitor

Half Ironman Training: A Strong Base and Beyond

Half Ironman Training: A Strong Base and Beyond


A Half Ironman is a triathlon that is comprised of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike race, and a 13.1 mile run. Half Ironman training should begin in earnest approximately five months out from the race date, and should be focused on building a strong endurance base before any speed training is introduced.


Build your Base

At the beginning of your Half Ironman training, you will start building a strong aerobic base, focusing on completing distances and trainings without expending all of your energy. A good rule of thumb is to gear your Half Ironman training workouts to be performed at 80% of your max heart rate. Once you have a strong endurance base, begin introducing sport-specific training, such as long cycle rides or half-marathon foot races.

After you introduce these specific workouts into your Half Ironman training, you can begin improving upon them by complementing aerobic workouts with anaerobic workouts. However, make sure you are carefully monitoring your body and its current level of endurance. Too many hard workouts can lead to body fatigue or injuries.



Improve through Anaerobic Exercise


There are several ways to incorporate anaerobic workouts into your Half Ironman training. You may choose to do speed intervals while cycling or running, hill repeats on foot, bike, or cycling time trials.

The best training strategy is to mimic the challenges you will face on race day. One way this can be accomplished is by incorporating the entire cycling distance into one session of your Half Ironman training. Bike the full 56 miles at a faster pace then you intend to cycle on race day. Don’t worry about how tired you feel after this – you won’t be facing the 13.1 mile run afterwards that you will be at the race! You should also make brick workouts that stack biking and running together 10:1 the backbone of your Half Ironman training. At some point in your Half Ironman training you should brick the 56 mile bike race distance with a post-bike 5.6 mile run.


ironman training plan


Rehearse before the Race

Approximately 6 weeks before race day, focus your Half Ironman training on race rehearsal. Wear the gear you intend to wear on race day, drink and eat what you plan to consume on race day, and train at the pace you intend to race at. While this is a rehearsal, it shouldn’t be the same distances that you will complete on race day. Rather, focus on completing the full bike leg, followed by a little over half of the running leg (56 mile/7 mile brick) at your race pace. This will allow you to pinpoint problems with gear or weaknesses in your workouts, giving you enough time left in your Half Ironman training to correct them.


The Taper

While you should taper your Half Ironman training by decreasing the length and distance of your workouts, you should not decrease their anaerobic intensity. You have already built a strong base – continue anaerobic exercise to improve your speed and efficiency. The week of the race, rest the first few days then slowly begin building the last few days to tune your body for race day. You should arrive at the start line motivated, rested and ready to compete.