From couch to Ironman
Training for your first Ironman can be a daunting prospect, but if you are going from the couch to Ironman in less than two years, this could be the article for you. Otherwise, if you are looking for a 12-week Ironman training plan, this may offer some insight to your questions.
If you have ever sat and watched an Ironman event, there are a diverse range of people from different fitness levels and backgrounds. With such a wide variety of Ironman triathletes, it just shows you anything is possible. Completing an Ironman is not as challenging as one thinks.
Maybe you have always wondered about experiencing the Ironman finish and the journey of training for an Ironman. Below we sum up how to prepare for your first Ironman event.
From couch to Ironman
Committing to your first Ironman is a significant step, and if you have passed this hurdle already, Congratulations. Now its time to focus on the time you have ahead and start building your fitness for the event.
Whether you have given yourself six months of Ironman training, or two years to prepare, knowing your current fitness and identify your strength and weaknesses is a start. If your a complete beginner to the sport of triathlon, from the couch to Ironman should potentially take you close to two years.
During your training for an ironman its essential to avoid overtraining and burn out, it is a common sight to see people trying to over-prepare and failing in the buildup. Let your family know of the time and preparation needed during the buildup. Doing so can help ease some added stress during your ironman training.
While it is possible to train yourself, hiring an experienced coach can help you understand your wants and needs. Typically having a coach can speed up the build uptime, and have you on the start line earlier than anticipated.
Before you start training for an Ironman
As you start your Ironman Journey, there is a critical decision of what race to choose. It is an excellent time to think about your upcoming life events, work commitments, vacations and of course, the kids if you have any. The next step is to find a race that fits around your lifestyle.
Working backwards from the race will help you prepare the time needed for training and help you plan ahead of time.
There are some small factors you should check before beginning your Ironman training. Doing so will help speed up the process of learning and preventing injuries later in the year.
1. Check your swimming technique. Any good swim coach will help to evaluate your stroke and help you to become more efficient in the water. Ideally, this is one of the first things you should do before ramping up the mileage in the pool.
2. Get your bike fitted correctly. Many people generally overlook a bikefit, but this will not only make you comfortable but help you produce more power to the pedals. In some cases, it may even help with your aerodynamics.
Starting your couch to Ironman Training plan
Before starting an Ironman training plan, make sure you are capable of swimming three times per week. You then should be able to bike for at least 1 hour and average close to 25km/hr. The running, on the other hand, you should be capable of 1-1.5 hours.
If you are below these fitness levels its an excellent idea to add an extra 3-4 months of preparation time to your buildup. By the time you start training for your first Ironman, you should have a basis of 5-6 hours per week before committing to the event.
Training for your first Ironman requires much preparation. You will need to plan out your weekly schedule and adjust your training around your lifestyle. You need to know how long you will train each day and what workouts to do.
During the early stages of your triathlon training, The goal should be to work on technique while keeping the intensity low. Focus on form rather than speed, and volume over intensity. Doing so will allow your body to adjust to the added training.
Build your fitness up and focus on taking a recovery week every third week. As your training and volume build, the body responds. The result of that means you can extend the recovery week to every fourth week.
The key to training for an ironman is increasing the volume and allowing the body to recover and respond. Rest and recovery during the early stages are vital to the later stages of your training.
Ironman training volume vs intensity
Primarily an aerobic sport, the limiter for most people is either strength or fitness. For athletes that have a minimal endurance background, often or not, the best solution is volume added with strength work. Ironman is such a long event that for most people, endurance and their aerobic capacity is what gets them through, rather than speed and power.
Although this is quite a simple process, not everyone has the patience for it. It requires a lot of time and a lot of hours, while most people want to know the quickest way to do an Ironman, there is no quick answer, unfortunately. It takes time to buildup and takes numerous hours to get the volume behind you.
Patience is the key
Remember to take your time and buildup your training slowly and controlled. Not only will this make the process of couch to Ironman easier but will prevent any fatigue, motivational issues and stress along the way.
Talk to coaches, club mates and family and ask them to help you along the way. Guidance is essential not only to help you finish an Ironman but getting you to the start line as well.
Ironman Training Plan
If you are struggling with the daunting process of completing your first Ironman, SportCoaching can help guide you along the way.
SportCoaching provides daily communication with all our athletes and provides daily analysis of your training, making sure you are doing the right training to get you to the finish line.
Catered around your lifestyle with unlimited support, finishing your first Ironman will be as easy as signing up.