Ironman After 10 Years

by Laurent
(Cannes, France)


My last Ironman Triathlon was in 2003 (6 times IM, 3 times under 10 hours and the last 9:09).

I plan to do France (Nice) Ironman in June 2013, (one year away). My IM training plan will start in January 2013.

During ten years I did only other sports (wakeboarding once a week during winter and every day from April to October) and running once or twice a week (no more than 6km).

I would like to know what should I do from now to January (the best for IM training). I plan to train without pressure and to improve all my technical abilities in the 3 sports.

But, in your (intelligent) opinion, should I do some competition (half IM? Marathon in November, multi-activities competitions, other?) before my training plan starts???

Thank you

Intelligent Triathlon training replies:

That's a long pre-season phase! Swimming and running stand out as being the most important to begin early on. You haven't been loading your joints and bones through much of your activities over the last 10 years, so you will need be wary of this and build up running volume slowly. Consistency and regularity of training will help the most, rather than cramming and then getting injured. You have plenty of time so you should be fine!

Run drills and some basic strength and conditioning will help to re-programme your motor skills and specific strength. See our running drills page and strength training pages for ideas. This will help you to hold form longer and reduce the risk of overload injuries. Other than that gradually increase the volume you run.

Swimming efficiency is key, so practicing your stroke is vital, as is increasing your range of motion in your shoulders. There are some strength exercises you can do to help this along with some flexibility and control exercises (see our shoulder exercise page).

In swims keep the distances down in reps and concentrate on trying to reduce your stroke count per length. Something like main sets of 20-50 reps of either 25 or 50 m depending how fast you are (no more than 45s). Use as much rest as you need to keep the stroke count down. When it starts to rise, then take longer rest and mix your strokes, this allows a little more recovery of the front crawl muscles.

Gradually increase the distance, and speed, so you are doing 20x100 then building to 15x200 etc.

You can use some short sprints over 10-20m where you are trying to hold good technique, but apply a lot of force, so keep the stroke long. A bit of one on one coaching would probably be a good idea if you have struggled in this area, or visit Swim Smooth.

In cycling I suspect you will pick this up quickly - you must have been a fairly strong rider to go 9:09. Just getting out and riding for fun will help, but as you get closer to your proper training, start to think about position more. A lot has happened in the world of cycling aerodynamics in the last 10 years. You can make or break a ride in an Ironman with too extreme or too conservative a set up.

With regards competing, we wouldn’t recommend long events like a marathon or half-marathon before you start training properly. You need to focus on building up distances in training, not racing over those distances. A sportive on the bike wouldn't be too bad as a training ride, and then maybe a half-marathon in March/April when you are more ready to do it properly.

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