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Training For Half and Full Ironman

by Russell Connally
(Baltimore, MD)

I have laid out my year of triathlon training and realize that I sort of didn't pair my half Ironman and full Ironman very well within the schedules...I am doing a half Iron on June 9th and a full Iron August 25th - thoughts?

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

If you are reasonably well trained I don't think that doing a full Ironman a couple of months after a half-Ironman should be a problem. In fact it could be a great way of preparing. It is probably better that way round than the other! You might need to alter or tailor your training a little differently to allow sufficient recovery.

After the half in early June have a good long period where you allow yourself to recover fully, before beginning to increase your mileage in preparation for the full Ironman. Whilst speed is a relative term for multi-hour endurance events, you can put slightly more emphasis on the slightly faster 1/2 prior to June and then really target the miles in July and early August to get you through the full.

We have found that this approach can work really well, even without the constraint of a race 2.5 months before the main event.

You can also use the 1/2 as a bench mark and learning for the IM, as speeds are not generally much higher (unless you are at the front end of the elite race). It is a great opportunity to fine-tune your nutrition strategy, any tweaks you may make to bike position, pacing on the run etc.

If it goes wrong in the 1/2 then you will learn and know much more about what you need to do in training and racing in the IM.

To really get the most then a de-brief of the 1/2 is really important. Ask yourself some tough questions about your preparation and delivery during the race and answer them honestly. What did you do well, what let you down etc, and use this to get your training for the full Ironman spot on.

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