Ironman base training plan

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Published: September 3, 2019

Your decision to participate in the Ironman competition is nothing short of a clear sign of your bravery! And your physical stamina and endurance, of course! Even though you may have spent the last two years in the gym following a strict workout routine that consisted of both weight lifting and cardio, going through the Ironman Triathlon will be a challenge like no other. After all, the triathlon does consist of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a staggering 26.22-mile run! We have no doubt this fact has made it clear that you are going to need a good ironman base training plan if you are to survive what’s to come.

Ironman Triathlon candidates doing the swimming part.
Have you been dreaming about the Ironman Triathlon for quite some time? Then you got some work ahead of you.

But don’t worry, though, we got you. While we can’t say that the preparations will be easy, we can say that finding a good base training plan won’t be difficult – we are about to give you one! Whether you decide to do it by yourself or by being monitored by some of the best personal trainers in Dubai is up to you and your past experience!

What is Ironman base training and when should you start?

At the moment you happen to be reading this text, your Ironman Triathlon could be 6 or more months away. You are probably not too worried as the calendar shows you have so much time ahead of you that you can transform your entire body in the meantime. You’ll just partake in some light cardio exercises for now and start training for the triathlon in a couple of months. And that’s where people make a cardinal mistake, as you need to train to in order to train. Sounds confusing, but let us explain it! The training for any triathlon should consist of four stages:

  • Taperlasts for one week
  • Peaklasts for two weeks
  • Buildlasts for eight weeks
  • Baseideally, lasts for twelve weeks
A woman marking the start of the Ironman base training plan in her agenda.
Make your calendar – your Ironman base training plan begins now!

It’s the base phase that lays the foundation for all the other phases that are to come. Should you mess up the base phase, well, let’s just say it will be almost impossible to succeed in the remaining stages. We won’t go as far as to say that the base phase is the most important one, but it certainly is the longest one and decides with what ease you’ll perform the following stages. So, without further ado, let’s look at the optimal Ironman base training you should follow for a couple of months.

Ironman base training by stages

You have as much as twelve weeks to prepare your body for some grueling exercises. Remember, you are not only training for a marathon – you are training for a triathlon, which is a challenge on so many different levels! To excel in this challenge, you will need to do good work at the base phase, which should be divided into three stages!

Stage 1 – weeks 1-4

This is the beginning of your training, and you should take it slow. There will be a time when you will work on pumping your muscles and stamina, but this isn’t it. Start by doing some easy aerobic workouts that will help you build your aerobic endurance. Walking, jogging, and light water aerobic exercises will be just fine. Then, try to improve your technique by doing swim, bike, and run drills. But remember, you should take it slow and not overexert yourself. In this stage, you should also start building your strength by doing some triathlon-specific strength training.

A woman jogging on the beach.
A brisk morning jog will be a great start of phase 1, stage 1.

Throughout stage 1, be aware of your form in all workouts. It’s very important that you do every exercise safely and avoid common workout injuries that can happen. That will quickly put an end to your training and your participation at Ironman.

Stage 2 – weeks 5 to 8

At the beginning of the second stage, you should continue to focus on your aerobic endurance. However, start increasing the intensity of your workouts, and doing longer intervals of the same exercises. At the beginning and the middle of stage 2, the focus shouldn’t be on building strength. Instead, transfer strength to swim, bike, and run and feel free to take long recoveries. Some great exercises we recommend for this stage are swim springs, run hill sprints, and bike high-gear sprints. At the end of stage 2, you can once again focus on building strength and muscular endurance. Start doing interval workouts that are at almost at the max intensity of your lactate threshold.

Did you do good? If you did, then you are ready to move on to stage 3. And after stage three, begins phase 2 – build phase. And this phase will really come with the most challenging training out of all four stages! Enjoy it while you can!

Stage 3 – weeks 9 to 12

We are nearing the end of your Ironman base training plan. In this stage, you should work on maintaining your aerobic endurance. The focus in this stage is on maintaining your strength and stamina by decreasing specific exercises but still maintaining a high volume of training. The thing you should work harder on, however, is your muscular endurance. Improve the intensity of the interval training and take shorter recovery between the exercises. Whether you train yourself at the gym or at home, find some strength and motivation to continue. Although, we do recommend that you become more frequent at the gym once phase two starts getting closer. You’ll need it!

A gym to perform some of the exercises from the Ironman base training plan.
Working out in the gym certainly has its benefits!

Congratulations – you’ve reached the end of the base phase. If you’ve successfully followed our tips for the Ironman base training plan, then you are completely ready to face phase two of the training routine. The Ironman Triathlon will be a challenge like no other, but just imagine how powerful you’ll feel once you finish it! That will do wonders for your self-esteem!

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