How To Train Like an Ironman

If you’re anything like me, the thought of running anything longer than a 40-yd dash sounds about as enticing as a root canal.

But, believe it or not, some individuals not only enjoy endurance-type training, they actually thrive on it.

Today, we’ve got a quick-hit guide for your endurance exercise enthusiasts on how to train like an ironman athlete.

Let’s get started.


To train like an Ironman athlete, you’ve gotta know what you’re going up against. In case you weren’t aware, your average run-of-the-mill Ironman race entails the following:

  • 2.4-mile swim
  • 12-mile bicycle ride
  • A marathon run (26.22 miles)

You complete these three events in the order listed above, and is considered by many to be the most difficult race in the world. Yup, even harder than the CrossFugly Games.

Oh, and one other’ve got to complete all of this in less than a single day, usually 16-17 hours depending on the course layout.

As you might expect, training for an Ironman race is no small feat and requires you to devote a considerable amount of time to training your swimming, cycling, and running abilities.

A typical week in the life of an ironman athlete a month or two out from competition could involve:

  • Monday -- OFF
  • Tuesday -- 2 hour bike / 1 hour run
  • Wednesday -- 2 mile swim
  • Thursday -- 1.5 hour bike / 1.5 hour run
  • Friday -- 1 hour swim
  • Saturday -- 5-6 hour bike + 10 min run off the bike
  • Sunday -- 45 min swim / 1 hour bike / 2 hour run

Obviously you’ll get crushed if you try to tackle this training plan right off the bat, especially if you’ve never done endurance-style training before.

But, if you do want to start training like an ironman athlete, you do need to start mixing in all of these modalities into your exercise program.

An “intro” week of training could be something along the lines of:

  • Monday -- OFF
  • Tuesday -- 45-min bike / 30-min run
  • Wednesday -- 1 mile swim (broken up into chunks)
  • Thursday -- 45-min hour bike / 45-min hour run
  • Friday -- 1 hour swim (taking breaks where needed)
  • Saturday -- 2-3 hour bike
  • Sunday -- 20 min swim / 30 min bike / 45 min run