January 15, 2016

Half Ironman 70.3 Training Schedule

Let's talk about a training schedule for your first 70.3, or Half-Iron distance triathlon. I followed a 20-week training plan, which is pretty standard. There are a lot of good, free training plans online, but in my case, they were all either too intermediate, or too beginner. I took this plan and this plan and made my own "Advanced Beginner" 20-week training plan.

I'm going to assume if you're doing this sport, then you're an organized maniac, so treat yo' self:  make a spreadsheet. Label the first column "Week", and each row "1, 2, 3..." until you get to 20. Title the second column "Date", scroll down to Row 20, and type in the date of the Monday before your race. Let's say your race is Sunday, September 25, 2016, then you will type 9/19/16. Keep going backwards until you have all 20 rows filled out.

My 20-week training plan started in May, but I was months into my training by the time 5/12/14 rolled around. Why? Because I had to build a foundation before I started training, a Couch to Half Iron, if you will. I hired a triathlon coach and started working with her in February, 7 months before my race.

The kind of foundation you need to build depends on your level of fitness. When I started, I had completed 4 sprint distance triathlons, 1 Olympic, and 4 half marathons. I weighed 180 lbs. I had already lost 20 lbs, and ultimately lost another 20, but I started training at a weight that I felt was a little too heavy for my build and frame (I'm 5"6').

When I started building my foundation, I was already training for a half marathon, so the running was there, but I needed to add cycling, swimming and strength training. I'd say I was working out about 6-7 hours a week that first month. I was swimming on my own at the Downtown Y, doing a group strength class once or twice a week and not riding my bike. Well, that all changed! 

I'll go into this in my next post - on how many millions of dollars this sport is going to cost you, j/k, j/k. For now I'll leave you with this, in addition to hiring a triathlon coach, I bought a bike trainer, joined NAC Masters, quit the Y and started doing 2 days of strength training in my living room. 

Stay tuned!

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