How To Train For A 70.3 Half Ironman
Do not be fooled by half the Ironman distance it is still a long way 70.3 miles to be exact. Even the best Triathlete on an accurate course hardly ever cover the whole distance faster than an average speed of 19 miles per hour. For some it may be the ultimate goal to finish a 70.3 triathlon while for others it is a stepping-stone for Ironman.
The event is long enough so you must put most of your training emphasis on endurance rather than speed. You will need to add a 4-5- hour brick swim/bike/run session building up to 6 hours 8-6 weeks before your 70.3 half distance triathlon.
If you can comfortably cover 60% of the distance in training or slightly longer than Olympic distance you will have the necessary endurance to complete the 70.3 half Ironman. Competing in an Olympic distance then either running within 2 hours another 4-6km or cycling another 20-25km on the same day will build up confidence and endurance and prepare you for your 70.3 half Ironman triathlon.
You need to be able to swim 1,900 metres in open water. This is not the same as swimming in a pool. Many people train in a pool with turns find the non-stop swimming gets very tiring when swimming out doors.
Aim: At least 3 over distance 2.500 non-stop swims in a pool or 2,300 meters in open water.
Swim Pool training: Do sets of 7 x 300m then the following week 5x400m and the following week 4 x 600m. Aim to swim at race pace or faster. Complete a 1500m every two weeks and monitor your time for swim efficiency fatigue signs and general fitness. Practise tread water starts. This could be when short of time after 10 minute warm up. Tread water starts plus hard swimming for 100m if unsure of exact distance count the number of strokes you need to take in a swimming pool. Repeat 3-8 times then warm down.
Never swim alone in open water and always wear a bright cap for safety.Discuss emergency plan before entering water and what signals to use if in trouble.
You will need to do over distance at least three times in your build up covering 65 miles in training non-stop will prepare yourself for the 56 mile bike ride. The reason you do more in training is so you can get off the bike and feel relatively fresh for the 21km run.Aim to train 2-10 beats per minute below your anaerobic threshold (AT) on the bike to stimulate the effort you will work at on race day.
If unsure of you’re AT heart rate this would be the average heart rate you record when completing a 10-15 mile cycle time trail on a flat course without having to stop. When you are rested expect to travel faster for the same heart rate. Make no changes to your bike position in the last 9 weeks before your middle distance 70.3 triathlon.Spend lots of time in the aerodynamic position in your key weekly workouts.
Aim: This is to get use to tight muscles after being in aero position. Run afterwards easy and work on good form noticing how soon you get into your running.
Key sessions should include 15-40 miles at race once a fortnight.Aim to see or notice progression every 2-3 weeks. This could be how you recover afterwards. Your average speed does not drop the longer you ride. Practise race nutrition on every ride especially race pace key workouts.
Last 8 weeks add a 10-15 mile all out effort (make sure you cover 5 mile warm up before this test) on flat terrain to raise a spoke in your fitness levels and allow you to coast at 70.3 half pace on race day.
Bike strength can be improved by seated hill climbs. Aim to do 1-3 of these on every ride. You can still incorporate a few of these towards the end of a long steady ride without changing the benefit of going easy towards the finish by having to work hard to recover.
Get use to cycling with at least two cycle bottles and a heavy bike so it will not be a shock on race day and you feel the bike is slow and unresponsive.
Your longest runs should be up to 15 miles if injury free or slow steady runs taking the time you anticipate to take in the 70.3 plus another 10 ten minutes.Get use to time on your feet.
From Ironmate experience do NOT complete more than 4 runs longer than 60 minutes after the bike in your build up. If you do then expect to risk mental burn out, over training or injury. Learn to improve running economy by running fresh most of the time.Limit two back to back runs a week not more.
Complete a half marathon the day after a 4-hour bike no later than 6 weeks before. Next day fatigue is not the same as running straight after the bike but it gives you a different type of fitness. Aim; Key runs after the bike include splitting the run into 3 parts. So if planning a 30 minute run easy for first 10 minutes then 10 minutes at 70.3 half distance race pace then ease back for final 10 minutes.
Purpose: Race specific without being to debilatating.Key run: Long steady run every two weeks. Hard run at 10km pace alternate weeks in last 10 weeks before 70.3 half ironman. Use trainer running shoes that have good protection rather than racing flats have less.
Shoes that have good protection rather than racing flats for back to back runs and race day. Make sure they are designed to help you run efficiently and help with being supportive.