Training for a 1/2 Ironman

Greetings fellow Sufferlandrians! First time posting in here so please be gentle…well as gentle as a fellow Sufferlandrian can be! Anyhow, I have a question for those who have competed in 1/2 or full Ironman races. How far out from your event did you start your “serious” training? I know there is no “off” season, and Sufferfest has totally revamped how I approach indoor riding, but I am curious as to when do you adhere to a more formal training plan in preparation of a race?

Thanks much for the responses and suffer well!


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TBH, the answer is “It Depends”.

Where you are coming from across the 3 disciplines?
What are your goals (complete or compete)?
Do you have any areas that you consider a weakness?

From experience, if you are in the complete goal area, then at 1/2 and full distance all comes down to the bike leg, being strong enough on the bike that you feel as fresh as you can on the run.

For my Ironman I started structured training 9 months out, focusing a lot on my bike to give me the best legs for the run, but like I said, it all depends where you are coming from

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For the most part I agree with Sir Ben. It is very hard to give advice without more information. I tend to do shorter build cycles for my IMs because in my stupidity I do a couple a year - however, 6-9 months sounds about right for a full. For a half, the timeline might be similar or it might be a bit shorter depending on your starting point. One thing I’ll also throw out - if you want to be competitive you need to run. A lot. You can’t win an IM/70.3 on the bike, but you can definitely lose it. The real race starts halfway through the run :wink:

I’d recommend a custom plan from our coaches. They could help you figure out where you are at and get you moving in the correct direction.

More on those here:


For an Ironman (Full Distance Triathlon), we recommend 16weeks in order to be properly prepared. Any extra is a bonus to consolidate your base training.

Coaches @Coach.Spencer.R and @Coach.Simon.B are both highly capable and would be happy to assist if you were to consider a customised plan.

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Thank you all for the information, most helpful. To answer the first set of questions let me give a baseline:
50 year old male, 5’ 10" and 200lbs
I ride either outdoors of Sufferfest videos 3-4 times/week, full-body strength training with weights 3 times a week, yoga (Sufferfest of course) 5-6 time/week
I have completed in a dozen sprint and olympic distance tris in the past, but none in the last 7 years. I have completed several 100 mile rides (Gran Fondos/charity events) and complete them in about 6 hours.

Now to answer the questions:
Where you are coming from across the 3 disciplines? Average to strong swimmer, above average bike, run; I currently average about a 9 min/mile pace
What are your goals (complete or compete)? complete, kind of a mid-life crisis thing as I turned 50 this year and have always wanted to complete a full Ironman and thought this would be a good stepping stone.
Do you have any areas that you consider a weakness? run, never have been super strong as a runner.