Half IM as part of IM training

I have picked up loads of tips on the forum over the past 18-24mo, but never really asked a question... so please be gentle!

Having completed three middle distance events, the alignment of the planets (aka family commitments) looks set to permit the full ironman distance this year. However, it is Forestman that I have plumped for (gulp!) and am looking to fit in a half distance event as part of the training. Fink suggets putting this in around week 22, but I can't find anything around then, prob as water temp going to be 'nippy'.

So what do others think about how close you can get away with doing a half, or is it best to just forget about it and stick to swiming lots, running lots and repeatedly biking stupid distances come rain, hail, wind, sleet and snow?

Any comments greatfully welcomed...


  • I would think that anything beyond 4 weeks would be ok .. under 4 weeks and you are probably going to encroach on taper

    It all depends as well how 'contained' you can be when competing, if you are someone who has to race everything then you need to bring that back to about 6 weeks

    You've done 3 middle distances so you know how your recovery will go but if you have not done IM before then you wont know how training will affect you

    When you say week 22, I am assuming this is week 22 out of 30?

  • Thanks for the reply - yes, I meant week 22 out of 30.

    I must admit that from my own experience I have felt like throwing my bike into the nearest hedge immediately after the HIM's and really not seen how it is possible to continue training in week 23, 24, 25 etc when I have considered this before. I did HIM's with 4 weeks between them last summer, but I did the vast bulk of the training before the first one, and very little between them.

    But you have probably hit the nail on the head as I have definately 'raced' (in the loosest sense of the word) the HIM's and have not been 'contained' but I guess that I might need to change that mindset prior to a full IM.

  • I think if you can .. defer from any enties just yet (obviusly dependant on which ones) and see how your training goes
    If you are in any doubt then I would go for the 22 week one, if its water temp that you are concerned about then I hardly think that it will be tropical at Forestman and given the weather history of this land I wouldnt bank on it  image

  • if you are inclined to ditch your training after doing a half i would give it a miss. doing another half a few weeks after is fine but if you dont keep on with the training and increasing the volume necessary for a full iron you are going to find it harder than it needs to be. 

    but take her advise - Meldy has been doing it a lot longer than me though, a lot longer  ;)

  • I think we are talking the same thing here Donna image

  • plus 20+ weeks into ironman training you will be so much fitter your recovery from a half should be a lot quicker

     if you can't find a race that fits into your plans do your own homemade one I do this when the budget is tight image

  • M...eldy wrote (see)

    I think if you can .. defer from any enties just yet (obviusly dependant on which ones) and see how your training goes
    If you are in any doubt then I would go for the 22 week one, if its water temp that you are concerned about then I hardly think that it will be tropical at Forestman and given the weather history of this land I wouldnt bank on it  image

    I know what you mean!!! But my worry has been that I just can't find a HIM that fits my Fink schedule (ideally would be weekend of 20th/21st or 27th/28th April).

    The closest I could find was Slateman (19th May) which is shorter than HIM but tough - but my procrastination means this is now full.

    Ridgebackmax wrote (see)

     if you can't find a race that fits into your plans do your own homemade one I do this when the budget is tight image

    That sounds a good idea! Top Barn should be open for swimming again by then image

  • based on your timings, your best bet would be Marshman on 5th May at Lydd in Kent - http://www.velocity-events.co.uk/marshman-and-mini-marshman/

    this will be the 5th year of it and is highly rated (I've done it twice) for an early season HIM - this year they have also revived the Mman + (a 3/4 distance race).  it's as flat as any HIM you will find in the UK with only a couple of upflats on the bike.  I hope to do the standard race on the 4th and ref on the 5th.

    the downside could be weather - it's usually windy in the area (there's a big wind farm close by!) and you never know how warm the water or air will be.  last year the water was too cold and it became a duathlon - not many objected as it was also pissing down and 7C!!

    the other alternative maybe this - Chichester Big Weekend on 13th April - http://triitsports.co.uk/event/may-goodwood/.  it's new and isn't a race but has all  disciplines spread over 2 days. distances up to full IM.  pool swim and bike on Sat, run on Sun.

  • Thank you all for your comments - I did notice the Marshman, but read about last year and ideally wanted to get all three disciplines in. It would fit really nicely, so may well just have to brace myself and enter it.

    The Chichester weekend is one I haven't found, so will visit the link and check it out.

    I have been out for walk with kids this morning, and thought about RBM's comments and remebered Lichfield half marathon is 5th May (I've done it before) so I could find a nice 90-100k bike route to around this to get decent bike/run in, with big swim the day before?

    Anyway, thanks again guys - I am glad I posted my first question after all this time.

  • MTH - the weather can always affect tris - and it doesn't seem to matter when.

    the 1st 2 tris I reffed last year (M'man and Rye) had the swims cancelled (too cold and sea too rough); and the 1st one I competed at - Windsor in mid-June - the river was in flood and deemed too dangerous.

    hopefully this year will be a bit kinder!  just enter M'man and see what comes along weatherwise - they've had the swim take place the previous 4 years.

  • Thank you - just what I needed to hear! I'm not particularly faint-hearted, just that full IM is something I have wanted to do for a long time and have learnt through the HIM's that preparation is key to making the most of the event. Making the step up is daunting, but very exciting!

  • We run a DIY half IM which should fit into plans as is on 4th/5th May


    And as its as full on as you want to make it, or just just turn into a training swim/ride/run should fit into what your trying to achieve


  • MTH,   Lot of common sense spoken above particularly the part about being fitter with the training for an IM,   the other thing I'd suggest is to race it at IM pace or slightly quicker rather than HIM pace.   This will allow you both to recover more effectively afterwards to get back into training,   but also and probably more importantly IMO to work on your nutrition and pacing in advance of Forestman.   I'd be aiming to finish your HIM feeling that you've still got the energy and willpower to have gone further. 

  • Thanks Jaffa, that sounds a sensible approach.

    And SA - great link, it sounds a legendary weekend and is at exactly the right time. Will spend some time on google this evening for places to stay and see if can't get this sorted - thanks a lot for the invite!

  • As meldy said above I found a 4 week gap ideal.
    If you are going well, then in the last 10 weeks, you can do a couple of big day training weekends, and a half IM.  Through in a few other century rides and hey presto image

    -8 - Big Day, (pool swim 3-4k,rest, eat, bike 5 hrs, eat, rest, run 1hr
    -6 - Big Day repeat above
    -4 - half IM
    0 race

    However if your main aim in the last 10 weeks is still building base, then just keep building the ride each week to hit that 5-6 hr big ride regularly.

  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    nice one Must TrI Harder, go and watch the footage on YouTube, it'll be a great day out. I've done the Sept 1/2 version a few times, the New Forest is a magic place to race. 

  • OC - thanks for that, those three big sessions sound a good way of filling a few hours on a Sunday! Am just starting week 7 of Fink so well into base training already.

    You have put down pool swim - is there a reason why indoors rather than out? I much prefer open water (does that make me odd?)

  • no - not odd - I also prefer OW to pool. I use the pool out of winter necessity not choice but it's very nice in summer when I can walk 400m to the sea  image

    I guess in OCs case it's pool due to availability and access as he lives in East London

  • SgtLardSgtLard ✭✭✭

    Their is always the Pirate DIY half on the 4th/5th of May ?  However, as I am a)a virgin at ironining b) doing the outlaw half on the 2nd June c) hoping for outlaw full on July 7th ive done the following

    lined up the DIY as a mental test - you know, doing a half to prove I can do a half

    moved my fink around to allow the half race at week 25 and still be ready for the full at 30.  ( basically i moved the wk21 wed - wk23 wed up to wk24 - wk26 and everything else back - so ill be further along to full when i do the half.....

    but its only a plan, and the key is to be able to swim 3.8 in 2hrs, bike 112 in

  • Yup as buddah says.... Pool or open water. your choice but thats in april... And will tjerefore be chilli for some....

    Have a google for big day training. gordo and friel both suggest it with various different combonations

    The idea is this is a close race simulation, with the aim of ensuring you are not going too hard on the bike. if you cant do a 40-60 min run after a bike then you are going too hard on the bike. Bike pacing is key if you are trying to run the marathon. better to find out in training than on race day

    If you have not ridden 5 hrs by that point then a big ride will be a better session.
  • TR - sounds like you have enjoyed the New Forest experience, I've already seen the YouTube footage and that is one of the reasons I chose this one!

    SgtIronLard - I know what you mean about juggling the Fink weeks about, thanks for the tips, sounds like we may meet up at the DIY weekend...

    OC - having followed Fink for the last two years (albeit slightly ammended as I have only been HIM distance) I am definately following it again. Am determined to follow the Intermediate plan, so plenty of 5-5.30hr bike rides should be the order of the day.

    In all think I might try the DIY weekend (which will be at week 23), then try two of FB's 'big days' in the next few weeks prior to taper. Simply can't wait...

  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    MustTriHarder - sounds good then, the Tri Talk folks rave about the Forestman, it just doesnt appeal to the piratey folks. I keep away from Iron distance as I'm not prepared to put the long hours in for 100M+ bikes and big training days,  but I should make an exception some time for the FM.

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