Training schedule for a first ironman in 9 months?

Hi all, just looking at doing my training schedule for the ironman UK Bolton.  Any guidance in how many  times per week you need to train each event, Im doing  the London Marathon so will be running 3 times a week. So was planning on doing 2 cycles and maybe 1 swim, then 3  weights sessions.

Any advice greatly appreciated.



  • 3, 3 and 3 would be the optimum I guess

    Check out the training schedules and you should see how they set them out

    If you can fit in weights sessions then I would up the bike and the swim unless you intend on doing weights in transition to pass the time  image

  • Is there a 4th discipline of weight lifting that we are unaware of for next year ?

    You have a history of running - so thats on your side. Racing a marathon probably takes away from your prospects of your best performance in IM though - the training for a marathon would be better spent mixing the hours over Swim Bike Run.

    How is your swimming ? How is your cycling ? If you leave it past April to take the bike seriously - you're going to suffer.

    There are plenty of beginner triathlon plans out there. An excerpt from one :

    "No gym strength sessions are planned. The hours are already quite high for the average working person and most people will benefit with more rest rather than hitting the gym and requiring further recovery. "
  • Search Fink or Friel. Or beginner triathlete.

  • Yeah, if you have time to hit the gym, get out and bike instead ( cheaper as well)
  • If you want to include weights/strength training which can be beneficial (legs when faced with hills on the bike and fatigue during the run and arms for swim technique) into your training then I recommend you buy 'Triathlon Anatomy' by Mark Klion and Troy Jacobson. I found it really helpful for finding what does what in relation to triathlon etc.

    Also to touch on what others have said in this and other posts - do more cycling and swimming. I include strength training but it does not count as a stand alone session as you are suggesting. I do a a strength/weight session 5 days a week so it is incorporated into my training. The sessions should take no longer than 1h30 focussing on the muscles groups ie. day 1 and 4; Legs (I choose to do two due to the planned IM's next year)  2; Back and Biceps, 3; Chest and Triceps 5; Shoulders. (I also do a quick core session everyday). Therefore this gives you PLENTY of time to do other things in the same day as the strength session. If you can't (as you claim) get out on the bike - do a spin class and then a run followed by the weights. I personally do mine on my lunch break.  

    I would definitely swim a lot more, 2-3 times a week. Join a tri club as that way they become more enjoyable sessions as opposed to just swimming up and down alone for hours (which some will argue isn't even beneficial…but I'm not venturing there)

  • IF, as someone with a weight training background your 1 muscle group a week work out is the sort of thing that I would recommend for an intermediate weight lifter. To be honest with you it is having very little affect and if anything slowing you down by prolonging recover time. For  a beginner there is not enough TUT (time under tension) to see any real strength gains in your plan.

     I would  recommend such a  split program for someone who could squat twice there own body weight other wise you would be better doing a full body workout two or three times a week.

    That said could you outline you reps and sets for each group and the progression, also if there is and deload built in to the program?


  • Two ninety minute leg sessions a week? Jesus Christ that is some going. 

  • I do 15 reps and three sets of each - and I'm no weight lifter they are low weight just to gain strength and again probably an hour per session (1h30 with core). 

    This all said I am in base training being winter so although I am doing the cardio it's not as intense as it will be come the New Year. I building strength to then be unleashed again! image

  • IF, hope you mind me asking these question but train should be about doing as much as you need not as much as you can.

    How was the initial weight chosen?

    How often do you increase the weigh and under what criteria?

    How  often to you take a break or reduce the workload ( called deloading)

    How may exercises  do you do for each body part?

    If you could  give me a quick out line of your weight lifting week? 


    You could try this

    Monday,  back and bi's 

    Tuesday, legs and shoulders,

     Wednesday, chest and tri,

    Thursday, back and bi's 

    Friday legs and shoulders ,

    Sat chest and tri's ,

    Sun, rest ............

    For Thursday, Friday and Sat work out use 10% less weight than you did for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

    Three exercises I would definitely include would be 

    Back, barbel bent over row,

    Legs,  squats

    Chest, bench press,

    If you did these  you could drop the core work outs as to do each of these three exercises correctly you will need to engage your core and it will get all the work it needs.

    Choose 1 exercises per body part on top of the ones listed above, do 2 sets of each exercises with no more that 2 minutes rest between each set,

    To choose the weight for each exercises select the one that you can do 15 reps ( no more) while maintaining proper form, sloppy reps don't count and lead to injury.

    week one do 13 reps of each exersize

    week two do 14

    week three do 15

    week four  do 16

    week five do 17  

    if on week five you complete both sets for any exercises increase the weight by 10 percent and benign the next cycle, for a any exercises that you don't complete both sets keep the weight the same for the next cycle.

    A new cycle beginners after 5 weeks and you drop the reps back down to 13




  • Now you are hitting each BP  twice a week you have a built in deload and a planned progression. High reps build stamina as the shorter rests. your core is being worked and you should cut your time in the weight room down.

    Two things I would add, Do after a cardio session and try and have a shed load of carbs between the cardio and the weights  then try to leave at least 12 hours if not 24 before you do any more cardio other wise interns of gains form the weight train you will be just spinning your wheels. As any cardio with bring a halt to the protein synthesis  that weight lifting encourages.

    Some good articles on here

  • Mark as stated above you could benefit from getting hold of Fink and/or Friel's books and see what the recommended ironman training schedules look like.

    Weight training is probably recommended in there but only once the right amount of bike and swim training is in place and time allows.

    If your swim technique is sound that is less of an issue but you may need to over-emphasise bike training sooner rather than later.

  • Mark , sorry I just realised that I have hijacked your thread answering Iron Fanny, I agree with Sweetfeet, in our position you don't need any weight lifting.

    Just concentrate on the three essentials.


  • I've just read Fink book and will be starting my 30 week plan in January ready for Bolton, I also regularly weight train! But I must admit I have started to reduce the weight I lift per exercise! (Still playing rugby! Hence the weight lifting) focusing on high reps with very little rest in between. 

    Based on the fink plan there seems room to include weight training! But I would think that would depend on your ironman goal. 

  • Sorry Duda, not ignoring, been busy...(training)

    How was the initial weight chosen?

    Inital weight chosen was done with my other half who is a personal trainer and a conditioning fanatic and expert

    How often do you increase the weigh and under what criteria?

    Again, I go up if I feel I can - after inclduing weights into my routine a year ago I have a strong understanding of my own ability.

    How  often to you take a break or reduce the workload ( called deloading)

    In all honesty I listen to my body - if I haven't had enough protein for recovery one day and am struggling I'll skip a day. I believe flexibility works when training - I understand a structured a religious programme does for some. I just listen to how my body and I feel.

    How may exercises  do you do for each body part?

    I'll do three per body part (bar legs and shoulders which make their own session)

    If you could  give me a quick out line of your weight lifting week? 

    Days sometimes alternate but - Legs; warmup done quick; 3x10 reps squats, 3x10 walking dumbbell lunge, 3x10 single leg deadlift, 3x10 standing dumbbell calf raise. Main set; 5x8 barbell back squat, 5x8 barbell lunge, 5x8 dead lift, 5x10 single leg calf raise.

    Shoulders; 3x15 Shoulder press, 3x15 dumbbell lateral raise, 3x15 upright row, 3x15 front plate raise.

    Chest & Triceps; 3x15 machine chest flye, 3x15 chest press, 3x15 pushup, 3x15 cable pushdown, 3x15 lying tricep extension, 3x15 chair dip

    Back & Biceps; 3x15 lat pulldown, 3x15 one arm down, 3x15 dead lift, 3x15 bicep curl, 3x15 hammer curl, 3x15 concentration dumbbell

    After every set I have 30secs break before the next.

    It also has to be noted this intense stengthening will not happen all year as at the moment I am in 'base' training ready to be unleashed again in the New Year. To answer TheExile I don't do that leg exercise twice the second leg exercise is less intense so not 90minutes. And the legs are no more than an hour anyway as are all of the sessions.

    This is all advice I have read from IM coaches and has been adapted personally for me by my other half who has a career in conditioning.

  • IF, Great to see that you have a well structured S&C program a lot of people just lift same weights with no real structure or program and imho they would be better just resting. I can see now that is not the case with you.

    keep on keepin' on





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