How to Train for Your First Half-Ironman 70.3 – A Gateway to the Full Ironman

An Ironman 70.3 or Half Ironman, is a long-distance triathlon race organized by the World Triathlon Corporation. Not as long as an Ironman, but not as short as an Olympic triathlon event, the 70.3 includes a 1.9K swim, 90K bike, and 21.1K run. It certainly requires immense dedication, discipline, and commitment to be half-Ironman ready.


Here is a sneak peek at what is in store for you to help you in your next triathlon event:

Surefire Ways to Transition into a Half Ironman Triathlete

  • Longer practice sessions
  • Re-plan your schedule
  • Keep nutrition in mind
  • Don’t overlook your gear
  • Have your support system ready
  • Enhanced mental approach

Your Dose of Motivation

You might have participated in short distance triathlons and you now wish to transition to a Half Ironman triathlon event, aiming to later master a full Ironman triathlon. But before you begin, you must understand that it is a daunting task and will require more commitment than you thought.


Longer Practice Sessions

In order to endure longer distance triathlon races and manage your energy for five to seven hours, you will have to train more frequently and more intensely.

  • Increase your practice sessions and learn to manage your energy, fatigue, and also your endurance power. This will reflect positively on your race day.

Re-Plan Your Schedule

The one-word formula that will help you achieve your goal is PRACTICE. So, begin with regular training – 2,000 to 3,000 yards of swimming, followed by a 50-mile bike and 1 hour of running. Once you get comfortable with the following, make sure you practice in one of the best triathlon wetsuits to get accustomed to the gear.

  • Swimming – Keep doing 1500-2500m drills per week and once a month go for a 2k time-bound practice session to prepare well for the distance.  Be sure to focus on technique and don’t forget to get in a few open water swims so you can practice sighting and managing your breathing at the same time.
  • Biking – In a Half Ironman, you will have to cover 65-90 min on the bike, so most bikers prefer to spend 2.5-3 hours in the saddle to prepare their body to stay in the aero position for at least 3 hours. The short bike sessions during the week should be clubbed with a longer weekend ride to handle the extra time in the saddle.
  • Running – Focus on building strength rather than speed as you will always run on your tired legs post-biking session. So, you need to build up endurance with a number of brick sessions, which means you have to practice running on your tired legs off the bike. Make sure you run at least 25k on fresh legs to build up your capacity and then practice running for 21.1k off the bike. Apart from this you also need to learn to eat while running.

Keep Nutrition in Mind

Your fitness level will determine your performance on the big day.

  • To ensure a healthy body and weight, you must have a well-balanced nutritional diet based on your caloric needs and the sweat rate of your body.
  • You must learn to survive on easily digestible food that you can consume during your race without hindering your performance. In fact, you should practice the racing session on the same diet to get your body accustomed to race day scenario.

Don’t Overlook Your Gear

Your old and worn-out Triathlon wetsuits can cause chafing, burns and blisters and can also hinder your movement.

  • To ensure perfect fit and comfort, we recommend investing in high-quality Triathlon wetsuits and gear.
  • Make sure you own good quality running shoes and have all the necessary triathlon gear required for the race.
  • We highly recommend you keep an extra pair of shoes to avoid any last minute contingency.

Have Your Support System Ready

To accomplish your first half-Ironman, you need to have the support of your family and friends to encourage you and to help you mentally endure intense training sessions.

  • You also need a coach that guides you and trains you carefully on the nuances of the race.
  • Your support system should know about your training schedule and plans to help you plan your other commitments accordingly.

Enhanced Mental Approach

Half Ironman not only tests your physical stamina; it also challenges your mental toughness. You cannot perform any task without the right mental approach. You win or lose the game in your mind before it converts to reality.

  • Make sure you plan your positivity dosage every day.
  • Yoga, meditation, music, and comedy are a few ways to keep you upbeat. Figure out what works for you and practice.

Your Dose of Motivation: Half Ironman Champions

To compete in the Ironman Triathlon 70.3 World Championship, one needs to qualify in one of many events held during the 12-month qualification period. It is interesting to know that some Ironman 70.3 triathlon events act as qualifiers for the full Ironman World Championship.

Here’s a list of inspiring champions who ruled in 2018.

Men’s Championship

Gold – Jan Frodeno – A German national with a world record for the full distance of 7:35:39 hours set in Germany in 2016. He has a meritorious career with a gold medal in men’s triathlon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, winner of the Ironman World Championship in 2015 and 2016 and has won the World Championship in 2015 and 2018.

Silver – Alistair Brownlee – A British triathlete who is regarded as the only athlete to hold two Olympic titles in the triathlon event. He has won gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and has won the Triathlon World Championship (2009, 2011) twice. He also holds the prestigious title of a two-time World Team Champion (2011, 2014) and has won the European Championships (2010, 2011, 2014) three times along with 2014 Commonwealth Championship.

Women’s Championship

Gold – Daniela Ryf – A Swiss triathlete holds the title for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Ironman World Champion, as well as 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Champion.

Silver – Lucy Charles – An English professional triathlete who debuted in triathlon in 2014 and went on to win the title in 18-24 women’s age category at the 2015 Ironman World Championship. On October 13th, 2018, she won a silver medal in the 2018 Ironman World Championship along with numerous other titles.

These champions started as amateurs and went on to rule the world with their performance in these triathlon events. It didn’t happen in a day, it took months and even years of hard work, dedication, and discipline to be where they are. To finish a Half Ironman challenge, you have to focus on a longer training session, a better schedule, mental and physical wellbeing, attention to your triathlon gear and the backup of your support system. Start today!

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