This program should be used for an athlete who is coming off a half Ironman race and:
You have a very strong base of 4-6 months of consistent training.
You have a strong swim or run background.
You should be able to swim at least 2,000 yards. You should be able to bike at least 2 hours and be able to run three times per week with at least one of the runs being 60 minutes.
You have trained for at least 10-12 hours per week.
You have done an Ironman before.
Preferably, you should have a 6:30 or faster HIM time.
Difference between the other Ironman plans offered
The difference between this plan and the Beginner Ironman Plan or the Intermediate 20 Week Ironman plan would be that you are adding in longer swim workouts, putting some more time into Zone 3 and 4, learning how to negative split runs, more time spent in upper Zone 2 on the bike etc. Its really the small things that make up the difference and by looking at it, it may look like it's the same level of difficulty, but once you are executing the plan, you'll have a different point of view. Its harder than it looks.
While the Intermediate 20 week IM plan peaks at 15 hours, this 17 week Advanced IM plan consistently gets to 16 and 17.5 hours of weekly volume.
If you are executing your 2nd or 3rd IM, this plan is perfect. The training doesn't change when you get faster - you just go faster in training and hopefully in racing. So, being able to do the same work but faster is what we all want. Executing this plan for 17 weeks would give people with one Ironman under their belts very good preparation for a 2nd and 3rd.
The schedule consists of 3-4 workouts per week in each sport, 1-2 days of strength training and core work too. The maximum volume is around 14-18 hours pretty consistently and some of the easier weeks are around 9 hours.
Minutes vs Distance
This plan also gives distance for workouts. Train by the time given but use distance as a rough guide.
Heart-rate training and testing
This plan uses heart-rate training zones for intensity specific training, see 'Related Links' at bottom for testing protocol and how to determine and setup your heart-rate zones.
There is generally no testing in this program as the athlete is pretty far along in their season and they are pretty aware of what their HR zones are. There are some swim time trials sprinkled in, and for the most part these are long swims that give you an idea of what it’s like to swim a straight swim.
If you are strong or weak in one sport
If you have a swimming background and you want to add distance or repetitions to the workouts, you are more than welcome to do that.
If you have a cycling or running background and feel the need to add volume to the program, you are welcome to do that as well.
On the opposite extreme if you feel as though you need help in one area or the other, you may want to drop a workout that you are strong in, and add an extra where you are weaker. If you feel the need to add a swim lesson in place of a swim workout on the schedule, by all means take the swim lesson and don’t feel the need to make up the missed swim workout.
If time becomes a constraint, it is best to skip weight workouts first, and/or skip those workouts where you are strongest. If you skip a workout, or miss one for any reason, do not try to make it up all in the next session. Be cautious and use common sense. The key to this program is consistency. Adding too much to any workout will increase your chance of injury and increase your recovery time.
Other important items
The unwritten part of this plan is recovery, nutrition and mental status. Each one of these elements is a key to your success. Adequate sleep and proper nutrition will increase your ability to recover on a daily basis. Recovery between tough sessions is critical to making each session count. This will help you stay motivated and mentally focused as the training gets tougher. Having a positive attitude when getting ready for a tough session will increase their productivity.
Weight Training and Core Strength
The program that I am using include some exercises that I think are important. The program should be fairly balanced between core and strength training.