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Beginner Ironman - 20 Weeks - HR Training Plan

Plan description Plan workouts calendar volume graph
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This program should be used for an athlete who:

  1. You have a very strong base of 4-6 months of consistent training.

  2. You have trained for at least 7-10 hours per week.

  3. You have recently done a 1/2 Ironman.

This program is a beginner plan to bridge you from an a Half Ironman to Ironman using a HRM with the confidence that you can complete the race without difficulty. 

Difference between this and the other Ironman plans

  • This plan has more noticeable rest weeks then the Intermediate plan.
  • This plan also starts off at a much lower volume then the other Intermediate and Advanced IM plans.

*Use the plan if you have currently 7 hours of weekly training volume.

**You can use the Intermediate plan for you first IM if you have maintained a higher training volume of 10 hours per week.

This program is a beginner plan to bridge you from an a Half Ironman to Ironman using a HRM with the confidence that you can complete the race without difficulty. 
The schedule consists of 3 workouts per week in each sport, 2 days of strength training and core work too. The maximum volume is around 20 hours and is a linear ramp up from 7 to 20 hours per week. Some the easier weeks are between 9 and 14 hours.


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.

Time constraints
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.