Cyclist to 70.3

So there’s this idea in my head that just won’t go away, why don’t I try and do a 70.3!

For context, I’m a cyclist. I’ve run 5km once, & I’ve done 2 lots of 800mt in the pool, a few weeks apart.

The variety of training really interests me, and the idea of pinning something so ridiculous on the calendar and working towards it is somewhat attractive. I’ve ridden for >10 years at a somewhat competitive level with an ftp at the moment of 305w - 3.6w/kg

So questions -

  1. Do TR Tri plans prescribe swimming and run workouts as well as the bike?
  2. Am I completely mad?

Sounds like a good plan. 70.3 is a lot of fun.
Set yourself a 6 - 9 month plan to get good at swimming and running and then it’ll be doable. The cycling is the easy bit - it’s just riding at a steady tempo for 2.5 hours.

I’d advise going to the pool 2 or 3 times every week and learning to swim properly. Your aim point is when you can enjoy swimming and easily swim a mile or 2 without any problems.
Same with running: run 3 or 4 times a week every week and get so that you can easily run 13 miles while still enjoying it.

A 70.3 is not an Ironman: it’s “only” half of one but it’s still 6 hours of non-stop racing that’ll either be a fun day out or utter hell, all depending on how well you prepare for it so take it seriously and enjoy the journey and have fun.

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TR plans will provide swim, bike, run workouts when you go through the plan builder.

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Spend the winter riding a couple of time/week for maintenance and get in the pool 3 times/week. Try and get some coached swimming or at least someone who knows what they are doing to look at your technique. In addition run 3x week v easy building up to a long run of 90 mins with 2 shorter runs of 45-60mins. If you can’t run for 1.5 hours non stop you will find the back end of a 70.3 race torture. The running will maintain your cycle endurance but a couple of SS sessions/week will help. Then come spring you can ramp up the cycling which you already have the training years in and maintain the running. Bit of maths with your w/kg puts you at 85kg ish…running is tough at that weight (I’m 61-62kg and an ex runner so can running ok on little running). Try and run off road and watch for niggles which are a big issue once you start running for more than an hour. Your pool sessions need to be 2-3k as well as swimming really drains your energy for the bike if you don’t do enough of it! - apart from that piece of cake :laughing:

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Not at all…70.3’s were my favorite distance when I briefly dipped my toe in the Tri waters.

As noted, swimming is the biggest challenge. I would recommend 3 days / week in the pool. Jonathan made HUGE improvements in his swim times this year……knocking off almost 1 min from his 100yd / meter times. Also go see a swim coach so they can help you with your stroke early.

Hot tip - most cyclists get to the bike, say “this is my strength” and rip it on the bike leg. DON’T DO THIS. It will leave you tired for the run. Follow a traditional pacing strategy for the bike (.75-.80 IF). You’ll still have a killer bike split and your legs will be fresher for the run.

As for the run, Google the BarryP Running plan (or a 1/2/3 running plan). Your volume comes from frequency (lots of short runs with one long run / week). Almost all the runs are at an easy pace. Coming from cycling, you’ll have the cardio to run faster, but not the chassis. Many cyclists come into running and run way too fast at first and end up injured because their body can’t handle the stress.

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Of course, that’s what makes it fun!

With that said, a couple of disorganised thoughts:

  • The TR tri plans are a good starting point for a first 70,3, but they do assume a certain level of base fitness for the swim and run, so I wouldn’t start with one right out of the gate if you haven’t been doing both with relative frequency for a couple of months. I’d probably want to build to at least 3-4 per week for each, be able to swim ~1500m comfortably and have a few 60-75min long runs in the bank to make sure you can complete the workouts sustainably (a beginner sprint/oly plan in the interim can give you some guidance here)

  • If possible. plan for a couple of shorter tris before the 70.3- small issues in equipment and pacing can easily derail a long-course race, so the more experience and/or issues you can identify early on the better!

  • Local clubs can be a great resource- mine runs a lot of race simulation type sessions and a yearly beginner program that is really helpful for the ‘other stuff’ like transitions and open water swimming, as well as being great for general advice and picking up used gear on the cheap.

  • Get good running shoes- you don’t need to drop hundreds, but getting something relatively reputable/durable that fits your stride well will save you a lot of issues down the road. Running stores are a good starting point, especially if they let you test out a few pairs to see what feels good.

  • The Short Course Tri and Ironman threads are pretty active and have a ton of good stuff!


I just used TR to successfully complete a 70.3 (raced yesterday). The plans work great, and were easy to follow. Definitely do more swimming unlike me (just survived it and was bottom 8% of swimmers). I did great on the bike and very decent on the run thanks to the plan and work put in. Are you crazy? Aren’t we all? I personally don’t feel the need to do another 70.3 or anything longer. If I do another event like this, it’d only be relay since I just don’t like swimming like that haha. Best of luck!!

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@artyhardwick this was me 2 years ago. Did it and loved the challenge and trying to get to grips with the different disciplines. Be careful though, I’m doing a full distance next year!

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What can you hold for 2 hours or 2.5 hours?
How long can you hold your FTP?

I am sure if you have a reasonable aerobic fitness a 70.3 should be no problem, assuming you how some swim (semi) efficiency.

Reading your post my biggest concern would be the run. Almost anyone can crack out a 5km run, even 10km, but it gets exponentially more difficult especially once you are over 75 - 90 minutes, remember 5km isn’t even a quarter of the run, given you will be slower per 5km on a standalone HM. You can see that doing a 5km is not really an indication of running a HM in a 70.3 or even running a standalone HM.

Having said this running a HM doesn’t take that much effort if you are on the lighter side.

It is a great goal, not a mad one, a full, well yes totally different again IMO.
Re: TR, no idea, but there is some great advice in the other replies.

Go for it… be careful with the running, build some swim strength and technique, take it easy on the bike (maybe 220 - 230w for 2.5 hrs, does that sound achievable.) and enjoy the journey.