The Ironman Training 2020 Thread

I’ve started these threads primarily as therapy/support for anyone subjecting themself to the Full or Half distance training plans!

Please do post anything you want, getting through the plans and to the start line is not easy, and I know I’ll need some group therapy to keep me going and others probably will too :slight_smile:

Ironman or any other brand doesn’t matter.

This will be my seventh season in triathlon and hopefully my most successful - I hope it will be for you too.

At the moment I’ve had a month off structure and now I’m doing Sweet Spot Base I Low Volume, I’ll then move into Full Distance Low Volume Base, with a target of a May Ironman although I haven’t registered yet for one yet.

Last year’s thread for reference, contains lots of good discussion, over 2000 posts, challenges and success stories with a decent medal count at both Full and Half distances:

What’re you up to?


Roll call already!

Full distance

@Yannick IM Switzerland
@Alen IM Canada
@Achin IM Canada
@adriandlh IM South Africa
@Simo429 IM copenhagen
@liberosis IM Lanzarote
@velopiano IM Lake Placid
@PawelKozela IM Nice
@cbraedon23 IM Chattanooga
@pgyates1983 IM Wales


Full part II
@Scheherazade IM Canada
@AustinPT IM Texas

Half distance

@ericallenboyd CDA 70.3
@TG333 70.3 Oman
@ollie252 70.3 Les Sables d’Olonne
@baggiebird Marbs 70.3 and Elsinore 70.3
@jdmccoskey 70.3 Wisconsin
@AJBotha 70.3 South Africa (Buffalo City)


Nice one Joe!
So far I’m signed up to IM Thun and 70.3 Rapperswil-Jona :switzerland:

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Hi gang! Long post warning :warning:

I have just finished my 2019 Ironman season and looking forward to planning 2020 already (assume this is still the right thread as I haven’t seen a 2020 Ironman one).

My main question here is around starting to use and base my training for all three disciplines on the TR long distance plan or finding a hybrid model between TR and a coach… Have many of you found an approach with the plans that really worked well for you? Sorry if this has already been asked!

I am pretty new to the sport starting Triathlon in 2018 by signing up to Ironman Zurich on a bet and getting the bug as many have warned I would! Running is the only one out of the three disciplines I have been exposed to through my sporting background (tennis, football).

2019 January I finally pulled the trigger and signed up to my next tris: 70.3 Lahti and IM Vichy. I also decided to tackle this year with a lot more structure and started training (a bit late) in March with a recommended online coach from a friend and invested in an indoor trainer as cycling is one of my biggest improvement areas. Note my bike: Roadbike Ribble R872 with clip on tri bars.
I used TR for the odd workout here and there but mainly just to visualise the coach’s workouts.
I have become a huge fan of the indoor training for it’s efficiency, increased intensity, measurability and safety (evil cars!). I saw huge improvements and the times showed.

Swim 00:34:30 Bike 02:34:01 Run 01:32:20 Overall 04:50:10

Swim 01:08:03 Bike 05:36:38 Run 03:15:58 Overall 10:11:16

My takeaway is unsurprisingly that swimming and cycling (mainly cycling) are areas I have a lot of room for improvement, learnings and low hanging fruit to help me shave off good chunks of time.

My thoughts:
I’m looking to take September off for just fun rides outside and relaxing. October onwards I have been thinking of joining a swim course to just work on technique while I follow the sweet spot I and II from TR (for the first time) indoors as the weather gets terrible. This would give me a much better fitness base to start 2020.
Now I am unsure about continuing with my online coach as I still question the personalisation of the workouts I’m getting and feel the TR workouts are backed by more science if that makes sense… So I’m currently torn between looking at dedicating myself to the TR long distance plan to really hone in on improving my bike fitness and experience, or maybe a hybrid of the bike workouts being determined by TR and the run/swim by my coach?
People who have used the tri plan - how do you feel about the balance of the 3 disciplines? Have you easily been able to adjust it if you felt it was too much/ too little? Gone through all three phases of it? And obviously if you have noticed a difference of that plan compared to what you may have followed before?

Super excited by my results this year to take it more seriously in 2020! And thanks in advance for any replies :raised_hands:

Also if anyone is interested I’m happy to go into more detail on my races/experience this year to share findings that could help someone that might be looking at doing those races or in general.


Sweet - I loved it at Zurich I’m sure the Swiss will set up Thun just as good :+1:

IM Canada, Penticton should be interesting! Will be 3rd full distance race and 1st time at some where other than Tremblant.
IM70.3 Steelhead as a tune up. Done this race a few times, I think I’m getting better at it.

Looking to add 1 more 1/2 distance before Canada. Or, might do Louisville. Depends on which other races other members of my club decide to do. :smiley: Main problem area is always the run. If I can stick to the plan then maybe I can add some short easy runs during the week to bump volume.


Welcome and tell me about it! One day I’ll get a reasonable run result, but it’s mostly about the swim and the bike setting you up.

I like your approach of adding short easy runs for volume :+1:

Hello Gang,

Almost seamless transition for me from the 2019 to the 2020 thread! Still in my “no workout, just beer”-week after my recent event. Going to take another month to do fun stuff, like a road race, maybe a local enduro, some trail riding and trail running before I’ll jump into structured training again in October.

I’ll do some more research and thinking until then, but I have to change things up a bit to achieve my goals. If I want to break into AG top ten and possibly get anywhere near a slot for worlds I have to break through my current plateau. Basically that will mean that I’ll have to race my near best solo efforts in each discipline as part of the triathlon. Looking at last years results I think a 4:39:59 will be my minimum ambition. That’s a good bet for top ten. Broken down to split goals I’d say a 30m swim, 2:20 ride and a 1:40 run leaving the rest for transition and stuff. To get there I will need to be swimming more consistently. My speed is almost there in a non-ws swim, but I need to gain more fitness to take pressure of the later splits. On the bike i basically need to migrate the fitness I’ve built all year for the mountains to my aerobars on my tri bike. And as for the run… well I don’t know really. I’ve got the speed, i could probably run an open HM right now in under 90, but I haven’t yet been able to run below 1:45 in a tri. I’ve got a hunch it will be a lot about volume and less about speed and intervals.

Anyway, looking forward to the next mission and wishing everyone here best of luck on their prep and races. It is great and inspiring to follow all you excellent humans on your quest towards your goals. Sometimes I come here to remind myself that I’m not alone in this idiocy :wink:


@JoeX so far I’ve registered for 70.3 South Africa (Buffalo City) for 2020. As this is my home race, it’s my A+ race for the year. :grin::muscle:t3:


Hi there !
I’m in indeed - registered for 2020 Nice full distance and I’m feeling pumped about it.

I’ve done 2019 Nice which was shortened a bit due to heat wave in Europe and was left satisfied but with a little nasty feeling of unfinished business. So here we go again.

It’s going to be a huge challenge for me, as we’ve just had our 3rd baby (2 others are 3 and 6 years old) and as mom was seeing me training for Ironman last year … she got motivated to train for a triathlon too as part of her comeback to sport after pregnancy. It’s gonna be a crazy year :slight_smile:

I will try to achieve a sub 11h and I feel it’s well within my reach. I even think it’s a bit conservative, but given the newborn, I will upgrade my targets if everything goes well by December.
I’ve done 10h42 this year on the shortened distance (152km bike and 31km run), so that would make it ~12h30 with a full distance. That’s a full 1h30 improvement I’m looking at, but if I take into account the heat (it was really burning) and diminished motivation after the shortened distance announcement (my run was terrible), I know it’s achievable.

I will target those splits:

  • swim: 1h00 (vs 1h08 this year)
  • bike : 5h30 (vs 5h27 this year on 152km vs 172km usually at Nice)
  • run : 4h00 (vs 3h47 this year on ~31km)

I’m using TrainerRoad for bike obviously - with 99% of rides indoor (SSB until December then full tri plan) and I will use SwimSmooth (at least the videos) for swim. Running is pretty much incorporated into my work commute. I will also pay more attention to food - I usually eat pretty well, but with the volume of training I ended up eating too much sugars and actually was almost 3kg heavier than I should have been.

So yeah, good luck everybody and let’s go to work !


That’s some very impressive times for somebody who just started tris ! You were pro in those sports ?

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If those were your first 2 triathlons, don’t change anything and keep doing what you did. You’ll get better. Holy moly that is impressive!

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Count me in for IMC 2020 in Penticton! And @dan123 will be keeping me company in the pain cave over the winter. First full distance for both of us.

Currently in France, about to cycle through the Pyrenees for the next week or so. I’ll ease into structure when I get back but was excited to see that the pool’s winter schedule has provision for lane swimming 7 days a week.


Tentatively signed up for IM Texas next July. Just did a stem cell injection in my knee, so hopefully my meniscus tear will heal. 2 weeks just swimming, then 2 weeks easy spinning, then back to TR and road bike. Try my first run Nov 1


Nono they were my second batch of Triathlons haha
The first set was 2018 70.3 Staffordshire and IM Zurich, 5:35:12 and 11:50:40 respectively. Actually kept a blog about it if anyone is on the fence about doing their first one and wants proof you can from zero background (couldn’t swim a pools length) and minimal equipment (used gym bikes for training, full equipment changes in the transitions).

But back to my point earlier I really saw huge gains when I used an indoor trainer this year so am super pumped to focus on that this year to really build a cycling engine!

Plan for 2020:
Oct-Dec: Sweet Spot 1 and 2, and join a swim club to focus on technique
Nice Christmas break
Jan-July: TR Long distance plan all 3 phases OR continue with my coach still having 90% of rides indoors.

Continue the strong year to see how close I can get to a 70.3 WC and Kona slot :upside_down_face:

Is there actually a strava group? Share the kudos to motivate the team here :muscle:


How many people follow TR plans vs a coach vs doing there own thing? If you do follow the TR plan do you deviate and if so how?

Planning for my first full to be IM Arizona next year. Done multiple olympics, plus first half distance this summer and IM 70.3 Arizona coming in October. Followed TR Low Volume Half base, build, speciality for my first half. In the middle of same build, speciality for 70.3 Arizona prep. Religious about following TR run and swim workouts, and do >95% of bike training indoors.

After October, my current plan is to take my break by do TR Low Volume Sprint base+build, the Olympic base+build, to mix it up. That will drop me from 9 workouts a week to 6, which I hope will be enough of a load reduction to stave off burnout, before I do TR Low Volume Full base+build+speciality in prep for Ironman Arizona. Since IM Arizona is so late in the year, I end up with easy two-week gaps between plans phases, so I hopefully have enough leeway for travel, illness, and other life adjustments.

Races next year will likely be a local Olympic in March, plus a half in mid summer and another in late summer.

Ironman Arizona will be my first full, and my goal is just to finish with a smile on my face. If I end up middle-of-the-pack, I’ll be more than satisfied. I expect it will be my only full for a long time. Half-distance training has felt sustainable without compromising work or family (5&7 year-old boys), but I expect the long rides in the full distance training will require real compromises and sacrifices with my family. My wife doesn’t really understand the triathlon bug, but she’s willing to support me through it once! :smile:


I entirely follow the TR plans, although I do different drills for the swimming. Swimming is definitely my weakest discipline, so I may try SwimSmooth next year for more specificity. I would probably benefit from active swim less/coaching, but it’s a big challenge to find schedule openings.


Been following TR Half Distance Low Volume Base and Build now (and Speciality to come) with about 90% compliance. With the swim workouts I only deviate with the drills. When it comes to running, I try to stick to the workout duration on the plan, but the actual composition isn’t always the same.