Move to the middle – Ironman 70.3 training plan
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Move to the middle – Ironman 70.3 training plan

220’s coach of the year Simon Ward is here to help you cover all 113km

In the early days of triathlon there was a generally accepted pathway to long-distance racing. Starting off with a season or two of sprint- or standard-distance events, athletes tended to progress up to a middle-distance (also known as a 70.3 or half-Ironman event).

>>> Free Ironman 70.3 training plans

After including one in their season they then continued with standard-distance events and maybe tried another middle-distance event the following year. 

Only after four to five years would triathletes feel ready to tackle the BIG ONE – Ironman. Today, it’s not unusual to find athletes whose first-ever triathlon is Ironman Lanzarote. But for the sake of this plan, let’s assume that you’ve decided to take the well-trodden path by racing the sprint or standard distance first.

After a couple of seasons you’re now ready to step up to the middle-distance. In case you’re unfamiliar with the distances, you will need to complete a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike and a 21km run – almost 113km (70.3 miles).

Susie Cheetham on the 70.3 bike

If you’ve only ever participated in sprint events the move is going to be much bigger, but it still shouldn’t present too much of an obstacle. With careful planning, a well-conditioned triathlete can conquer the 113km and post a respectable time.

Don’t worry if you’re struggling for training time as it’s possible to finish an event of this distance on six to seven hours of training per week. However, to make a good fist of it I’d recommend that you aim for an average of eight to 10 hours of training per week. 

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Find more triathlon training plans, for every ability and distance, here


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timmy cheng

what's meaning "200's,400's,600's" swim session in Free Ironman 70.3 training plans file?

Jack Sexty

Hi Timmy,

If you refer to the first table, the key swimming session suggests starting with sets of 200 metres per rep (so you would do 6x200 metres) - as you progress through the training plan you do longer reps (4x300 metres, 3x400 metres and so on) until you are doing 2 600 metre reps by week 10.
In summary, where it says '200's', your suggested swim set would be a warm up, 400 metres hard then 6x200 metres at slightly slower than your CSS pace (refer to jargon buster to define this). By week 10 (where it says '600's') you would warm up, do 400 metres hard then 2x600 metres at slightly slower than your CSS.

Thanks for your query, hope this helps!


Declan Kenny

Thanks for the plan. Downloaded, printed and laminated! Just a few things to tease out, as every time I figured I had all the areas sussed out, I'd hit another snag. In fact, I reckoned I must have missed a page! Think I have the main core drills sorted (marked with **), but the second set of exercises in each discipline are not so clear. So, for swimming, what does it mean by 'long pull set', 'drills/technique', 'strength/end', etc. On the bike, what would you suggest for 'cadence drills', and on the run, are there any suggested times or distances for 'hills/technique', 'strides' or 2 x easy runs, for example? Should we be guided by our own fitness levels on this? I suspect quite a few people using this plan will be like me, and attempting their first Half, so sometimes it is nice to have a little more clarity. To that end, I am still teasing out on what days to all the specific training. It is a six-day programme, but technically if you are doing 2 bike sessions, and there is a suggested recovery ride after one of the bikes, then you could easily find you are doing 7 days. Plus some gym work. Provisionally, I am working on: Mon - long bike, Tue - gym/swim, Wed - speed run, Thu - rest, Fri - gym/swim, Sat - speed work bike, Sun - long run.
Looking forward to the big day - this is Day 3 of the plan!

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