How much bike training do you need to do for an Ironman?

With 180km of riding to complete in an Ironman race, just how much time on the bike should you be doing in training? Ironman coach Mark Kleanthous has the answers


So you’ve signed up to your first Ironman race – or you’re at least thinking about it – and are now starting to think about training. But with the majority of an iron-distance race taking place on the bike – 180km to be precise – just how much training should you dedicate to the middle discipline? Okay, let’s break it down.


3 essential training rides to complete an Ironman 

Eleven to four weeks to go you must have achieved three of the following rides:

If you train by distance then you need to be able to comfortably complete 85 miles at least three times. Or if you train by time, then do 75% of your expected race time. So for example, if your target is 7:30hrs, then complete at least three rides of 5:40hrs.

Make the bike session specific to your Ironman race

Ironman Wales’s bike course has a total elevation of 2,400m. To replicate this you need to experience 214m of climbing every 10 miles during key bike workouts.

Include time trials in your Ironman bike training 

During the final 14 weeks, complete weekly time trials (TT) starting with 30min efforts above Ironman race-day effort, increasing this to 60mins over the last 12 weeks. During your two-week taper complete one 30min TT and in the final week do a 15min time trial, no later than five days before your Ironman.

If you’re time-poor, complete a weekly time trial and a recovery training technique session once a week, and a long ride once a fortnight replicating the effort and terrain.


A run of 20-30mins after the long ride will highlight how you’re improving on the bike. Once you become fitter and more efficient your runs will feel a lot easier.