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

Worried about whether you have done enough training on the bike for your upcoming Ironman? Mark Kleanthous explains how to tell if you're ready...


With 11 to four weeks to go you must have achieved three of the following rides that I will describe in more detail.


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. E.g. if your target is 7:30hrs, then complete at least three rides of 5:40hrs.

Make the workout specific to your event. Ironman Wales’ 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.

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.

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