Ironman Lanzarote: Race info, tips and training advice

Lucy Charles-Barclay shares her top course-completing tips for one of the toughest Ironmans on the circuit – Ironman Lanzarote

Credit: Nigel Roddis Getty Images

There’s no doubt about it… Ironman Lanzarote is a popular choice for both age-group and pro triathletes alike, as it has been for many years.


And it’s been a happy hunting ground for many British pros, with the likes of Bella Bayliss, Nikki Bartlett, Lucy Gossage and Rachel Joyce all taking wins here.

Thinking about adding your name to the start list? Whether you’ve already entered or not, here’s Lucy Charles-Barclay, who won in Lanzarote in 2017, with the advice you need to give yourself a decent chance of success…

When is Ironman Lanzarote?

Ironman Lanzarote takes place on 20 May 2023.

Where does the race take place?

This popular full-distance triathlon is based out of Puerto del Carmen, a town on the south coast of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Europe.

How long is Ironman Lanzarote?

The swim is one 3.8km lap in the sea. This is followed by a one-loop 180.2km bike and then a three-lap 42.2km run.

What’s the course like?

The fact that a lot of athletes use Lanzarote as a training ground for the Ironman World Championship course in Kona, Hawaii, should give you a bit of a clue…

Put simply, if you’re competing on this volcanic island you should expect a lot of elevation gain, wind and high temperatures.

The swim starts from Playa Grande in Puerto del Carmen. It begins with a rolling start and embarks on clockwise lap that covers the entire 3.8km.

Once out of T2, you’re then faced with a one-lap bike that first heads down to Playa Blanca before heading back up to Tinguaton, Masdache, Tiguise, Haria and the northern tip of the island.

You then turn back south via the coastal town of Arrieta, Teseguite, Teguise, Masdache and then back into Puerto del Carmen.

The total elevation gain on the bikes is 2,424m, with four significant climbs and several others of note, but at least you’ll have plenty of stunning views and pretty villages to take your mind off the pain.

Along the way, there’ll be five aid stations, one water station and a station where you can collect your personal needs bag.

Come the run, you’ll have three laps to contend with. The first takes you from Puerto del Carmen to Playa Honda and onto Arrecife before you turn around and head back to the start.

From here you’ll complete two additional loops, though the turnaround point is not as far along the coast for these.

Over the course of the 42.2km you’ll have 228m of elevation gain to content with, though there will be aid stations roughly every two or three kilometres and crowds lining this beautiful coastal route.

Lucy Charles-Barclay’s top tips for racing Ironman Lanzarote

Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Ironman

Here’s four-time Ironman Worlds runner up and former Ironman 70.3 World Champion Lucy Charles-Barclay with her top tips for race day…

Ironman Lanzarote has a rolling beach start. In order for this to go as smoothly as possible, practise running into the sea with some friends or teammates.

Running in shallow water and sand can be difficult, but you don’t want to dive too early into shallow water especially with other athletes around you. See sessions 1 and 2.

The bike is notoriously tough and hilly with roughly 8,000ft of climbing. The good news is that most of its climbs are gradual, with a couple of exceptions. Experiment with climbing in the aero position – the Timanfaya climb is a good example of when this will pay off as you climb into a headwind.

If you end up with a tailwind on any of the climbs sit upright, as it’s much more efficient. See session 3.

Lanzarote is windy. There are some key points on the course to look out for, especially when changing direction from a tailwind to a crosswind. If you know the crosswind is coming you can handle your bike much better.

It’s likely to be a warm day especially during the latter part of the bike and run. An effective way to heat adapt is to turbo or treadmill run in the heat at home (see session 4).

Thankfully Lanzarote is a dry heat so there’s no need to bike in your steamy bathroom. Just crank up the heating and get sweating. Don’t forget to keep hydrated.

The marathon is likely to be warm, so you must prepare your body before the race start. From the moment your alarm goes off, start drinking but make sure it’s not just water, get those electrolytes on board. Don’t start the run dehydrated! See session 5.

Ironman Lanzarote training sessions

Credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Lucy Charles-Barclay shares the sessions she thinks will help you conquer Ironman Lanzarote…

Session one

1hr sea swim. Get a group together and practise swimming with others around you. Focus on sighting, breathing, stroke rate and drafting. Use a wetsuit to allow your shoulders to adapt to the added resistance.

Session two

Swim 3.8km. Include 8 x 50m randomly placed with a fast-high stroke rate. This simulates a break away or speed surge. Let the heart rate rise and then settle back into Ironman effort.

Session three

Bike hill reps. 2 x [6 x 2mins climbing/1min recovery, descending as 2 in aero position, 2 seated, 2 out of the saddle]. 2mins rest between sets.

Session four

Treadmill run. 60-90mins @ faster than Ironman pace on a 2-3% gradient. Work on increasing foot cadence to help maintain pace and rhythm at this late stage in the race.

Session five

The Big Hot Brick. Bike 4hrs @ Ironman effort with 4 x [15mins above Ironman effort/5mins recovery]. 15km brick run @ Ironman target pace. Get straight into a hot bath. Test your nutrition strategy and keep hydrating in the bath!

Looking for more expert advice? Check out these Ironman training and racing tips from Tim Don.


Top image credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images