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).
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).
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.