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The master of all triathlons, Ironman distance triathlon (or simply known as “Ironman”) is a full-day race that involves a 3.8-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre cycle, and a 42-kilometre run. By no means an easy feat, the Ironman is a race that should be taken seriously, and only attempted by experienced triathletes with a high level of fitness.

However, all potential Ironman finishers, even the strongest ones, would need to undergo a substantial amount of training. It is best to start your regimen early, and give yourself around a year to gradually train your body. This should ideally involve a weekly five-day programme that will prepare you to face the tough requirements of the race.

Endurance training

Like any other triathlete, Ironman aspirants should start slow, and make tiny additions to their distances each week. However, the weekly training schedule should be regular, and consist of one swimming session, one cycling session, one running sessions, and two combination sessions. Keep a record of the distances that you cover each day in order to ensure that you do not end up with inconsistent increases.

Conditioning drills

You should work on conditioning drills to strengthen your muscles throughout the year, but do more within the first half of the year, and reduce the intensity and regularity as your increase your endurance training in the three sports. Let’s have a look at some examples of conditioning drills that you can work on.

Plank exercise for core: Get into a push-up position, then place your elbows, bent 90 degrees, on the ground. Keep looking down but do not let your head drop, maintaining a straight line from your head all the way to your legs. Tuck your tummy in by engaging your abdominal muscles, but do not move the position of your hips. While keeping your upper body in this position, slowly lift one leg off the ground and hold it there for ten seconds, before lowering it back down in a controlled manner. Switch legs and repeat.

Resistance training with single-leg squats: Stand up straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Move one leg off the ground and, balancing on the other, bend at the knee and lower yourself as if you were sitting on an imaginary low stool. Hold in this position for three seconds, then slowly straighten your supporting leg before placing your other foot back on the ground. Switch sides and repeat.

Bicycle sit-ups for abdominal muscles: This exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles, which will help you keep your balance in the water, and result in a steadier and more effortless swim. In addition, it also requires coordination skills, which will aid your dexterity on the bicycle. To begin this workout, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs extended and up in the air. Pump your legs as if you were pedalling, or riding an imaginary bicycle. Keep pedalling as you begin your sit-ups. For an added challenge, you may attempt side sit-ups as well.

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