12 Month Ironman Training Plan | 80/20 Endurance

12 Month Ironman Training Plan

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    Thank you for clarifying and for the link – I got it sorted.

    Looking forward to getting started on Monday.

    KInd regards


    Hi all,

    I’m just throwing mythoughts out here in orer to see what others think.

    Basically I have an Ironman Planned for August 15 but now i’m panicking a bit and having second thougts as I’m not sure if i’ll have trained enough/properly for it.

    I’ve never done an Ironman (or a triathlon) before. My formal Ironman training does not begin until the beginning of March. Howevr, i’m worried because i’m supposed to be in the middle of a marathon plan to build fitness but due to a perfect storm of lockdown, having to take anti-biotics for an infection in my thumb, and in the past few weeks i’ve been sick (likely covid although it wasn’t too bad), I haven’t trained since november.

    I was teachng myself to swim from scratch and had reached 750 metres continuously but then the gyms closed again and where I am they’re closed for the next 6 weeks at least. So i’m panicking that I won’t even be able to have the ability to do the first week of ironman training. Can i still teach myself as I go along by doing extra swim sessions?

    I am feeling well enough to start running again come Monday. But I haven’t been able to buy a new bike as yet due to out of stock before christmas and with the gyms closed i can’t build my fitness up there. So I guess all I can do is run until march but will that be enough?

    I guess what i’m asking in a longwinded way is, do I still have enough time to train properly for the ironman?

    Many thanks

    David Warden


    Yes, you do.

    The barrier will not be the time available, the limitation will be your level of commitment. 8 months is enough time for anyone without a chronic health condition to complete an Ironman. But, it is a real challenge on race day and the training preceding it. Even with the challenges you outline, I don’t see a reason (with the limited information I have about your situation) that you can’t do it if you commit.

    Don’t be afraid to start with a Level 0 plan and work your way up. Make sure you take advantage of the next 2 months and exercise regularly. Use our guide on replacing your swimming to stay sharp until the pool open for you.

    I’m very confident you can do it! This forum is here for you too on your journey.



    Hi David,

    Thank you for your answer.

    Super! Exactly what I was hoping to hear. If it comes down to commitment then I’m all in. This is a major life goal of mine and i’m determined to make it happen this year. It’s paid for, as is the accomodation and your Ironman plan is also paid for. Just need a bike ha!

    Thanks for the continued support!

    I’ll make sure to let you all know how i’m getting on.



    My Ironman training starts this week. It takes place on August 15 in Cork, Ireland.

    It’s not exactly how i envisaged it. I haven’t swam in about 5 months, not ideal given i was teaching myself how to swim and was only able to swim 750m continuously. Pools are not open for another 3 weeks I think. I’ve had no bike either -I had to get a lend of an old road bike, hopefully i can upgrade within the next few weeks when the shops open. Haven’t relly done a whole lot of running. I have a minor back strain too. But apart from that i’m all set and ready to go!! haha

    Given the challenges, it’s only going to be even more sweeter when I pull it off!

    David Warden

    Aidan, looking forward to hearing about your progress. Stay in touch here and let us know how you are doing!




    I am planning on doing Italy IM (Full) in September 2022.
    I see from the post above the recommendation for the 12-month training is:
    * Maintenance plan -> Marathon plan (using the bike and swims for the cross-training sessions) -> Full IM Plan

    I have completed 70.3 (’17), 70.3 (’17), 140.6 (’17), 70.3 (’21 – last weekend).
    My biggest challenge is reducing my excess weight so I can improve my run disipline (and the others by default)

    Is the maintenance -> marathon -> IM plan the only combination for the 12-months? If so that’s fine, it’s a new concept to me and I just want to make sure I wasn’t applying something that was suggested for one athlete to me if not appropriate…

    I was planning on doing some olys and 70.3s over spring/summer as prep…?

    Interested to hear your ideas and advice. Need to get my head around the ATP on TP… do I need this if I am using the 80/20 plans (which I love) back to back?


    David Warden


    When I last responded to this post in March, we had limited options to bridge the gap between the start of foraml training plans.

    Now, you’ll find a variety of off-season/pre-season plans in our Maintenance, Goal-Focused, Racing Weight, Strength and Mobility, and Stride Academy plans. Each plan caters to a specific need or weakness that the athlete has, and they range from 6 to 12 weeks in length. You can do one after the other, and even mix and match to target more than one goal at a time. I suspect that at least one or two of these plans are perfect for you.

    The Maintenance plan -> Marathon plan -> Full IM Plan isn’t always right order, that was just for that particular athlete. The only real requirements is what you should NOT do, which is training non-stop for a IM for >6 months. So with that as the only requirements, you have many, many options to break up your year, like:

    – Racing Weight -> Oly -> 70.3 -> IM
    – Maintenance -> 703 -> HM -> IM
    – Run Endurance -> Maintenance -> 70.3 ->IM

    The distance between events makes a big difference in the recommendation. For example, a marathon a month before the IM is a no-no, but 5 months before? Perfect. Same with a 70.3. 6 weeks before? Too close. 8 weeks before? Yeah, we can do that.

    If you can provide the dates and distances of the other events here, we can give you thumbs up or down.



    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the response. That makes sense.
    So I think the one that is most appropriate for me would be:
    – Racing Weight -> Oly -> 70.3 -> IM

    So the only thing that is fixed right now is the IM: 17 September 2022. I have flexibility on when I do the other events. All of which are really only milestones supporting the IM in Italy.

    So Ideally, when would you suggest I would do the Olympic(s) the 70.3 so that they dovetail into the sequence of 80/20 plans above and also give best returns on effort fo the IM?


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by JOM.
    David Warden

    We have a document for that! See Planning Your Race Season on our Resources page.



    Just to piggy back on this…

    Is it okay to go from

    Tri Maintenance Plan (12 Weeks) > IM Plan (23 Weeks)


    David Warden


    Yes, sort of with one modification. Although the Maintenance plan is not a heavy plan, doing it back-to-back with the IM plan results in 35 straight weeks of formal training. That’s a long time.

    So, consider a 2-week break after Week 10 of the Maintenance plan. Not completely off, but maybe just 4 hours a week of swim, bike and run as you feel. Don’t be afraid to lose a bit of fitness in those two weeks, it’s part of the process.


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