Half Iron Level 2 for a full Ironman race? | 80/20 Endurance

Half Iron Level 2 for a full Ironman race?


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    Could someone train on Half Iron Level 2 for a full Ironman race (or something similar)? I am doing Half Iron L2 now for 70.3s this year, and feel like I am doing pretty well with finding 60-120 mins to train on weekdays and 1-3 hrs each weekend day. Last week was week 9 and I did 11:20 in training duration. I am thinking about a full 140.6 in 2022, less competitively than I pursue 70.3, more of “just get to the finish line under 12 hrs” (kind of a “Level 0” approach) but I’m looking at the 6-7 hour bricks and 2-3 hr runs in peak weeks in the Iron Level 0 plan and and thinking, I anticipate it will be more difficult for me to withdraw from work and family on any given day for 3-7 hours (even if there are other days with 0 duration or something short) then it is for me to find 10-12 hours overall through 6-7 days of training in peak weeks that I am doing now for Half Iron Level 2. I get the obvious reason for long runs and long bricks in the Iron distance plans but I wonder if there has been any success with good weekly volume (still 10-13 hrs) but shorter max duration efforts.


    It’s clear you’re not a novice when it comes to triathlon. I’m also assuming that you’ve done the math to determine how you would reach the sub 12 marker for a full distance triathlon. Keep in mind you’ve probably completed the training required for that distance to come to that number…unless you’ve been able to complete a 70.3 using an Olympic plan. What you’re asking to do here is cut corners. Which is ok for some training days, but should be the exception in extreme cases, not the rule.

    In my opinion, there is a reason that the full ironman plan calls for the duration of training that it calls for. If most people could complete a full distance ironman using a half distance plan, then I would assume that this would have been created. I have not seen this type of plan, so I’m assuming that research supports a longer training program for a full distance ironman for good reason.

    A couple thoughts that come to mind are nailing in your nutrition. Without those long bike and run workouts, how will you determine the amount of caloric intake you will need/combo that works for you. Nutrition for a 70.3 is significantly different than a 140.6. I’ve done 4 fulls, and I’m still learning from each and every long bike and run how to best fuel myself for race day. Training plans help to minimize the risk of injury. I would be concerned that pushing the distance by nearly half would cause an injury during the race. Mental fatigue – in the 140.6 “demi-god” ironman training plan, there is fair amount of dialogue regarding mental fatigue. The monotony of those longer training runs helps to train the brain as well. Sliding in and out of concentration can be dangerous – especially on the bike. This is where the 80/20 demonstrates its superiority to other plans and helps you train your mind as well as your body, but you need to do the long distance for both the run and the bike to prepare the brain for what the body is doing- a 70.3 mentality is far different from a 140.6

    Most half ironman plans top out around 60 miles for the bike and 14 miles for the run. Do you think doing this type of mileage will prepare you for a sub 12 hour full distance ironman? If so, then go for it, no-one is stopping you.

    Of course, there is nothing stopping you from trying your approach. However, if this were me, and I was looking to eliminate over half of the process, then I would question the motive behind really wanting to do a full. Would you be able to talk with your family regarding the time commitment of completing a full so that you could do it as programmed, with as little impact on them as possible?

    For me, the journey in it’s entirety was well worth the time. Good luck in your decision and your racing.

    David Warden

    Ted, yes, it’s possible if you are willing to just finish and make the cutoff. There would be a lot of walking on the marathon, but you can do it. Another option is a custom plan or coach, a bit more expensive, but they would be able to really dial in your training limits and maximize the hours that you can commit to training.



    Thanks for both thoughtful responses.

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