Ironman Level 0 or 1...first time but not couch to 5k* | 80/20 Endurance

Ironman Level 0 or 1…first time but not couch to 5k*

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    Hey! I know I ask a lot of questions but just looking ahead to my training plans.

    I am wondering if I should do level 1 or level 0 for my first ironman. I know I can either upgrade or downgrade but what should I start with? I have never done those type of distances but also wouldn’t say I am completely new to the sport (olympics all summer). So curious as to what your recommendation would be?

    Also, if I DO upgrade or downgrade, and I reapply my plan, would that then disassociate all my training previously done on those workouts (going from all greens to now yellows or more likely reds) showing that I was not compliant? How does that work?

    Thanks so much! I am excited and SUPER NERVOUS for my first ironman (St. George, May 2022)

    David Warden

    Lot’s of questions? That’s what the Forums is for!

    When on the fence with what level to choose, it’s always best to choose the lower first. You’ll be more successful upgrading than downgrading. You’ll also have better performance on a Level 0 plan with strength training than a Level 1 plan without, so factor in that additional time and that might be the clincher for choosing the Level 0 at first.

    Regarding unapplying a plan, TP won’t remove any completed workouts. TP will only remove incomplete past and incomplete future workouts.

    There is a bit of a cosmetic issue where when you load the Level 0 plan with a start date of say, Sept 1, and then you load the Level 1 plan a month later with the same or similar start date, it will load a months’ worth of workouts from Sept 1 to October 1 as “incomplete” which is technically true.



    Thanks so much David.

    So you would honestly recommend to someone (looking to get stronger, faster and accomplish the ironman feeling good) to go with a lower volume plan but keep the lifting as opposed to going to level 1 or 2?

    If that’s the case (I am sure it’s somewhere on the forum just have a hard time finding it) when would you recommend lifting? I have a 2 day plan with an optional 3 day and as I look at planning my schedule, just trying to see when you recommend? (before x swim, or day before this workout, basically just a yes/no time to life).

    Thanks so much!

    David Warden

    Cross my heart and hope to die!

    When endurance athletes are asked to replace (not add, replace) 1/3 of their cardio training time with strength training, they improve performance over control groups that maintain nothing but cardio.

    The free and Premium strength plans that we provide schedule the strength days for you. In terms of timing when you have a strength session and a cardio session on the same day:

    – strength after swim not before
    – strength after high intensity cardio
    – strength before or after easy cardio (Zone 1-2)


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