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Training for Ironman Florida

by Meghann on May 21, 2013

It’s time! Training for Ironman Florida officially kicked off yesterday!!!


Whoa, nelly! That means in 24 weeks I will be toeing the starting line for my first 140.6. From here, 24 weeks sounds like forever, but I know it’s going to fly by.

For Ironman training I will be following the plan from the book Start to Finish: 24 Weeks to an Endurance Triathlon.


The book/plan was recommended by the author of You Are An Ironman and after skimming a preview of it on Amazon, I knew it was the plan for me. I bought the book months ago and have since read through all the prep-chapters and skimmed the plan itself.

What I really like about the plan is that it’s geared towards ‘weekend warriors’ (aka someone who works forty-hours a week and does the bulk of their training on the weekends). I also love how easy it is to follow.

The plan is broken up into four phases: Adaptation, Aerobic, Ironman Specific Phase, and Race Phase.


The first phase – the ‘Adaptation Phase’ – is meant to ease triathletes into Ironman training and is all about building endurance.


Each chapter gives a daily breakdown of the week’s workouts, with helpful notes on how to execute the workout. I really love all the details provided, there are even chapters in the front that breakdown all of the training terms even further (ie. what a c/u stroke is).


Then, for easy reference, there’s an index in the back that gives a quick view of the workouts for the week without all the extra details.


There are “base” workouts in bold that are your required workouts for the week and “optional” workouts that are not necessarily required to be able to finish an Ironman, but more of suggestions for those looking to perform at their highest level. I like the different sets, since it makes the plan a little more customizable. I’ll more likely just be sticking to the “base” workouts since my time is tight (work is going to be CRAZY busy the next few months) and I really just want to train to finish, not exactly break any world records.

I already have Phase 1 loaded into my calendar.

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Truthfully, phase 1 looks busy, but definitely doable. It’s the later phases that intimidate me. I’m trying to take it one phase at a time and not skip to the end when – gulp – I’ll be riding for 6+ hours when training!


I’m hoping to do some of those longer rides with my brother and sister, but we’ll cross the bridge when it gets there.

I’m also on a couple of local triathlon clubs mailing lists. I’ve already seen emails come through for folks starting training for Ironman Florida and planning group rides and open water swims together. I also plan to still swim with my swim group during the week. I’ll either swim a little earlier or stay a little later when longer swims start coming into play.

This is just the beginning of Ironman training and I honestly have no idea what to expect. I’m going to learn as I go with what works and doesn’t work with my schedule and plan to share my experiences along the way. I’m really excited for this new adventure and see where it takes me!

Any Ironman training advice for a first-timer?

1 Meghan @ After the Ivy League May 21, 2013 at 7:36 am

Wow! 6+ hours of riding, that’s crazy! I’m so excited to follow you throughout training for such a huge event. The training plan you’re following looks great!
Meghan @ After the Ivy League recently posted..Epic Recipe Failure

2 Robin May 21, 2013 at 7:38 am

I am training for Ironman Lake Placid in July and the training while demanding is actually kind of fun and makes you feel like you are really accomplishing something. When the hours get up there you get TIRED but you get used to it. This weekend I am doing 5-1/2 hours on the bike. My longest before that was 4 so I am incredibly nervous but so excited that I will be approaching my first 100 mile bike ride. Have fun training!
Robin recently posted..Where Do Triathletes Live?

3 Andrea R. May 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

wow this is incredible!! Such perseverance!!! I have complete faith that you will do it and ROCK IT!!! Can’t wait to follow you throughout the next 24 weeks!
Andrea R. recently posted..Glorious Pain & Food “Weakness”

4 Elizabeth @ Positive Changes May 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

Good luck to starting your training!

5 Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 21, 2013 at 8:40 am

Ahhh 140.6 just sounds like a crazy number. Props to you for approaching it at all! One of my friends just completed an Ironman this past weekend. I don’t know if I ever could; I don’t know if my body could handle it! I’ll stick with my half marathons for now. πŸ˜› I’m looking forward to reading about your training and especially your race, though! πŸ™‚
Beth @ Mangoes and Miles recently posted..Scenes from the Cleveland Half-Marathon

6 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes May 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

Since I just started doing triathlons last year, I’m sticking to short-course events for the immediate future–but both the 70.3 and full Ironman are only a matter of time. Very excited to follow you on this journey, Meghann!
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7 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

oh gosh, 6+ hour training rides? Haha maybe get some friends to join you for bits of them if you can’t do them with your siblings? Or have Derek drive alongside… hahaha.
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..Graduation Weekend.

8 Caitlin May 21, 2013 at 9:40 am

I’m so excited for you!! Take it one work out at a time- you’re going to do great Meghann!

9 Ashley May 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

That training plan looks intense- I can not even fathom riding a bike for SIX hours! Very interested in following along as you juggle a full time job (during a busy period) AND training for a freaking Ironman!
Ashley recently posted..Running for fun

10 Jennie May 21, 2013 at 10:12 am

WOW, that does look like a intense plan. Six hours on a bike. I’m sure you will do well though Meghann.

11 joelle (on a pink typewriter) May 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

Yay for starting training! I begin half marathon training this weekend and I’m stoked!
joelle (on a pink typewriter) recently posted..Salt

12 Courtney May 21, 2013 at 10:39 am

I’m doing my first full, IMAZ, just two weeks after your race. The fiance is training with me, but I am SO looking forward to your perspective and some “female companionship” .. aka me stalking your blog πŸ˜€

13 Tiffani @ Miles In Murray May 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

Good luck on training!!! I am so excited to follow along and see how well you do! You are going to do AWESOME, I am sure!!
Tiffani @ Miles In Murray recently posted..I can’t believe I am doing this

14 Natalie @ Free Range Human May 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

Wow, what incredible dedication! Kudos to you! I don’t think I could commit so much of my life to training.
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Day One!

15 Ja @Ja on the RUN May 21, 2013 at 11:18 am

I have a friend who just finished his first Ironman in Texas. Tracking him online made me want to faint. LOL! The distance is insane but he rocked it! He started early in the morning and it was already night time when he finished.

Goodluck with your training!!!
Ja @Ja on the RUN recently posted..My Partner On The Run.

16 Kayla May 21, 2013 at 11:38 am

WOW! I seriously can’t wait to hear allllll about how these workouts go! I’m so interested! You will do great!
Kayla recently posted..Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 2013

17 Christine @ BookishlyB May 21, 2013 at 11:50 am

No advice, but I will be interested to see how training impacts your dietary needs. I’d probably over-compensate.
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18 Karla @ Run, Karla, Run! May 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Wow! That training looks serious. Godspeed and good luck!
Karla @ Run, Karla, Run! recently posted..VIDEO: ‘On The Run’ at Brooklyn Half Race Report

19 victoria @ reluctantlyskinny May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

24 weeks does seem like a ways off, but it’ll be here before you know it! so awesome that we get to follow you on this journey…what an incredibly amazing goal to tackle!
victoria @ reluctantlyskinny recently posted..MIMM: catching up

20 emily n May 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Wow! This is exciting stuff! Can’t wait to see how making this all fit comes together!
emily n recently posted..Pillows, Swelling, and Working

21 Sara May 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Wow that is super intense!! Good luck! I want to do a triathlon next year but Iron girl one. Way less intense then a real Iron Man!

Sara πŸ™‚
Sara recently posted..A Fitness Plan

22 Sam May 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm

There is nothing more exciting than starting a new training plan, especially when it’s for a special event. I’m really looking forward to following your progress over the next 24 weeks. It’s my life ambition to do an Ironman – this might give me the push I need to make the dream a reality!

23 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Good luck! I’ll be thinking of you these next 24 weeks and I’m excited to see how this training goes for you. Working full-time and training definitely adds a whole other layer to the challenge that is training, so I’m excited to see how you’re able to make it work!
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Blend: HOW

24 Chelsea May 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Oh man, that is going to be an intense 24 weeks! I can’t imagine don’t anything near an Ironman, so I’m already super impressed! Can’t wait to hear how the training goes!
Chelsea recently posted..Things I Know Tuesday

25 Nina May 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

This is going to be so intense! I can’t wait to follow you on this journey. A long distance triathlon is on my to-do list, but just thinking about doing it someday seems crazy.

26 meghan May 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I’m looking forward to following you on the journey! Should be a lot of fun.
meghan recently posted..Weekly Workouts 5/13-5/19

27 christa May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

What I wish I would have done is ride 100+ miles at least 3 times. WITH a run after each of them. The training plan I did only had 2 100 milers and no running. I did some other longer bricks but I would say it’s necessary to get the legs used to riding that long and then running.
christa recently posted..Week 15

28 christa May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

that is, no running after the 100 milers. of course running!! πŸ™‚

29 Heather @ Run Eat Play May 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Wow! That is so awesome that you’re doing an Ironman! Good luck with your training πŸ™‚
Heather @ Run Eat Play recently posted..Birthday Dinner and Half Marathon Training

30 Megan May 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Amazing, good luck and enjoy the journey!

31 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats May 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I think that it is so inspiring that you are doing this!!! Well done πŸ™‚

I can’t wait to keep hearing about how your training goes I’m sure you are going to smash it. One of the guys I work with did his first Ironman this year and his dedication to training was second to none and also very inspiring.
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Trial Tuesdays #2

32 Molly @ There Goes Molly Rose May 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

You’re going to do awesome! Looking forward to hearing about your training experience. πŸ™‚
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33 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin May 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Since I’ve never even done the shortest distance triathlon, I can’t wait to live vicariously through you for your ironman!! I’m sure you will rock it!

34 Kathleen @ fittitude freedom May 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Best of luck with the intense IM training. I can’t even imagine how you will fit that kind of training in with a new job and all but I can’t wait to hear how you do it. I’m sure you will conquer your goal. Your hubby must be so understanding and supportive with all of these life changes all happening at once after getting married only 5+ months ago. Have fun!
Kathleen @ fittitude freedom recently posted..From Point A to Point RD

35 Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to do some of your long bike sessions alone – it’s such a mental asset, especially on a flat, one-loop course like IMFL. You’re going to be alone for MANY hours, better get used to it.
Victoria (District Chocoholic) recently posted..Cocova January Sample Day

36 Liz May 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I’m going to be at Ironman FL in November, so I’m excited to follow along with your training!
Liz recently posted..Dark Chocolate & Walnut Cookie Bars

37 Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian May 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I can’t wait to read about your journey!
Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian recently posted..Take Time Tuesday

38 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats May 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

I am so excited to read about your training. Just the fact that you registered for an Ironman has me super impressed. You are going to do GREAT!
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39 Megan @ I Run For Wine May 22, 2013 at 9:05 am

Wow Meghann! This is amazing and inspiring. I look forward to following you through your Ironman Journey!
Megan @ I Run For Wine recently posted..Get LOST in Running

40 Robyn @thereallife_RD May 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

it’s on my bucket list to do an Ironman- I’m so excited to follow along! you doing it could give me the courage to register for one myself! you go girl!
Robyn @thereallife_RD recently posted..meal prep: pesto pasta salad + zucchini bakes!

41 Annette @FitnessPerks May 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

This is so exciting for you!! I did a Half IronMan, and thought I was gonna die from all the training, so I can’t even imagine a full. GO you!

I think you’ll have a blast b/c you have fam doing it too. Can’t wait to read all about the journey!
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42 Jamie at Sometimes Healthy Living Blog May 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Good luck!

I’ve only done marathons, so my best advice is pace yourself. Not sure I’ll ever make it to Ironman, but I did write for their website for a short period of time πŸ™‚
Jamie at Sometimes Healthy Living Blog recently posted..WIAW: Oh, Hello Summer!

43 Jelena@FabLifePhD May 22, 2013 at 5:22 pm

It looks like a lot of training now, but I am sure that you will be amazed what your body can make. I am starting to train for my first half-marathon and I’m also being very anxious at the moment
Jelena@FabLifePhD recently posted..Paris: Day 2

44 PeachyLau May 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Good luck!!!
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45 Sara@RunningInPinkProject May 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Good Luck! Youll do great! πŸ™‚
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46 Steve nowlin May 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Hi Meghan, Congratulations on starting your journey! Are you going to continue Crossfit during your training?

47 Meghann May 24, 2013 at 7:24 am

I’ll be doing it one day a week. I love it too much to stop, but there’s no way I can keep up with it more than that with training.

48 tabitha May 24, 2013 at 8:39 am

I am worried about working and training for a 70.3. Best of luck to you! I know you will get all your training in and rock Ironman Florida!

49 Caitlin May 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

i am inspired by you!
Caitlin recently posted..Cuisine That’s Lusciously Lean

50 Molly May 29, 2013 at 7:18 am

Hey Megan, I follow your blog on Twitter and have been noticing that you’re doing a full ironman in FL. Sa-weet:) One day I hope to get there!
I just signed up for my first 70.3 in Augusta on September 29th. Any training tips? I’m a runner (I run everyday) and am going to need the most “help” swimming. Any suggestions on plans/books?
Thanks! πŸ™‚

51 Meghann May 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Hi Molly! I did Augusta in 2011, it’s a GREAT race! Here’s a recap of my training schedule: I would suggest joining a masters class for swimming, or find a friend that’s willing to help you. That’s what I did and it made all the difference!

52 Jamie June 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Meghann, I just came across your website and thought I would give you my two cents. I did IM Arizona in 2010 (my first Ironman) and am just starting an 18 month process to getting back to IM Arizona in 2014. My words of advice for you would be to:

– Stick as close to your training plan as possible. With that said, if there is a day that you are VERY tired or don’t feel right, modify the work out or even skip it. The last thing you want to do is overtrain.
– Use your long workouts to nail down your nutrition. I failed the nutrition part in Arizona and paid for it on the run.
– I used my bike trainer for all rides during the week, that way I was riding (actually pedalling) for the entire workout. Andy Potts (Pro Triathlete) does 95% of his bike training on a trainer.
– When race day comes, enjoy the day, pace yourself and trust your training.

Good luck!
Jamie recently posted..Training and Planning

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