One of the issues I encountered when looking at preparing for the full ironman distance triathlon, was what plan to use. Early on in my triathlon time I just sort of winged it, picking up tips from here and there. As I progressed in distance I began to use the Time Crunched Triathlete plans which are based on getting your workouts in the week with less time.
The book describes that these plans are best for Sprint and Olympic Distance races. I certainly can attest that they did work for these distances.
The book did include a 70.3 plan that tells you that the plan will work to get you to the finish line but it doesn't guarantee that you will be competitive. I felt that the plan did work well to get me through my 70.3 races.
I knew entering this year of triathlon training that I would need to change plans.
I also knew that these plans could be expensive and I was doing all of this on a budget. I began to look around for an ironman specific training plan that would incorporate all of the facets of training but would be sensitive to my work week.
This would mean that the plan would need 4 days of higher intensity but shorter workouts in each of the disciplines, but also would need to include the long workouts on the weekend.
After searching for a very long time I found TriFuel's SuperCoach program lingering on the internet.
You can find the plan here. This plan worked very well for me this year. The workouts include 22 weeks of out season or offseason workouts that focus on building up the aerobic system of your body. The workout plan then includes 12 weeks of a competitive season that focuses on getting in the long workouts to prepare your body mentally and physically for the grueling 140.6 mile course. Finally, the plan includes a 2 week taper.
The swim portion of the workouts focused on mixing up the swim strokes with butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and also freestyle. I found that the variation in the strokes kept me from getting bored in the pool, but also helped me with form and function in my freestyle stroke. I was nervous by the time I got to the big 2.4 mile swim because I had not swam that distance before with these workouts, but I was more than ready and finished in better time than I thought I would.
The run portion of the workouts focused on form in the 22 week out season plan. These workouts helped you with some drills. In the competitive season workouts you typically had a long run on the weekend, along with a brick workout around the bike. During the week, you focused on sprinting work and speed work. Once again, I felt that the plan enabled me to be fully ready for the marathon of the ironman. I did not do as many of the brick workouts doing the competitive season because of time and I wish I had done more of them. It was not a problem with the plan, but a problem with my time management.
The bike portion of the workouts, prepared me very well for the bike leg of the race. The workouts during the week spent a lot of time on maximizing power and trying to get faster. You also worked on single leg drills. The weekend portion of the workouts focused on going longer and longer distances to prepare for the ironman distance race. I felt like the bike portion of my ironman was way faster than I ever imagined averaging over 20 miles an hour.
Overall, this plan worked very well for me and I would highly suggest it to anyone who is self-coached and looking for a great plan to finish and be competitive (4th in my age group) at any ironman distance event.