As the season heats up, you may be considering transitioning from the 70.3 to 140.6 distance, also commonly known as the half-Ironman to Ironman distance respectively.
This decision requires careful planning, conscientious dedication, and progressive, periodized training. There are numerous key considerations to make this transition as successful as possible.
While you may be able to muscle through other triathlon distances, this is not the case with the Ironman distance. Instead, this distance of one of dedicated consistency and attentive strategy.
Ensure you have successfully completed multiple triathlons including the 70.3 distance and feel confident in your overall, well-rounded triathlon abilities.
Wisdom shares that the Ironman distance is twice the half Ironman distance and four times the amount of work. While the increased race distance is obvious, there is a significant increase in training volume and training duration, as well as recovery needs.
The Ironman distance workload can compete with work, family, social, and other life demands so be sure you are fully committed before making this transition. Impeccable time management skills are also a must.
Perhaps the most challenging part of Ironman training is making it to the starting line injury-free. The Ironman distance significantly increases an athlete’s injury risk.
Thus, optimized strength training and supervision from a ‘care’ team, including physical and massage therapy, are a must. A well-seasoned coach can also be an integral part of your team.
The journey into a long-course triathlon requires you to ‘train’ your gut, just like you train your cardiovascular system. Proper fueling and hydration are necessary to sustain energy levels over a longer duration.
However, gastrointestinal issues are rampant at the Ironman distance and potentially race-ending. Refining and dialing in your fueling and nutrition strategy is vital.
Coupling the preparation required for your body to handle the increased training volume, you must also prepare your mind to handle the grind. There will be long workouts, long days, and long weeks filled in a fatigued state.
Developing mental resilience will help you handle the challenges of full-distance triathlon training and, in particular, on race day.
Like most life goals, the Ironman distance takes a village. Engage experienced triathletes who have completed full-distance races for guidance.
Connect with a supportive training group or community to join workouts and share experiences. Incorporate your care team for more sustainable success.
Allow your family and friends to support your efforts and needs. Seek coaching guidance to orchestrate the process and all of the many moving parts.
The transition from the 70.3 to 140.6 distance is a significant undertaking and one not to take lightly. However, it is also one of the most exhilarating, rewarding decisions. Enjoy the process and celebrate each milestone along the way.
Alyssa (AJ) Morrison
Alyssa Morrison is a USAT Level 2, Training Peaks Level 2, and ACE Health certified coach and the founder/head coach of Multisport in Motion. Employing her occupational therapy education and clinical rehabilitation experience, athletes seeking an injury prevention and wellness focus to resolve injury and optimize performance have found major success with their individual coaching and training plans. Alyssa resides in Washington DC, where she coached for the DC Tri Club, and trains as a competitive amateur.