Each year in the US, roughly four million people participate in triathlons – an endurance-based multi-race including three sports categories: swimming, cycling, and running – however, a few of them have their eyes set on the pinnacle of all races: The Ironman World Championship.
Ironman Triathlon is organized every year in Kona, Hawaii, by the World Triathlon Corporation. But like other races, it’s also getting postponed this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Though the pandemic is bad news for all, it’s as a good time as any to begin building a base for your ironman triathlon training.
So, keep reading to learn how long is an ironman triathlon and some fool-proof training tips that can help you successfully complete one of the greatest races of all time.
Ironman Triathlon Formats
The length of an ironman triathlon depends on the type of ironman race format. Generally, there are two types of ironman race:
Half Ironman Triathlon
Popularly known as “Ironman 70.3” or the “long course triathlon,” it is half the distance of a full ironman triathlon. It’s ideal for people who’re not quite ready for the challenge of a full ironman triathlon. The half ironman race format encompasses 1.3 miles of swimming, 13.1 miles running, and 56 miles of cycling. Though half ironman triathlons are a shorter version of the full-fledged race, they’re still challenging, so the participation percentage is quite low.
Full Ironman Triathlon
The ultimate and most arduous of triathlon races is the full ironman triathlon. The general distances for this type are 2.4 miles of swimming, 26.2 miles of running, and 112 miles for cycling. Each category is extremely demanding – both physically and mentally – and very few people have been able to successfully reach the finish line.
How Long is an Ironman Triathlon?
Ironman triathlons – both half and full – are considered the pinnacle of multisport racing. Completing both demands a high level of endurance, fitness, and mental resilience, as participants can spend anywhere between eight hours (for professionals) to seventeen long hours (amateur athletes) on the race.
All aspirants should know that contesting in a full ironman triathlon requires long-term training commitment along with highly disciplined time management skills. Unlike other triathlon races – such as sprint or Olympic – becoming an ironman triathlon a lifestyle. Even the switch from 70.3 or half-ironman triathlon racing to a full-ironman is substantial, as the event demands a lot more focus and time to be successful.
To help you get a better idea of how long is an ironman triathlon, here are the average ironman triathlon completion times:
Average Finish Time for Men: 12:25 hrs.
Swimming – 1:15 hrs.
Cycling – 6:05 hrs.
Running – 4:40 hrs.
T1+T2 – 0:25 hrs.
Average Finish Time for Women: 13:30 hrs.
Swimming – 1:20 hrs.
Cycling – 6:40 hrs.
Running – 5:05 hrs.
T1+T2 – 0:25 hrs.
Average Finish Time for Male Professionals: 8:40 hrs.
Swimming – 0:52 hrs.
Cycling – 4:35 hrs.
Running – 3:04 hrs.
T1+T2 – 0:09 hrs.
Average Finish Time for Female Professionals: 9:35 hrs.
Swimming – 0:59 hrs.
Cycling – 5:05 hrs.
Running – 3:21 hrs.
T1+T2 – 0:10 hrs.
Fool-Proof Training Tips for Ironman Triathlon
We’re sure you must have come across a plethora of different training plans and guides for everybody, from triathlon beginners wanting to try a sprint triathlon to professional triathletes aiming to nail the ultimate ironman triathlon. Triathlon training plans can vary from a few weeks, months to a whole year, depending on the kind of triathlon you intend to compete in. However, there are some training rules that are a safe bet. To help you make the most out of ironman triathlon training, here are some points to consider:
Focus on endurance: Train to build your endurance abilities rather than speed. Keep in mind that you’ll be spending a great deal of time swimming, running, and biking.
Rest if you need to: If the training plan has no resting circuits, your body will break down from exhaustion eventually.
Train practically: Over-exertion can harm your body and will also reduce overall strength rather than building it.
Work on your weaknesses: If you are an experienced swimmer, focus on running and cycling for a major proportion of your training.
Stretch as much as you can: It helps add range and flexibility to your motion and is an integral part of the training.
Don’t lose sight of your strength: Especially, when the event gets closer. Focus further on enhancing your strengths.
Do simple exercises: Simple exercises are easier for your muscles and brain to register and understand. As building endurance demands both physical and mental balance, your triathlon training plan should incorporate it as well.
Seek help: Hire a coach or find somebody to train with, as it can get significantly harder to train alone.
Train with proper equipment: Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or top-of-the-line. Simply train with equipment that you’re be utilizing during the actual event.
Lastly, bear in mind that training for the ironman triathlon is hard! Be mentally prepared to give it the best that you can. In addition, you also should be in pretty good shape – physically and mentally – just to begin training for ironman training. Ensure you get the right training help when preparing for an ironman triathlon and keep these basic training tips in mind.
Our Final Thoughts
Both professional and amateur ironman triathlon participants can benefit from working with a triathlon trainer who can align the participant’s objectives with the right training strategy and coaching support. For more information on ironman triathlons and other endurance sports, be sure to check the rest of our blog.