The Ironman 4 P’s

Plan, Prepare, Perform & Party




As the 2015 European Ironman season comes to an end most UK and European athletes are taking a short break and enjoying the end of season after party’s. I predict you will also be looking towards 2016 and planning / entering your next Ironman or 70.3 races very soon if you haven’t already done so.

Pick a race and enter


Preparing properly for an Ironman race is anywhere from 6 – 12 months dedication because of the amount of time you have to commit to it. Not just the physical training but the mental focus as a goal ‘A race’ that’s 12 months away is a very very long time to focus on it and it can become an obsession so plan in recovery / short breaks from all things Ironman related as too much too soon can leave you training flat and mentally fatigued just 2 months into a 12 month plan. Too much too soon also brings the increased risk of injury.


The perform stages of any plan can be broken down into the following components. Base, Build, Load, Taper, Race.

At the start of any plan current fitness levels should be calculated so the correct fitness building blocks can be set.

Base Fitness

Base training is all mainly low intensity and it’s a period that is over 18 weeks out from the main event. Basically this is just preparation phase / work before you move into the build phase of the Ironman plan.

For example preparing for Ironman Austria 2016 which is on June 26th i’d advise a plan along the lines of this but remember the Build and Load phases can be changed depending on the level of the individual.

Base 8 weeks Jan 1st – Feb 15th

Build 8 weeks  Feb 22nd РApril 11th

Load 8 weeks  April 18th РJune 6th

Taper 2 week June 13th & 20th

Race June 26th

Party 27th

Build Fitness

The main build phase can be anything from 12 to 18 weeks out for the target A race. Eighteen weeks is a long time so a plan should encourage and have in it periods that are easy and promote recovery . A standard newbie / intermediate plan will build for 3 weeks and recover for 1. A top level age grouper may not require a full weeks recovery but 2 shorter periods during the 4 weeks of only a 3 or 4 days. Listening and monitoring your body is key during this period.

The main goal of the build phase is to develop a sustainable engine that grows over the weeks so your body can work for long periods aerobically (with oxygen). As the weeks progress in the build phase your training load will increase developing your aerobic engine and by the end of this period your endurance will of improved significantly. A short period of downtime will be scheduled at the end of the build phase to allow your body and mind to recover and re set before you move into the next period of training. ‘Load’

Load Fitness

This period starts 4 to 8 weeks out from your main A race and Id recommend a warm up race that’s generally half the distance of your A race 6-8 weeks before it. (so if your A race is and Ironman i’d recommend a 70.3 or middle distance race and only have a small taper for it). This is something we will help you plan and recommend a race that fits your schedule. This load period will consist of more race specific sessions at race intensity or above it to focus and develop that race performance you strive for in your A race. It’s not all race intensity training and will still include some long and short aerobic sessions.

Taper Fitness

The main Taper starts 2 weeks out with the training volume really starting to come down but from 3 weeks out you should notice a difference in your training as the focus really starts to zone in on that fast approaching race day


The day the last 6-12 months have all been about. If the plan has been followed your body and mind will be ready.

Party After

After the dedication you have shown the after party period can last for 2-4 weeks or forever if you never plan to do another one but by now you will probably be addicted to and already planning the next big A race.

If you would like OTCF to help you with all the above please contact us and we can work out your 4 P’s together for that perfect day.

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