12 Weeks to Your First 70.3

How to gradually build from a sprint and Olympic triathlon to a half-Ironman

An Ironman 70.3 or half-Ironman involves a 1900-metre swim, a 90-kilometre bike ride, and a 21.1-kilometre run. This program is designed for someone who has completed some sprint-distance triathlons, and Olympic-distance triathlons and who now wants to take on a half-Ironman. This plan assumes that you can swim 1200 metres with rests, bike two hours comfortably, and run 60 minutes without stopping. You will be training six days a week, sometimes two disciplines in a day. This program will take time and dedication to complete, but people who use a training plan are twice as likely to succeed in completing their goals.

This program is a gradual build—you are not doing full training on day one. You need to train your body so that by the end of this program you can complete each of the half-Ironman disciplines. The half-Ironman will take anywhere from four to eight hours to complete. It is a great stepping-stone to the Ironman if that is a goal for you, like the progression from a half-marathon to a marathon. The half-Ironman is one of my favourite triathlon distances to race. It is just the right distance to test yourself.


You need to really focus on your nutrition in your training so that you know what you must do in the race. Following a well-designed training plan will get you to the start line, but a solid nutrition plan will get you to the finish line. Your body is an engine, and you must keep that engine fueled. My recommendation for nutrition would be:

Swim – take a gel every 20-30 minutes before the swim.

Bike – The bike is where you will take in most of your fuel. It is easier to consume calories on the bike and your body absorbs them best while you are riding. You can take in fuel through sports drinks, powders, solid foods like potatoes or a sandwich, but do this in the middle of your ride. The 60-90-minute rides should be sports drinks and water. You should take in between 250-400 calories per hour.

Run – Take in water, sports drinks, gels, or gummies. Stay away from solid fuel as your heart rate is elevated and your body will have trouble absorbing it.


CD – Cool down 
WU – Warmup
Pull – Use a pull buoy 
R – Rest 
TT – Ride in time-trial (aero) position on your triathlon bike 
HM – Half-marathon

Download PDF of Training Plan Here.

Photography by Platinum Racing

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