half ironman triathlon


The half ironman triathlon is normally the last stop for many triathletes before taking a run at an Ironman Triathlon.

So perhaps you have heard of the Ironman and the half ironman triathlon, but really have no idea about the distances involved.


The distance of the half ironman swim is 1.2 miles, or exactly half of the 2.4 miles of the Ironman Triathlon.

half ironman triathlon

The open water swim of the Half Ironman will be new to many

Almost always a triathlon swim of this distance will be in the open water as opposed to a pool. Once you get past the Olympic Distance it’s much easier for organizers to co-ordinate.

It’s pretty important to be a relatively good swimmer with confidence enough to handle being out in the open water.

It is far, far different than the pool swim of a Try A Tri Triathlon the Sprint Triathlon, or the Olympic Distance Triathlon and often it is a big step for many people to make in the sport who are new to swimming in general.


Assuming that you are a fairly competent swimmer at this stage, to prepare for a half ironman triathlon a bit more endurance and stamina will be needed.

So if you have worked your way up from the shorter triathlon distances all you really have to do is to add more distance to at least one of your weekly swim sessions.

For instance if the furthest you would usually swim in training for the Olympic Distance Triathlon was 1500 meters or so, it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate more 2000-2500m swims in your triathlon swim training.

More emphasis should also be placed on learning to sight ahead as you search for course markers in the open water. I learned how to do the head-up front crawl that lifeguards use in order to see what’s ahead.

In the actual race swim, you just have to do 3 or 4 stroke of the head-up crawl every once in a while just to get your bearings out on the course.


The half ironman triathlon distance you will have to cover is 56 miles (80k) in this event. It is quite a step up from the Olympic Distance bike of 40k and requires like the swim, requires more endurance and stamina.

You don’t have to go crazy on biking long distances when you are getting ready for the half-ironman triathlon, but it wouldn’t hurt to do a 100k bike at some point in your triathlon bike training just so you will have an idea how it feels to be on the bike for that long.

half ironman triathlon    -triathlon bike

An important consideration once you start getting to these longer distances is to add more transition training to your training program. As you bike further and further, it becomes a little more difficult to make the transition into the run.

It would also be a good opportunity to include a short run right after that long ride just to get a little more used to the transition and how it will feel on race day. You don’t have to run a long way.

Four or five kilometers will more than enough for you to experience the transition effect and how your legs gradually adapt to running after a long ride.


The half ironman run distance will be 13.1 miles (21k) and is also quite a step up from the 10k run of the Olympic Triathlon.

Again, you do not have to go out and run 20k day after day, but you should increase the distance of your longest weekly run gradually until you get up to the 13 mile distance and feel confident that you can handle it.

half ironman triathlon

Every week make one of your runs longer, but it does not necessarily have to be a 13.1 mile run. Once you know you can handle the distance your goal is mainly to maintain that level of fitness. Every once in a while(maybe once a month) run the race distance just reaffirm in your mind that you can handle it.

If you have ever been in a half-marathon or done any Half Marathon Training, then you are pretty well there.

With proper planning the half ironman triathlon is very doable if you have at least intermediate swimming and biking skills.


Visit Ironman.com for ironman race information.

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