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Fitness Tips: Training for an Ironman Triathlon

Ironman trainer Kevin Mackinnon gives Men's Fitness his expert advice on how to score a decent race time in the world's toughest triathlon.


Sure, Michael Phelps would excel in the swim, Lance Armstrong would breeze through the bike, and Mo Farah would mow through the marathon. What makes an elite triathlete, however, is his ability to master all three phases of the race. “As a coach, it’s important to get people to work on their weaknesses,” says Mackinnon. The best pros are phenomenal in everything; you need to have that balance.” 

While the majority of your training will be dedicated to biking, since that is the longest part of the race from a distance standpoint, Mackinnon recommends doing three workouts for each Ironman stage (biking, running, swimming) per week.

“When you look at the breakdown of time spent in the race, you want to invest a lot of training in the bike and run,” says Mackinnon. “Still, you can’t neglect the swim. It sets up the rest of your race.” Mackinnon says the best pros finish their swim in just under an hour, giving them a huge advantage the rest of the way.



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