Ironman April

in Ironman March

Each year, I host a workout program called “Ironman March.” The aim is to get in triathlon shape for the upcoming spring and summer triathlon season and have fun doing it. The program’s goal is to do an Ironman distance over the course of a month. 

ironman april

I totally dropped the ball on organizing Ironman March this year… So in 2015, we’re going to call it Ironman April.  April only has 30 days, not 31, so we better hustle!


How far, exactly, is an Ironman triathlon?


A 2.4 mile swim

A 112 mile bike

A 26.2 mile run


This breaks down to swimming approximately 872 meters/954 yards, biking 25.3 miles, and running 6 miles per full week.  It is a really great and fun way to get your body used to training for three sports. And it’s totally do-able for even a newbie triathlete! 


Here’s the official Ironman April training plan (click right here to view the printable PDF):


And, as always, here are the “rules:”


  1. This is a ‘blank training plan.’ That means that while each week includes 4 days of blanks for each sport, that doesn’t mean that you have to do 4 days of running, biking, and swimming each week.  You can take as many – or as few – days to complete the total for each sport.
  2. For example, let’s say that work out four days during the first week of April.  One workout is a 500 yard swim, the second is a long 30 mile bike ride, the third is a 6 mile run, and the last is another 500 yard swim. You’d fill out Day 1 and Day 2 on the swim line (“500 yards” and “500 yards), Day 1 on the bike line (“30 miles”), and Day 1 on the run line (“6 miles”).  You will have completed – nay, exceeded! – your weekly goal distances.  Make sense?
  3. Two years ago, we decided that it takes two hour-long spin classes to ‘add up’ to the 25.3 miles. This is just a guess and definitely not scientific at all!  If you do one class, go ahead and call it 13 miles.
  4. When added up, the weekly goals in the training chart may slightly exceed Ironman totals.
  5. Most “short course” lap pools are 25 yards in length. “Long course” pools are 50 yards in length.  25 yards = 22 meters.
  6. You can finish the ‘Ironman’ faster, if you want!  Don’t feel constrained by the weekly goals – they are just the average numbers necessary to stay on track.  For example, if you run 15 miles per week, you’ll be done with the run component before the second week is over.  Also, if you don’t swim at all one week, you can definitely make it up the next week.  The point is to do the Ironman over the entire month, no matter how you get there.

ironman april quote

I hope you will download the training plan and join me on this fun challenge! And, as I did last year, we’ll be doing PRIZES.  Send me a photo of your completed training plan at the end of April, and you’ll be entered to win a fun prize <— prize TBD.


And, if you’re new to the triathlon sport, check out my awesome series for beginners:  So You Wanna Do a Triathlon.

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  • Erica { } March 26, 2015, 8:02 am

    I really need to get on this ‘learn how to swim’ thing.

  • Katie March 26, 2015, 8:20 am

    Yay!!!!!! My time hop is filled with my workouts from last year, and I’ve been completely neglecting triathlon workouts, so I need this kick in the pants!

  • Susie B March 26, 2015, 9:15 am

    This looks so fun! Except when I do a 50 minute spin class I usually log 18-19 miles and definitely over 20 in an hour. Did you choose 13 miles because a stationary bike doesn’t really stimulate real biking? Thanks!

    • Caitlin March 26, 2015, 9:24 am

      I can’t remember exactly our logic for choosing 13 miles but that was kind of just the conclusion I/readers came to the first time we did it. But if you have a tracker took and know you do more, log it as it is!

    • Jill March 26, 2015, 3:21 pm

      Just curious, are you a “real” cyclist? 19 miles in 50 minutes is an average of 22.8 miles per hour. Can you do this on the road? It’s really fast. As an OK cyclist I can average 18 miles per hour, maybe 20, but that’s really hard to sustain for long. On a long bike ride I would generally average 16 miles per hour. Caitlin’s 13 miles in 50 minutes is 15.6 miles per hour average, which is a very realistic road speed for an average cyclist. My fast guy friends can do 23 miles per hour on the road, but even they will be working very hard to do that.

  • kristin | W [H] A T C H March 26, 2015, 9:42 am

    i love this idea. bring on tri season!

  • Brittany Fry March 26, 2015, 10:01 am

    OMG this sounds like a lot of fun! I think I am going to give it a try. I have been wanting to get back in the pool and this would be the perfect way to make myself do it!!!

  • Anna March 26, 2015, 10:33 am

    I am actually training for a half Ironman in June and a full Ironman in October so I am excited for Ironman April to see how many Ironmans I can in one month. My training is starting to kick up now so it will be fun to see how I do this month!!

  • Hilary March 26, 2015, 11:36 am

    When I didn’t see it in March I was sad so I’m really glad it’s back!

  • Angie March 26, 2015, 12:08 pm

    Yay! Just what I need. I am swimming many miles per week (getting ready for the 4.4 mile Chesapeake Bay Swim – yikes!), but since I now have my doctor’s clearance to run after knee surgery in December I need to get at it! Tri season will be here before we know it!

  • Jill March 26, 2015, 3:23 pm

    I will participate! I signed up for a sprint triathlon May 31. I have a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old, so training is a little challenging 🙂 I haven’t even gotten on the bike, yet, so hopefully this will give me some motivation!

  • Kelly March 27, 2015, 8:52 am

    So excited for this Caitlin! My boyfriend and I came up with a whole points system and are going to challenge each other 🙂 Winner buys dinner!

  • Joy March 28, 2015, 7:42 pm

    I am so excited! I’m going to join you this year

  • Kellie April 8, 2015, 12:47 pm

    My husband and I are both participating in the Ironman April challenge this month! He has completed a half ironman in the past, and is hoping this will help get him in tri-shape for the summer. I just made it to my second trimester of my first pregnancy, and I am using this as a motivation to stay active! We both successfully completed the first week’s goals, and are excited to keep the momentum going!

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