Ironman Swim Training Plan

Training for a Sub 60 Minute Ironman Swim


Ironman Swim Training Plan

In December 2019; in a world that was a very different place than it is today, I decided to enter an Ironman competition as my first foray into the world of long distance triathlons. A couple of years prior to this I got into Triathlons and along with this my fire for swimming at speed versus just for experiencing the outdoors was reignited.  This brought a much needed structure to my life and the enjoyable sensation of progress. Digging into the world of data that is now available to us through smart watches is one of my favourite past times with regard to average pace, distance, SWOLF etc etc. 

Of course in the two years that have passed since signing up the world was turned upside down leading to the cancellation of both of the years’ events. I am however confident that the 2022 edition will go ahead giving me 7 months to train before the race day on the 10th July.

 I have decided to lay down my target; here in the public realm, for the swim time that I am aiming for together with updates on my training and my progress (hopefully) . I am also hoping that maybe a couple of people will enjoy coming along for the ride with me! 

Triathlon Training London Fields Lido

What is my target swim time for the Ironman?

By stating my target I hope it will provide me with even more motivation, keeping me accountable, and giving me something to look back on in the years to come. As the title plainly states a sub 60 minute swim time is my ultimate goal. Of course this won’t count for anything should I not finish the rest of the race.


How Many Training Sessions a Week do you need For an Ironman Swim?

The swim will obviously be my strongest leg of the event considering that this discipline dominates my life. Also my running form is currently a little like this:



I am planning 3 pool based sessions a week, gradually increasing distance and intensity, then moving one of those to open water as the race date gets closer. Although pool based swimming is not exactly “Wild” I am lucky enough to have London Fields Lido on my doorstep. This is a slightly heated 50m outdoor pool and is the perfect mix between being warm enough to put in some serious long distance training through the winter whilst still being exposed to the elements.

My cameral roll is full of both ‘Shepherd’s Delights’ and ‘Shepherd's Warnings and it is there that I feel I open up the various possibilities for when I do get to swim in nature. By putting in laps will mean that I have the confidence, endurance and strength to go on to achieve some truly epic swims.

London Fields Lido

How long is an Ironman Swim and what pace do you need to swim to finish in under one hour?

For those of you that do not already know an Ironman Swim is 3.8km/2.4miles long preceding a 180km/112mile cycle and a 42.2km/26.2mile run. To hit a swim time of under an hour I will need to be swimming at an average pace of 1.34mins per 100m. That pace however cannot be my top end pace but rather needs to be my cruising pace. At present I would estimate that I am achieving  in the realm of about 1:45mins over that sort of distance so I still have plenty of work to do.

The reason the order its what it is in a triathlon is it goes in order of potential dangers.  The swim is obviously the discipline with the most possible dangers, followed by a high speed bike and then the run ( although I would say that running has the highest likelihood of longer term overuse injuries: I know from experience). 

Another random fact that I just remembered I read somewhere online; which may or may not be true, about the length of a marathon was that prior to the 1908 Olympics the distance would fluctuate. However in 1908 when the marathon was to start at Windsor Castle and end at the royal box in the stadium adding 0.2 of a mile and this distance has stuck ever since.

So this is the beginning of my monthly swim training blog about my quest to complete an Ironman swim in under an hour. You can follow my progress on Strava here or on my personal instagram here where I use stories to share my training.  



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