Just when you think you're tough enough


Make 2016 the Year of the Half Ironman


IRONMAN 70.3 offers half the distance and double the fun.

Bigger or longer is not always better. For a change this year, consider putting the M-dot on hold and take a crack at a new experience through the IRONMAN 70.3? Why not?

Turn off your calculator, and charge up your “celebrator” with a new focus on feeling the event. Think of it as getting your “RR” (rest and relaxation) through an active experience.

Read on for how to convince yourself and your training partners that this year, it’s the hottest distance around.

1. Need for speed

Racing 140.6 miles is all about pacing, and for most of us, that means taking things slow and keeping the reigns on any anaerobic effort. If you’re used to doing a full IRONMAN, the IRONMAN 70.3 experience will enable you to unleash some of that adrenaline you’ve been trained to temper with patience and discipline.

→ Set a goal: Sign up for an IRONMAN 70.3 and do better than “just finish.”

Work the numbers and determine an ambitious but attainable target time for each leg of the race. 

2. Recharge your multisport mojo

Making an IRONMAN 70.3 race your longest race of the season is a great way to get reacquainted with the aspects of the sport you first fell in love with. Long workouts will still give you the sense of accomplishment that come from endurance training, without eating up your entire weekend.

You’ll feel less pressure to hit the volume IRONMAN training requires, and more willing to spend your time connecting with people, enjoying the scenery and experimenting with your limits.

→  Set a goal: Do something completely different with your training.

Hire a coach, connect with a club, join a spin class, choose new running routes, or make a point to do part of your training with new people every week. 

ironman china 703
Ironman 70.3 China
ironman 703 durban
Ironman 70.3 Durban

3. Race-cation rules

If destination races are appealing to you, IRONMAN 70.3 offers nearly 90 events across the globe. Finishing your race by mid-day with a less-than-smashed body means you’re in for more than just a foil cape and a finisher medal. You’ll have more time with family and friends to celebrate your success off the course, while the sun is still out, restaurants are still serving food. and the bars are still open.

→  Set a goal: Sign up for a race solely because you want to visit the locale—no matter what the course is like, or what kind of weather you might be in for.

4. Your body could use the break

While it might not seem like going from 140.6 to 70.3 miles is much of a variance, your body will interpret IRONMAN 70.3 prep differently than the full shebang. Mentally, you’ll be freed from the stress of long-course training (fitting in workouts, dialing in your nutrition, and trying to stay positive), and physically, decreasing your training hours will minimize a range of issues that can come from overtraining and racing.

“Overall, when you consider all of the stressors an athlete undergoes to train and race at the IRONMAN level, it makes sense that an IRONMAN 70.3 would be easier on the body overall,” explains 15-year IRONMAN veteran, sports chiropractor, and manual therapist Dr. Kyle Worell.

“But it really comes down to longstanding wear and tear on the musculotendinous and soft tissues. Constant training for a full IRONMAN will invite more risk for injury to the body. Doing an IRONMAN 70.3 decreases muscular stress due to the lower training volume. For the regular 140.6 athlete, it can be a nice opportunity to give the body a break without losing the thrill of the long course.”

→  Set a goal: Use the extra time and money that would have gone into an IRONMAN race to supplement your IROMAN 70.3 training with preventive care, such as spending time with a massage therapist, chiropractor, or yoga instructor.