Ironman 70.3 Durban is often a first Ironman middle distance race for many here in South Africa. Since it's inception in 2015 over half the field every year are first timers.

The weather in Durban in winter, the accessibilty from Gauteng, which is the biggest province racing, the flatness of the bike leg and the run leg along the beach front make it an easy choice for those getting into triathlons, Whether a friend convinced you to do it, you just want to do an Ironman or ticking such a event off the bucket list.

For whatever reason, here you are, a first timer, a noob and knowing very little of what is needed to do such an event.

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Things to know and understand before you start

If you are new to any form of physical excersise, then first get the ok from your doctor. This after all is an endurance sport and the training and undertaking the event will put physical and mental strains on your body and mind. If you are use to physical excertion and comming from a cycling or running background then it still might be worth having a chat wth your doctor.

If you are starting from the couch, I would advise you to consider 6 months of training prior to taking on the event. So enjoy your Christmas and focus the start of your training early in January for the race is normally in June. With that mindset, we can proceed.

Cost and Expense

Doing an Ironman event is not cheap!! You will be in for considerable expense, especially if you start with nothing. The very basics you will need to consider as expenses:

* A wetsuit

* A road bike and a proper bike fit

* A Helmet and cycling kit

* Cycling Shoes

* Proper Running shoes and not just some takkies

* Running kit to train in

* A tri-suit

* Entry to the Event

* Transport costs for you and your bike to Durban

* Accommodation for you and your family

* Other expenses, like spares for the bike, Nutrition etc

* Training Plan or Coach??

Training Plan or Coach?

Having committed to doing the event now you need to think about training and how to go about it. Do you...

* Just wing it, do what you think you need to do and just get on with it. Something I would not recommend and is likely to end in failure and a waste of all the expense getting to the start line.

* If funds are tight, then the next best would be to read online articles from triathlon magazines/blogs and download their training plans else buy a training plan from a coach on sites like Trainingpeaks. As a coach and for more information on our online plans contact us. This will at least give you a plan and structured workouts to build fitness and endurance and get you to the start line hopefully fit enough to finish. An option many first timers do.

* The best option is to get a coach, who has the experience and knowlegde of what it takes. Can structure your training to cater for your strengths and weaknesses and be there with you daily throughout the training. Adjusting it for work and lifestyle constraints. Contact me for a no obligation free consultation on being coached.


Consistency is key in any endurance event, especially and Ironman 70.3. So you need to be fully focuses and prepared to put the training in. Consistancy means you will be training 5-6 days a week for up to 6 months. At the start of any plan and in the recovery/adaption weeks which are usually every 4th week, you will be doing 6-8 hrs training. All other times you will be anywhere between 8-14 hours a week, sometimes twice daily during the week with long rides and runs at the weekend. The longer duration weeks will be towards the end of the plan which are the big build weeks prior to the event.

Discuss this with family and loved ones as it can put a strain on relationships and your social life, so you need buy in from the family and those closes to you.

Believe in Yourself

So you have committed to doing the event, have spent the money and your are all in for this endurance event, so believe in yourself, believe in those who give you proper advice whether your coach or friends who have done such events. Without belief you will fail and the training and undertaking the event is a journey of discovery in what you can do and about you. Believe in Yourself!

Race Day

There is a saying "Train hard, Race Easy". If you do all the hard work in the training and follow the training plan then the race will be easy(ier). So don't turn over and go back to sleep on those early morning workouts. Don't stay late at a friends party when there is a big workout the following day. Remember your committment and expense and the reason you are on this journey to do the event. When a workout says go hard, GO HARD!!, when it says go easy, GO EASY!! as the workouts are planned such to benefit optimal effort and recovery as your body and mind will need both to get the best performance. Many first timers will think that the workout is too easy and they work a bit harder, but then the next workout they fail to do properly as they are fatigued. This is where a coach can provide the stimulus and restraints to maximise your time crunched schedule.


Nutrition can be split into 2 parts. Firstly a change in diet required for all the training, protien intake, carbs and recovery drinks. Healthy food that promotes replacement of nutients and sports drinks to replace electrolytes.

Secondly the 4th discpline as it is called in triathlons. NUTRITION on race day. You are undertaking an endurance event that starts very early in the moring in preparation for the event and then spending many hours doing the event. So you will need to consider nutrition in the run up to the event, on race morning, during the event as well as post race recovery. DO NOT leave this to the last minute and try whilst on your long cycles and runs what works best for you so that you can incorporate into your race day nutrition plan.


After all the hard work, strains on family and social life, the juggling on work committments etc. Enjoy what you are doing and especially ENJOY race day. This is what you have been working towards. Feed on the family and friends support and smile like you won the lotto as you run up the red carpet and across the finish line, no matter what pain and suffering you feel. Your journey is at an end and the pictures you get look much better if you are smiling and finishing strong!!

Get in Touch

You have probably read this article as part of your research into what it takes to become an Ironman 70.3. Now is the time to get in touch to discuss if we can help get you to the start line. Crossing the finish line is all of your own doing and for you to savour and enjoy!! We are here to help you.