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N=1: I did my first half at Singapore last month on a little bit of run base (20-25 mpw for a few months but no running in the 8 weeks prior to the race due to an injury), about 3 weeks of bike training at 6-7 hours a week, and maybe 10k yards of swimming on a good week. I was definitely not racing, but I completed it faster than I projected that I would due to a flat bike course.
15hrs per week of training during the last 4-6 hard weeks before my taper.
I got back in the pool after a couple of years off in late July.
I'd been running in March-May, then started running again in late July.
I did a local "Splash'n'Dash" in late July.
Then another in early August.
That was my build-up for a local sprint tri in late August (good time + a podium). I think it was just after that I decided to sign up and start training for Austin. It wasn't totally out of the blue - I'd been thinking about a 70.3 since early that year.
So how long did I train for the 70.3? About 9 weeks. Only the last 5 weeks did I actually follow a plan (which I wrote on the back of an envelope. Really!) My weekly training hours peaked at about 10. The only reason it happened without problems is that I had a pretty good cycling base.
That plan isn't recommended. My swim was fun, but not super fast. My bike leg would've been fine, but I had to stop twice with a flat. The run started well but the lack of adequate running base, combined with the >90 temps left me melting down in the middle of the run. I pulled it back together, but it was a lesson in doing the training and having a good hydration/nutrition plan. I got a decent MOP finish out of that.
My 70.3 this year is Boulder and I intend to crush it. Boulder is 6 weeks before Ironman Wales, and I am about to start week 4 of my plan for that. However, I'm in week 10 of this year's training. So it'll be about a 24 week lead up to Boulder 70.3, combined with a better fitness level at the end of last season. That's probably how I should've trained for my first 70.3, but you don't need months, it just helps.
Like aftereffector said,
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For me, this summer will be my second season of Sprint distance races. Plan to do 1 or 2 Olympic distance events this year, but I wouldn't dream of attempting a 70.3 at this point. However, I only train 5-8hrs per week, so for me the issue is getting the appropriate training volume. I think in seeking an answer to your question you should ask / consider not only the time to prepare (in weeks/months) but also the volume of training that is needed during that period
Before that I played racquetball and was generally a slug. I played no organized sports after 4th grade swim team and 5th grade AYSO soccer.
Swim - Bike - Run the rest is just clothing changes.
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I was not very well prepared but survived ok since I had been running plenty.
second one, 7 weeks. Had a big block of training for some olympics before that, then car crash, and I was out of commision for 3 weeks. Then 7 week build for savageman, went really well. Would have liked another 4 weeks to get in run shape. Getting in run shape takes me a long time!
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That's right. I was signed up for a relay as the swimmer. My team totally crapped out on me on Monday night. I had never run more than 3 miles in my life and that was several months prior. At that time I was a weekend charity bike rider, i.e. slow and fat. I knew I could complete the swim and the bike without any problems. The run was another story. I wore a heart rater monitor and set it to go off at 148 bpm. If it beeped at me I walked until it was below 140 and then started running again. I finished in 7:15 and change. It was slow but I was hooked.
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For my first half (in September) I started training about 7 months before hand. But, this training was normal tri training, getting ready for the season.
My first race (sprint) was in May, Second (Sprint) in June, Third (Sprint) in July, Fourth (Olympic) in August, and Half in September.
All were about a month apart. After the seconding sprint, it was really time to get the training miles in for the half. All of my distances increased.
I did pretty well for my first half 5:57 (the bike was 3.5 miles long) and my biggest problem with the race was I ate poorly on the bike.
In my second transition I downed nearly a 1000 calories of GU to get some stuff in my system.
I hope this helps.
I ended up doing another sprint the following weekend and did quite well in that one too.