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Half IronMan Program {HIP}

 Welcome Program Status | What is HIP all about? | The Goal Race | FAQ



Welcome to the DC Triathlon Club's general informational page about the Half Ironman Program (HIP). The DC Tri Club is currently the third largest triathlon club in the nation with over 1200 active members. With such a large membership and with the success of the club's New Triathlete Program, we saw a desire from our members to create programs to help our triathletes conquer the longer distance races. And so in 2010, we created the Half Ironman Program. With feedback from each year's class, we are constantly bettering the program to meet the demands of the participants. 


Half Ironman Program


 Current Status: click HERE to register

Class Size: 30 members

Next Class: begins January 2016


Registered members of HIP 2016, click here to access the HIP-only web page » This page details the training plans, clinics and group workouts. It also has copies of informational handouts, weekly newsletters, and news updates. You will also find our google calendar there, which will help you plan for both the short and long term.

For access to the paid participants HIP-only forum, please click here

After completing your first triathlon, or maybe you have a couple races under your belt, or even a few seasons of racing Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons, you might wonder what the next step in the progression of triathlon could be. A lot of triathletes set their sights on the Half Ironman Triathlon as their foray into triathon evolves. A Half Ironman (or Half Iron-distance) Triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, finished off with a 13.1 mile run.
This program is designed to take a member who has a couple triathlons under his or her belt (minimum of at least one Olympic/International distance triathlon) to the next level up in racing distance: the Half Ironman Triathlon. The program offers three different levels of training accomodating those who are just hoping to cross the finish line to those who are seasoned, competitive athletes. The clinic schedule for the program is based on racing in the club's featured goal race for the year but the training plan can be adjusted to fit alternative Half Ironman races.
The Half Ironman Program will commence in January and conclude in October. While the goal race occurs in July, the training plans can be adjusted to fit the needs of athletes competing in other races. However, the clinic schedule will revolve around this target race and athletes will benefit most from the clinics and group workouts by doing the featured goal race or another race close to this time frame.  The HIP goal race for 2016 is:
  • Selected Goal Race: Rev3 Williamsburg
  • Race date: July 10, 2016
  • Race distance: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
  • Distance from Washington DC: ~ 150 miles / 2.5 hours driving time
Is the training plan personalized to each participant?
No, the training plan is not customizable to each individual athlete. As a club program, this issue has been debated over at length: how best to provide a training program for members trying to attempt an Half Ironman distance race while doing so at an affordable cost. Personalized trainings designed by a coach will cost an athlete from $150 to $500 per month for the duration of the program (5-6 months). This can add up to a fortune and is not affordable to a lot of members. So the club decided to make some concessions to bring the cost of the program down. Working with a coach, three training plans were developed that can accommodate athletes of various backgrounds and various goals.
What are the training plan options?
  • Beginner: An average of 6 workouts per week (2 swim, 3 bike, 2-3 run); participants will have on average one day per week off for rest and recovery. Initially, participants will be required to do an 1:30 hour long ride and a 1 hour long run (like the intermediate plan for ease of training partners). However participants will require less training time throughout the week. You will still require enough volume to complete a Half Ironman. Thus the overall volume of the beginner program will continue to ramp up to assure success and requires commitment on the participant's part.
  • Intermediate: An average of 7 workouts per week (2-3 swim, 3 bike, 2-3 run); participants will typically do one workout per day however they will not have an official day off per week for rest and recovery. The third bike workout will remain optional each week for those participants that chose to take a day off each week. Active recovery days and weeks will be incorporated into the training plan. There will be a scheduled day off during each recovery week. Initially, participants will be required to do an 1:30 hour long ride and a 1 hour long run. The long rides and runs will increase from this point. In comparison to the beginner program, this plan will incorporate an additional run/brick on most weeks throughout the season. Again, this plan will require dedication and commitment from the participant in order to assure HIM success.
  • Advanced: An average of 8-10 workouts per week (2-3 swim, 3 bike, 3-4 run); participants are typically seasoned, competitive athletes that want to improve their overall performance. This training plan will closely correlate with the Intermediate plan (for ease of training partners); however this plan will incorporate an additional bike each week (and possibly an addition run/brick). Group workouts will be held monthly and will coincide with one of the Informational Clinics. Participants will be provided with Google Group access to use for coordinating other group workouts on their own.

Where should I be, training-wise, upon starting the Half Ironman Program?
The Half Ironman Program is NOT a couch-to-Half Ironman training plan. Even with a 20-week program, coming from a "sedentary" base level is not recommended and greatly increases your risk of injury during the ramp up in training. Therefore, we recommend that you have a baseline level of fitness going into the program. Recommended base level before program begins:

  • Minimum/average distances per workout:
    • Swim: 1500 meters
    • Bike: 1.5 hours (approximately 24 miles)
    • Run: 50 minutes (approximately 5 miles)
  • Total time/distances per week:
    • Swim: approximately 3000 meters
    • Bike: 2.5 hours (approximately 40 miles)
    • Run: 1 hour 30 minutes (appoximately 9 miles)
How will the training plan be delivered?
The training plans will be delivered via the website. All participants will be given a 6-month premium athlete account with TrainingPeaks. The club has arranged a significant discount on the accounts so that every participant has full access to all the tools within the website and is able to move workouts around, if desired, and upload their workouts to review and to use the site's analysis tools to really delve into their workouts to look at how their training is proceeding.
Through the TrainingPeaks website, your training plan will be entered into the system and adjusted so that the start date is appropriate for your chosen goal race. However, there will be no further customization or tailoring to the plan. The plan will consist of five months of workouts designed to take an athlete with prior International Distance Triathlon experience and bring him or her to the point where he or she can comfortably complete a Half-Ironman Distance race. The program is also appropriate for athletes who have completed a Half Ironman distance race but would like to improve their results. Participants must have previous triathlon experience (minimum of international distance triathlon) to participate in this program.
  • Important: After you have registered, you will receive a Welcome Email with all details about the program including, how to register for Training Peaks and how to choose your training plan option. If you are signing up for a race different from the featured race, your training plan will not start until 20 weeks out from your chosen race date. Thus, you will not receive a training schedule until your are within this 20 week period. In addition, please allow us several days from DC Tri Club registration and completion of this email for us to process this information and get your appropriate training plan loaded. 

What informational clinics can I expect from the program?
We have identified several areas that we believe are essential to success in a Half Ironman event. The specific clinic topics include:

  • Injury Prevention & Functional Strength Training: The purpose of this clinic is to demonstrate exercises and stretches to help participants avoid injury and improve performance. We will focus on core/abdominal strength, shoulder strength and flexibility, hip flexibility, quadriceps, glutes, balance and other key areas for triathletes.
  • Bike Handling and Maintenance Review: While we do not anticipate anyone having significant bike fit or handling issues at this experience level, the challenge of riding 56 miles in an aero-position is significantly different than riding 40K in that position. We will do a brief review of strategies to avoid potential injury and unnecessary energy exertion. Additionally, we will review basic group riding etiquette and bike handling techniques as well as review basic bike maintenance.
  • Half-Ironman Nutrition: One of the biggest challenges to successfully making the transition from an International Distance race to a Half-Ironman is taking in the right amount of nutrition at the right time. While the primary means of learning what works occurs during training itself, we believe that a clinic to review the basics and provide suggestions will help everyone to accelerate their learning process.
  • Transition Practice: While each participant is an experienced triathlete, it is always useful to rehearse efficient strategies. This clinic will allow participants to refine his or her transition skills and we will provide tips and answer questions as necessary.
  • Swim Clinic: The swim clinic will help participants work on their swim-stroke technique and drills. Participants will receive feedback from a brief swim-stroke analysis. 
  • Open Water Swim Strategy: The open water clinic will provide participants with an opportunity to practice open water swimming. Additionally, participants will learn strategies for mass starts, turning, drafting and efficiency during racing.  
  • Run Form Clinic: Running off of the bike provides different challenges for the half ironman race distance. Running form and efficiency play a key role in a participant’s success. This clinic will address the most often ‘denied’ area of the triathlon competition.

What kind of interaction will I have with the coach, Co-Leaders, and fellow participants?

  • Half Ironman Program website: You will have access to a dedicated, restricted part of the DC Triathlon Club website forum to facilitate communication between the coach, coordinators and the participants the forum will also enable you to connect with your fellow Half Ironman Training Program participants to schedule workouts. Future communication will be established on this forum rather than your individual e-mail addresses.
  • Electronic support: The coach will be available to participants by email to answer specific questions and respond to individual concerns that cannot be addressed via Google group.

What is the cost of the program?
The program cost is $350 per participant (early bird price is $300). Participants must be active members of the DC Triathlon Club. The maximum number of participants will be set at 50. Please make sure that if you sign up for this program, you are at least 20 weeks out from your chosen race. This will give you the benefit of the full program as well as involvement in all of the informational clinics. (Race registration fees are NOT included in the cost of this program.)

Please tell me about the coach!
We would like to introduce you to your coach: Alyssa (AJ) Morrison. As a schooled occupational therapist, AJ has been helping people improve their fitness for years. AJ is the founder and head coach of Multisport In Motion - AJ is also a certified USAT Level II triathlon coach, USAT youth and junior triathlon coach, US Level 3 Cycling Coach and personal trainer. Building on the experience as a collegiate athlete in track and field, AJ is a seasoned triathlete. She was named to DC Triathlon Club's Elite Team in 2010 and 2011, as well as the DC Tri Snapple Elite Team in 2012. She qualified for the 2009 and 2010 USAT Long Course National Championships, as well as the 2010 Ironman World Championships 70.3. In addition, AJ represented Team USA at the 2010 ITU Short-Course Dualthon World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland. AJ was named USAT Honorable Mention All-American for triathlon in 2010 and 2011. 

As the coach of DC Triathlon Club’s Half Ironman Program, AJ looks forward to sharing her knowledge and inspiring others in the DC Triathlon Club.

If you have any additional questions, please email the Director of Programs