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Ironman Training Program {IMP}


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



Welcome to the DC Triathlon Club's general informational page about the Ironman Training Program (IMP). 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 2011, we created the Ironman Training Program. With feedback from each year's class, we are constantly bettering the program to meet the demands of the participants. 


Ironman Training Program


 Current Status: click HERE to register

Class Size: 30 members

Next Class: begins January 2016


Registered members of the IMP, please click here to access the IMP-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 IMP-only forum, please click here.


Do you have a desire to go long? Are you planning to tackle an Ironman distance race this year? Whether you will be a first time Ironman competitor or are already a veteran of the 140.6 distance looking to improve your time, the DC Triathlon Club's Ironman Training Program will prepare you to complete your race. This 24-week training plan includes a series of advance technique clinics that includes swim stroke analysis, advanced cycling techniques, run stride analysis and nutrition planning for endurance events. Additionally, we will offer clinics covering the various topics that are necessary to successfully prepare for an iron distance triathlon. Two rounds of clinics will be conducted throughout the season.


The Ironman Program will commence in January and conclude in October. While the goal race occurs in September, 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 IMP goal race for 2016 is:


  • Selected Goal Race: Ironman Chattanooga

  • Race date: September 25, 2016

  • Race distance: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run

  • Distance from Washington DC: ~ 600 miles / 9 hour drive


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 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, two training plans were developed that can accommodate athletes of various backgrounds and various goals.

What are the training plan options?

  • Standard: An average of 8-9 workouts a week (2-3 swim, 3 bike, 2-3 run); time commitment ranges from 8 hours (recovery weeks) – 17 hours (peak week); participants will typically do one to two workouts per day. Participants will not have an official day off per week for rest and recovery except during recovery weeks. However the third swim workout will remain optional each week (highly recommended however) for those participants that choose 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 a 2000 yard swim, a 2:00 hour long ride and a 1 hour long run. The long rides and runs will increase from this point.  This plan will require dedication and commitment from the participant in order to assure IM success.

  • Advanced: An average of 9-10 workouts a week (2-3 swim, 3 bike, 3-4 run); time commitment ranges from 8 hours (recovery weeks) – 19 hours (peak week); participants are typically seasoned, competitive athletes that want to improve their overall performance.  This training plan will closely correlate with the Standard plan (for ease of training partners); however this plan will incorporate an additional swim and run each week (and a longer weekend run/brick).

Each week’s plan incorporates specific swimming, cycling, and running workouts appropriate for that phase of the overall training plan. The program relies on heart rate zone based training. Group workouts will be held periodically and will sometimes coincide with the clinic schedule or be on their own. Generally speaking, training is left to the participant to work into their weekly schedule. To aid in this, participants will be provided with a forum to use for coordinating group workouts on their own.

Where should I be, training-wise, upon starting the Ironman Program?
The Ironman Training Program is NOT a couch-to-Ironman training plan. Even with a 24-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 baseline level of fitness going into the program. Recommended base level before program begins:

  • Minimum/average distances per workout:

    • Swim: 2000 meters
    • Bike: 2 hours (approximately 32 miles)
    • Run: 1 hour (approximately 6 miles)
  • Total time/distances per week:

    • Swim: approximately 4000 meters
    • Bike: 3 hours (approximately 48 miles)
    • Run: 1 hour 45 minutes (appoximately 11 miles)
Should I do a Half Ironman midway through the training plan? 
YES! We highly recommend that you participate in a Half Ironman distance race during the Ironman Training Program. The recommended timeframe for this is about 6-10 weeks prior to the goal Ironman race. To encourage you to do a Half IM race, the training plan will be adjusted by the coach to accomodate a race of your choice. If you opt to do a Half Ironman race during the program, you MUST declare which one before the training plan begins in reply to the Welcome Email that you will receive upon registration into the program. Keep in mind, that if you opt to include a Half Ironman race, the training plan will be adjusted to add a couple extra weeks of training (potentially 25/26 week training plan over the standard 24 week).
The club featured goal race is sold out, can I still do the program?
Absolutely! (more answer to come....)
How will the training plan be delivered?
The training plans will be delivered via the website, to which all participants will have access. The coach will enter the training plan into the system and can adjust the start date to coincide with the chosen goal race. Participants will be able to access the system to review and record their workouts. The plan will consist of six months of workouts designed to take an athlete with prior triathlon experience and bring him or her to the point where he or she can comfortably complete a full Ironman distance race. The program is also appropriate for athletes who have completed an Ironman distance race but would like to improve their results. Participants must have previous Half Ironman triathlon experience to participate in this program. 
  • Important: After you register, you will receive a Welcome Email and an Athlete Guide with all details about the program including: how to register for Training Peaks, how to choose your training plan and how to subscribe to the Ironman Training Program forum. Please allow several days between registration on the DC Tri website until you receive the Welcome Email and uploading of your respective training plan.

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.

  • Ironman Nutrition: One of the biggest challenges to successfully making the transition from an Half-Ironman Distance race to a full 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?

  • Ironman Training 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 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 $450 per participant (early bird price is $400). Participants must be active members of the DC Triathlon Club. The maximum number of participants will be set at 50. Registration for the Ironman Program is on a rolling basis -- to ensure that there is adequate time to follow the 24-week training plan and prepare for the goal race, participants should register at least 24 weeks before the goal 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 for the club.