This plan is a good fit if you want to prepare for an Ironman on a time-efficient schedule of 9 workouts per week, but you’re prepared to handle 9 fairly challenging workouts.
The Level 3 training plan features relatively short workouts during the week and all of the long ones crammed into the weekends. In the odd-numbered weeks you’ll do 3 swims, 3 rides, and 3 runs. In weeks 2, 6, and so forth, you will do a brick workout instead of a ride on Saturday, which effectively adds a fourth run to your schedule. In weeks 4, 8, and so forth, you will do a brick workout on Sunday instead of a run, which effectively adds a fourth ride to the schedule.
The plan is 24 weeks long, which is the optimal amount of specific preparation time for an Ironman. Each phase – base, build, and peak – is 8 weeks long. Every fourth week is a recovery week and the final 2 weeks constitute a tapering period. There are three optional tune-up races scheduled: a sprint in Week 12, and Olympic distance event in Week 16, and a half Ironman in Week 20.
The Level 3 plan begins with 4,900 yard of swimming, 3 hours and 30 minutes of cycling, and 2 hours and 11 minutes of running in Week 1. It peaks with 9,600 yards of swimming, 10 hours and 20 minutes of cycling, and 2 hours and 54 minutes of running in Week 22. (Note that, including the brick workout, this is a week with 4 rides and 3 runs, so the total cycling time is higher and the running time lower than in weeks 21 and 23.)