If your fitness has been dormant for quite awhile, it’s good to give yourself about 12 weeks to get in shape and minimize the chances of injury. In 12 weeks you can condition tendons, ligaments and your endurance so that you can enjoy the race. If you can commit to training five days per week—two and a half to four hours per week—that’s plenty of time to get in shape.

Yes, that’s right, no more than around four hours in the biggest training week.

Weekday workouts need only be 30 to 45 minutes and weekends can be used to build your endurance. Your longest workout, a bike ride, only needs to be between one and a half to two hours.

Out of the five weekly workouts, make two of them swim workouts. If you need help building your swimming endurance, take a look at the column I wrote containing a 12-week swimming plan.

Make two more of the workouts run-to-bike combination workouts to build endurance and minimize injury risk.

  • Combo Workout #1: (Run 1 minute, Walk 1 minute) x 5, then ride a bike for 30 minutes at an easy, conversational intensity. (Zone 1 to 2for those with a heart rate monitor.) You can even do this workout at the gym.
  • Combo Workout #2: (Run 1 minute, Walk 1 minute) x 7 or 8, then bike ride 30 minutes at an easy, conversational intensity.