Ironman Malaysia 2015 Registration open, event now at different date. Start training now!

by Vinnie Santana – ironguides coach – Bangkok

Ironman Langkawi organizers have just announced registrations are open for the race next year on a new race date, 14th November 2015.

The article below, written by ironguides Head Coach Vinnie Santana, who went down to Langkawi for the 2014 edition. The information will help you structure your training for this event that was once nicknamed the “Toughest show on Earth”. You may also opt to purchase the 20-week training plan designed specifically for the event

The new date, now in November, should result in few Celcius degrees cooler and less chance of rain


It’s not a surprise that Ironman Langkawi was extremely hot and tough, in fact it is probably the hottest race on the ironman circuit with the slowest run splits. The bike course is also very honest and test riders on all fitness fronts. When I want a reference on how fast or slow the course was, I look into the professional athletes splits as they are usually consistent race after race and that gives us an idea on what to expect.

The most notable detail that I picked up from the results is that only ten athletes below the ten hour mark. While under normal conditions we would see more than a hundred athletes breaking ten hours and another ten breaking the nine hour mark.

While in 2014 the race happened during the raining season and I experienced some rain every day that I was on the island, including a little bit on race day, it cools down a little but you can count this race as a very hot one and you should adjust your strategy accordingly. The 2015 edition is in November which will cool down things a little, but you can expect the temperature to be in the mid 30’s Celsius rather than hovering around 40’s like in 2014

ironguides Head Coach Vinnie Santana on the course in Langkawi 2014

The main adjustment when training for a race like this would be to expect a slow run regardless of how fast you can run on a colder race. In your training your run workouts should be focused more and strength and endurance and less on speed or lactate threshold tolerance. The heat will be your main limiter on race day, not your run fitness.

The bike course is very honest and has it all, flats, climbs (both steep and steadier) and will also set you up for the run.

In order to have a strong race in Langkawi, you want to turn up very fit on the bike and be able to back that up with a consistent run. The article below gives you some ideas on how to achieve that.

SWIM (1.85k out, 100m to the left, 1.85k back)

There has been changes to the original course, in 2015 the swim will be at a different venue check full article at the end of this text.

In 2014, the rolling start format offered athletes a lot of space and less body contact with other swimmers. The swim is very straight forward as an out-and-back course, retangle shaped and is well marked with buoys and flags close to each other, making staying in a straight line very easy.

See also:  Sinclair (AUS), Choo (SGP) Fastest Overall Age-Groupers at 2023 Ironman 70.3 Desaru Coast

Unlike other races that with a mass start makes it a very stressful part of the race. The swim at Ironman Malaysia is by far the easiest leg of the race. The course is also marked by flags on your right side on both directions, so if you are a left side brather, make sure you are comfortable with breathking on your right.

Unlike you are a very high performance athlete aiming for a Kona slot or to make the podium, the rolling start don’t really change anything. For the high performance athletes it can make a little confusing as you never know how many minutes the athlete racing right next to you started ahead or after you. So rather than race the athlete, just make your absolutely best .


The rolling start swim changes the strategy of your training and race as there is little strategy involved, its a pure Time Trial at an even pace
The rolling start swim in 2014 changes the strategy of your training and race as there is little strategy involved, as it spreads out the field, it becomes a pure Time Trial at an even pace

BIKE (2 laps of 90km)

Half rolling, Half flat, would be the appropriated description for each lap of the bike course.

The first 15km of each lap is very hilly,  you will be either going slightly up, or slightly down,with two very steep and relatively long hills very early on the lap.

From km15 to 45,  it flattens before you reach the ‘Monkey Zone’ which is rolling hills for 15km, and then again flat for 30km on the way home before you start a second lap.

To train for this bike course, you need to be fit on everything, climbing, endurance and especially learning how to get back to your cruise speed after you reach the top of each hill, this is something most athletes don’t get right and doing it over 180km k’s in a course like Langkawi can save you a lot of time.

The course is partially shaded and also open to (light) traffic, be patient and be safe. Road conditions are mostly decent.

Bike course offers it all: Hills, shade and long flat sections.
Bike course offers it all: Hills, shade and long flat sections.


RUN (4 laps of 10.5km)

The heat in 2014 was just brutal to the point I witness a multiple time ironman champion and former Top 5 in Ironman Kona (World Champs) walking and later DNF’ing. To put things in perspective, the winner, who demolished the field, ran the marathon in 3h05’, while second place, Fredrik Croneborg who ran the whole field down other than the champion, ran a 3h10 and that was the second best run split of the day.

One thing is for sure, you can expect a very slow run split in Malaysia regardless of how fit you are on the run. The run is all about ‘slowing down the least’.

Make sure you also make the most out of every aid station and this is probably the only race on the Ironman circuit that I would suggest the run:walk protocol also to advanced athletes. In other words, get a 1minute walk break every 2km or so which is the distance in between aid stations. Make sure you also do that during your training so you get used to the feeling of getting back into running after a quick walk break.

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For beginners athletes, I suggest a 7:1min protocol, for every 7 minutes that you run (almost 1km) you walk 1min. This will give you an extra 1min walk in between aid stations (then you walk them too, to the full minute!).

Intermediate athletes the run:walk is also must. I suggest not using more than the 10min run:1min then walking the aid stations as a BONUS walk.

Assad Attamimi, 5th place overall and top age grouper reported having walked every aid station to maintain a low core temperature
Assad Attamimi, 5th place overall and first  age grouper reported having walked every aid station to maintain a low core temperature

On the specifics of the course, is all flat, 4 loops of 10.5km with a lot of zig-zagging once you get close to the Langkawi stadium. The aid stations are well served with gels, salt tablets, spray for cramp, water, sports drinks and coke.

Check the new course here

Ironman Langkawi (Malaysia) announces new course


Enjoy your training and have a great race in 2015!


ironguides is the leading Lifestyle Facilitation company for athletes of all abilities. We provide coaching and training services, plans and programs, as well training education, health and fitness products to help you learn and live a healthy lifestyle. Come get fit with one of our monthly training subscriptions, event-specific training plans, coaching services, or a triathlon training camp in an exotic location! ironguides also provides Corporate Health services including Corporate Triathlons, Healthy Living retreats and speaking engagements. At ironguides, your best is our business!

More info at www.ironguides.net


Train for Ironman Langkawi 2015 with the ironguides training plan 



Each training plan provides:

• Detailed descriptions of workouts for each day of your program
• Periodization to ensure you are 100% ready on race day
• Recovery guidelines to ensure you take appropriate rest
• Instructions for plan adaptation
• Access to the ironguides forums for continued support
• Nutrition & diet guidelines for optimal performance
• Strategies for coping with race anxiety

Proven to work in extreme Hot races!

Twelve months ago I decided to do Ironman China with the aim of maybe qualifying for the World Championships in Kona. I purchased the ironguides 20-week Ironman program, and followed it reasonably closely for the 20 weeks leading up to the Ironman. Well, it worked!!  I finished in 9:52 – the 2nd fastest age group time at the race – and I confirmed my spot at the World Championships in Hawaii. Woo hoo!!!– David Bentley, ironguides Athlete, March 2010


Select your level:


Requirements:  500m non-stop/ 90 min Non-stop / 30 min jog  non-stop

Weekly training between 8 & 15h


Requirements:  1.000m  non-stop / 120 min Non-stop / 40 min jog  non-stop

Weekly training between 10 & 17h

Requirements: For experienced athletes targetting the below time in Langkawi:

Sub 11 hours for men (10h30 in moderate climate races)
Sub 12 hours for women (11h30 in moderate climate races)

Weekly training between 12 & 20h

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