1 Key to a Better Ironman Run
The big news out of the 2017 Kona Ironman World Championship was how male elite champion Patrick Lange of Germany ran through the field and win the title in a record breaking time of 8:01:40. Lange came out of T2 10 minutes and 23 seconds off the lead and at 11th place. When Lange was done, his race-best 2:39:59 marathon split gave him his first Kona title.
For the age grouper, whatever the goal is, gunning for a podium spot, hoping to break a personal record, or simply dreaming of a decent run split, the marathon after a 180km bike is where those dreams live or perish. Here is one key to a better ironman run:
GET STRONG ON THE BIKE
You can log all the miles you want on running to improve that marathon split, but you will never put on a decent time if you don’t get your miles done on the saddle. Getting strong on the bike means you can ride at your goal pace for 180 kilometers, and still have the legs to run a marathon. The long endurance ride and run off is a staple in ironman training and the one that eat most of your training time. It is important not to just pedal away just to reach the desired mileage or hours on the saddle. Train smart by incorporating this workout from ironguides:
Here is one cornerstone long brick workout from our ironman training plans: (weeks 10-14 Learning to Endure Phase). Do this workout if you have built your endurance riding up to 4 hours of riding.
Long Bike, building to include hard effort:
- Start easy, build to moderate and continue to build the effort so that the final hour is HARD.
- Finish stronger than you start!!!
- Optionally, you can add distance to the easy and moderate portions of the ride.
- 270-360 minutes with final 60 minutes Hard
Execution Notes: Use each and every one of these sessions to rehearse your Ironman Race. Practice using the same fuel and drink, equipment (other than race wheels) and eating and drinking schedule.
Run off the Bike:
- 40min as: 30min of (30sec Fast / 30sec Easy) 10min easy c/d
Execution Notes: Starting to mix in “pure” race simulation with a race effort run after the longer bike. Focus on keeping your stride rate high over 96 (step per leg) and really work the fast efforts. Use the easy recovery to prepare for the next fast effort.
Prior to this phase, heavy gear pedaling on the bike and high-cadence running are often prescribed in the weekday workouts. Heavy gear pedaling (around 70 cadence at heavy gear) recruits more muscle fibers and when done consistently, will make you stronger leading to your long endurance rides. Running at high stride rates meanwhile will recruit the motor skills required to improve your run efficiency.
On raceday, if you followed your steady goal pace at the bike, it is normal to feel tightness and wobbly legs when starting the marathon run. Keep in mind the high-cadence training runs and just start with shorter strides and you will feel your legs open up. Resist the temptation to race others and stick to your goal pace, especially early on the run.
While there are numerous factors that would play on your ironman marathon time, this workout gives you a good foundation to accomplish a better ironman marathon performance.
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