THE RUN

220 Triathlon Magazine - - EXPERT TIPS -

DON’T SKIP THE LONG RUN

One of the key ses­sions for Ironman is the long run, and one of my favourites is this 30km set. Warm-up 3km easy Main ses­sion 3 x 7km at 5-10secs faster than de­sired Ironman pace, which for me is around 3:40mins per kilo­me­tre pace. Jog 2km be­tween each ef­fort. Cool-down 2km easy. The pace shouldn’t feel scorch­ingly fast, but it’s all about build­ing an aer­o­bic base and con­di­tion­ing the body to give it the best chance of turn­ing the legs over quickly enough dur­ing the lat­ter part of the Ironman marathon.

PREP FOR TIRED LEGS

Do­ing an Ironman-spe­cific brick ses­sion is also a great idea. Ide­ally af­ter your long bike of the week, or at least af­ter a hard bike ses­sion. Aim to run 10-15km af­ter the bike at Ironman goal pace. It’s also a chance to test your race nu­tri­tion and be­come ac­cus­tomed to the feel­ing of your race pace on tired legs.

PAC­ING IS KEY ON RACE DAY

Pac­ing is crit­i­cal to Ironman suc­cess and lim­it­ing your suf­fer­ing. Over the first 5km, just slip into an easy rhythm and take stock of your nu­tri­tion strat­egy. Have you over/ un­der fu­elled on the bike? What are your plans for the up­com­ing aid sta­tions? Once you shake off the ini­tial stiff­ness from the bike, it should feel easy at this point, so don’t get too ex­cited, too early. It takes con­fi­dence to hold back, but if you pace prop­erly, you’ll pass a lot more peo­ple over the fi­nal 5-10km than you will in the first 5-10km. And pass­ing peo­ple late in the race is great for mo­ti­va­tion.

AC­TI­VATE THE MUS­CLES

I still do run drills twice a week, but many step­ping up to long-dis­tance rac­ing for­get mus­cle ac­ti­va­tion work. One of my favourites is a walk­ing high knee lift. The key here is to make sure that you en­gage your glutes not your lower back – a way to en­sure that your glutes are fir­ing is by sim­ply lift­ing your arms above your head. Even if you can im­prove your run tech­nique by just 1% it makes a big dif­fer­ence over 42.2km.

“Even im­prov­ing your run tech­nique by just 1% will make a dif­fer­ence over an iron marathon”

IN­VEST IN YOUR A-RACE

Build­ing my sea­son to­wards one big race – i.e. Kona – could add pres­sure, know­ing that I’ve made a con­scious choice for it to de­fine my year. But there’s an­other way to look at it. Fo­cus­ing on a key ‘A’-race al­lows you more time to pre­pare and in­vest in your training, ready for that one big day. It’s like pay­ing into a sav­ings ac­count. When it comes to mak­ing that with­drawal on race day, it should come with added in­ter­est.

NERVES ARE GOOD

The pre-race nerves be­fore an Ironman are al­most un­avoid­able. In fact, if you didn’t have them, it’d prob­a­bly be time to call it quits. See­ing any ner­vous­ness as a pos­i­tive to get the adren­a­line pump­ing is the way I look at it. All the work in training has al­ready been done, so although bad luck might hap­pen - af­ter all, it is a long day - be­ing wor­ried about it isn’t go­ing to change any­thing.

AC­CEPT THE IRON CHAL­LENGE

One of the best mantras for Ironman rac­ing is that of ac­cep­tance. Ac­cept that any race in­volv­ing a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and a 42.2km marathon run is go­ing to be a long day and that you will go through bad patches both men­tally and phys­i­cally. But you also need to un­der­stand and be­lieve that you’ll re­cover from any lows and make it to the fin­ish line of one of the world’s true en­durance chal­lenges.

IRON MO­TI­VA­TION

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