Monday, February 1, 2016

Our Favorite Workouts: Ironman-Specific Running

by Marilyn Chychota

During their ironman training most athletes include long runs and short fast runs. Some athletes have time to add in a bit of hill work too. Something that’s missing from a lot of programs is the medium-long run that includes ironman-specific pace work.

The key to this run is that the effort needs to be your exact ironman effort. If you do this run too fast, you’re really doing a different session that will likely have a negative effect.


The Workout
Pick a flat route. The first time you do this it’s okay to use a treadmilll, but your goal should be to do it on the road.

Total time is 60-90 minutes

  1. Warm up with 20 minutes easy
  2. The main set is 20-60 minutes worth of work, completed as follows:
    • 8 minutes at goal ironman pace (for example, for a 2:48 marathon goal you'd want to hold 4 min/km pace)
    • 15 seconds very easy jog
  3. Repeat 8 min at pace / 15 seconds easy for the total main set duration
  4. Jog 10 minutes easy to finish up

There is a lot of high quality work over the duration of the run. During the initial 10-20 minutes you may feel this is too easy, but as the session goes and you cumulative fatigue builds, you’ll find that it gets pretty tough.

Remember, what you do in training is what you'll have on race day. This is a great session to determine if your goal ironman race pace is something you can execute successfully. You’ll break down dramatically in the final 10 minuets if you chose a pace that was too fast.


Marilyn Chychota McDonald has been in elite sport since the age of 9, from show jumping to cycling and triathlon. Competing on an international stage in all three sports with an Ironman title, several podiums and state championships in cycling, Marilyn works with all distance and level of triathletes and cyclists. From beginners to elites; short course, bike racing, stage racing and long course triathlon, she has guided several athletes to the podium and to Hawaii qualifications.
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