So you swam 2.4 miles, and cranked away on the bike for 112 miles… time to take off that helmet and run a marathon. In my opinion, the last 26.2 miles is the hardest leg of the Ironman. That may be because I had a light foot injury early on in my training (from ramping up the distance I was running too fast) that led me to train the least for the marathon.
If you finish the swim and bike within the time cut offs, you can nearly walk the marathon and still finish before the race ends at midnight.
No secrets here. The run is… well…. a really long run. You can find plenty of marathon training plans online. That is probably a great place to start, but you don’t necessarily have to put in the volume of mileage they recommend because you are getting loads of cardio work from your swim and bike training. If you finish the swim and bike within the time cut offs, you can nearly walk the marathon and still finish before the race ends at midnight. Figure out what your goals are and train accordingly.
Make sure to build up your distance a little bit each week. You don’t need to go out week 1 and do a 12 mile run. You probably don’t need to do a 12 mile run until you’ve been training regularly for a couple of months. Also, don’t just go out every session and run really long distances at a comfortable pace. Vary the distance and intensity of your runs by adding in interval training. Be smart and take rest days after large workouts. You will be told by veteran triathletes that your most important training day of the week is your rest day.
One key to success in the run is to start adding run workouts after long bike rides. There is something strange about the transition from pedaling the bike to running. By practicing, you will start to get a feel for how hard to push it coming off the bike and train your muscles to adjust. A workout where you bike for a minimum of 45 minutes then hop off and run for 15+ minutes is commonly referred to as a Brick workout. The more often you run coming off of the bike the better.
Run until you can’t, walk until you can run again, repeat.
During the race, most participants will stop to get a sip of gatorade and walk through each aid station. You can do this and still maintain a fast pace for the marathon. You might try a similar system of periodic short walks for your long training runs. Run until you can’t, walk until you can run again, repeat. You will be surprised how much distance you can cover.
This is post 4 of 7 about my Ironman journey and pointers.