IM Running question

I'm doing Quell Challenge Roth in 2004 as my 1st IM distance event. I've done one 1/2IM so far and numerous 1/2 marathons. I'm not a bad runner having been running for the last 24 years(38yrs old!!!). So my legs are well conditioend to the stresses of long distance running. I plan on building up my cycling to 6-7 hours at aerobic threshold, which for me is roughly 125-130 bpm. This is according to Gordo Byrns training methods...

My question is this...

Gordo reccommends maxing out at 2.5hr runs. He suggests that longer runs than this are counter-productive, and I agree. However, as this is my 1st IM distance race and I'm really only looking to finish within a reasonable time. I plan on incorporating walking breaks into my long runs. I was thinking about running roughly 12 minutes (approx 2km) and walking 1 min repeating. I would therefore plan on building my long runs up to a maximum of 3 hrs. What do you al think on this??

Thanks and any help appreciated


  • I quite often do long runs run/walk but normally do 5min run 1 min walk - i find it a nice way to spend a sunday morning and do between 2.5 and 3 hrs
  • Wasted (can I call you that?)

    I am certainly no expert, but here are my thoughts. You say you have done several half marathons but no marathons yet. If so, I think as part of your preparation you should train towards a spring marathon anyway on top of the bike and swim training that you will be doing.

    My schedule for IM Switzerland this year was to concentrate on run training in the months leading up to London Marathon with a secondary emphasis on swimming and then from April onwards piled on the cycling training, again not forgetting the swimming but throttling back on the running.

    I agree with Gordo that there is no point doing 4 or 5 hour training runs but a marathon or two to build confidence even at training pace would be a good thing I think.
  • If you were trining for a 10k race you'd make sure some of your runs were over that distance. If you're going to be running a full marathon I would suggest some of your training runs are 26+ miles, or run slower and make sure you run for however long a marathon will take you.
    I'm sure some people might disagree with me though.
  • Absolutely not. There's no need to run the full distance in training, 20 miles is far enough. Same applies to the rest of the training, Paula Newby-Fraser (who's won more IMs than anyone ever and knows a thing or two about it) says with swimming concentrate on 400m blocks rather than keep swimming long distances in one. She still holds the two fastest times for women at Roth.
  • Gordo actually specifically says that an early season marathon is A Bad Thing for people training for an ironman. This is because of the tapering and recovery from the race blowing a hole in your schedule. Mind you, if he had his way, running training would be every fifth tuesday after a blue moon, with the rest of the time spent on the bike.

    Personally I say go for a marathon. It builds confidence, and is a great laugh. Since doing London in spring 2002, I did two in spring 2003: Paris and Prague. It's a good excuse for a holiday as well. However, bear in mind that marathons absolutely thrash your body (this is apoint that Gordo definitely subscribes to), so I wouldn't make a habit of them in the lead up to an ironman!


    Wasted, are you telling us that in 24 years, you've only hit the wall (in race conditions) once? You big nancy! :-)
  • Hey Big Bopper. I don't recall seeing anything on Wasted's posts about hitting the wall once in race conditions. Speaking from Wasted's point of view (I've been having problems logging on so had to change my name to wasted for a few nights till it was sorted out - NOW!)I've hit the wall or bonked as it's known in cycling on numerous occasions. But mainly during training, due to reductions in calories in order to drop weight for races or just doing too much without consuming enough calories. over a 2-3 day period.

    TriandRun aka (Wasted)
  • It was just that you said you've raced a half ironman, and the rest were half marathons. That's one bonk whilst racing! (Admittedly I had not thought about any cycling races you may have done).

    Sorry, no offence meant. The point I was thinking of was pushing your body so far that recovery hinders your training schedule. In training, when you bonk you can back off, making sure you can recover, but when you are in a race, you try to keep your effort level up. This means that you are putting yourself under a lot more stress. Almost all the damage done to the body in a marathon is on the last 6 miles. The body is telling you to slow down, but you are over-riding it and damaging it even more. Thus the hole in your training schedule that Gordo dreads so much. Mind you, with 24 years of experience, this is probably not telling you anything new.

    As you're a cyclists, maybe you can help me with a question I've got. I live on the North Downs, which means lots of hills. I can't do steady, low heart-rate rides as a result. I'm not exactly slight, so my power-to-weight ratio is ludicrously low. I struggle, and my heart rate soars. Is this a problem, and should I get a turbo trainer to replace these rides?

  • BB,
    Where on the North Downs - we're up in Gravesend and I often ride my MTB on the North Downs Way.
    I think the problem with these hilly rides is actually two-fold - firstly, as you have said, the HR shoots up going up, but also there is a big issue with the HR being too low for effective aerobic conditioning on much of the descents.
    If you are trying to lose the weight then a MTB on this hilly rides is ideal. You can gear down low enough to keep the HR in "zone" and if the HR goes VERY low on decents then that is fine as you may not be doing proper aerobic conditioning but you will get the two-fold benefit of conditioning the muscles (to some degree - as long as there is not TOO much freewheeling - just try and keep pedalling even if there is no resistance) and also burning fat - both of which will benefit your IM training.
    This would also allow you to ride for longer. Just don't take many carbs while riding (just emergency supplies) and burn that fat as you go.
    As the season develops you will be able to keep the HR in "zone" as your power to weight increases. Just avoid the steepest hills and stay aerobic.
  • Aaargh! You mean I need to buy yet another bike?! I haven't finished paying for the old one yet! (mutter mutter bloody triathlon......)

  • Pantman,

    I live in Woldingham, Surrey.

  • Other end of the range...

    Do you fancy doing the North Downs 30K run next June - could be a good training run for IM...
  • That sounds interesting (and tortuous!), as long as it doesn't clash with Windsor.

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    pantman, when is the 30k race?
    i will prob be doing LD now.....hope they are not too close together (?)
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • June 27 rings a bell.

    Ooh now bells! could add little ones to me pompoms...
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    i think longest day is 18th. id never be able to do a 30k a week later would i....?
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    jj, look im on one of the xtri pics (4th). see me on the bridge holding my back hahaha:

    think i stopped a while and kicked a cow just after that
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • ((((daz))))

    Back pain is something I *do* understand.

    [though cruelty to cows is too much for a country girl to condone. Unless it's just scared me, which they often do coz they chase me)
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    nah just japing about the cow, although i did feel like kicking something in the arse
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Judging by the results, dear boy - 'twas yourself! :o)
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz, TLD is in July. A 30k run in June would actually be a well timed run.

  • there ya go!

    [pompoms in training for big summer]
  • Daz - Mr. IW did a sprint tri the weekend after an IM, he finished it but it hurt! Said he'd never again do a race within weeks of an IM.
  • Haven't heard from Jonathan C. yet, he's supposed to be in our area around now, if all's going to plan on his 4-week bike tour.
  • I did London Tri (Olympic distance) 2 weeks after TLD, and got a PB by 10 mins. However, since then I haven't been able to concentrate on training at all. I got really jaded, and it wasn't until today, having done the Nike 10k, that I recognised that virtuous, healthy feeling you get when you are motivated. I finally turned down some chocolate!

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