Key Workout Techniques for a Successful Ironman: Mastering the Run

by Cherie Gruenfeld April 12, 2017 2 min read

Person running through the forest on a dirt path with the sun setting behind them.

To get your body ready to perform at its best come race day, it is important to follow a training schedule that addresses each portion of the Ironman Triathlon. While every component of the Ironman race is designed to push your body to its limit, many Ironman experts will tell you that your performance in the running component is the make-or-break period in the race. The running component takes about 40% of the total race time, so making the most of it is crucial.

Below are some tips to help you train for your most successful Ironman yet and master the run!


Train Your Body to Run After Biking

It doesn’t matter how strong of a runner you are, or how many marathons you’ve completed. It is a completely different aerobic and mechanical challenge to run a full 26.22-mile marathon after a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bicycle ride. Your lungs are screaming, your muscles are on fire and you may already be mentally drained—but you have a full marathon ahead. Running off the bike is a specialized skillset, and one you need to train for. To perform with outstanding time on race day, your body not only needs to have endurance in running, but the ability to switch from biking to running quickly and effectively. To train your body for these demands, add a 10 to 15-minute run at the end of your high-intensity bike training session. This will train your body to recognize the transition in muscle activation come race day.

Focus on Your Biking Technique

The running component is the final portion of the Ironman. You need to pace yourself to conserve energy and keep your mental motivation at its peak. Since the running portion of your race has to be a priority for your body on race day, make sure you’re doing everything you can in your bike technique in order to preserve energy for the running portion. Breathing techniques are key, but so is physical pacing. Keep your racing watts steady, because anything extra you throw toward the bike portion is stealing much-needed energy and power from the run portion.

Simulate Distance During Training

Trying to fit the whole Ironman into your training regime is out of the question, as it would be too hard on your body and would require too much recovery time after the fact to be able to continue with your normal training schedule. However, you can simulate the length of the race in training by doing back-to-back workouts, following a long bike ride with a short transition run and then a long swim followed by a long run the next day. This will let you push your body to new performance standards within a safe range.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.