If you look at the history of the Ironman triathlon events, there is always one common theme in most races – “it always comes down to the run”. If you look at the top athletes, they have learned to not only run quickly after the bike transition, but one other important factor: they train themselves to learn how to run on tired legs.
Of course having a consistent swim with good technique and not wasting energy is a key component of the Ironman distance triathlon. Also, keeping everything under control on the bike is important and not hammering outside of your zone with pay off in the later stages of the run.
We all know how good we feel when we head out for the 3-4 hour run the day after the long bike ride during Ironman distance training, but how often do you train consistently each week with tired/fatigued legs. The key is to learn how to focus mentally while running with tired legs. Also, it’s tough and you will never be as fresh during the run section of the Ironman compared to doing just a run without the bike and swim – common sense, right? But many athletes just don’t train enough during the buildup to the key race to incorporate the following types of workouts with running on tired legs.
Here are a couple workouts to consider with your training to concentrate on fatigue leg running – it will pay off big time on race day:
Race Fatigue Workout:
If possible plan on riding to a short course triathlon (40 miles would be perfect), do the race hard then immediately jump back on the bike and ride home. After finishing, go out for a 5 mile trail run. The following day, head out for your long run and your legs will be fatigued and tired. Keep the heart rate under control and in the big months of your training focus on at least a 3 -4 hour
Short bike/long run brick:
Head out for a 50 mile ride at a strong pace (quicker than Ironman pace) and then do a 4 hour run. The following day repeat it in reverse (run first then bike).
By consistently doing these types of fatigue runs (they can be various distances) your muscle memory and mental strength will improve so that race day you will be able to push the last 6-7 miles of the marathon which is where the race normally is determined.
By Wayne Kurtz
Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report, he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’