发信人: ironman2015 (1/2 ironman x3), 信区: Tri
标 题: How to Run a Sub 3-Hour (or YOUR PR) Ironman Marathon (转载)
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Tue Nov 13 16:38:20 2012, 美东)
【 以下文字转载自 Running 讨论区 】
发信人: ironman2015 (1/2 ironman x3), 信区: Running
标 题: How to Run a Sub 3-Hour (or YOUR PR) Ironman Marathon
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Tue Nov 13 16:38:02 2012, 美东)
How to Run a Sub 3-Hour (or YOUR PR) Ironman Marathon
Tips resulting from my Ironman AZ Experience
by Coach Troy Jacobson
What is your personal Mt. Everest? What big goal do you have on your 'bucket
list' that has been looming just slightly out of your reach for many years?
For me, it was running a sub 3 hour Ironman marathon. During a tri career
spanning over 20 years and 15 Ironman races, I'd run several sub 3:05's,
even a 3:01, but could never crack the elusive 3-hour barrier. Then, on a
windy cold day in November 2010 at Ironman Arizona and at the age of 41, I
finally did it - 2:59:55! This article will give you some insights into how
it was done and what you might be able to do in training and on race day to
set your personal best.
Suffering on the run at 2010 IMAZ. Photo credit: Scorpius via slowtwitch.com
First, a little background information to set the stage. I come from a team
and contact sports background, playing football from 10 yrs of age through
my freshman year in college and wrestling all through high school. I lifted
weights religiously, as most young men do, to gain strength and pack on some
muscle size for my sport. At one point, I 'bulked up' to about 215 pounds
in high school as a starting lineman and heavyweight wrestler. My idea of
distance running was doing the 40-yard dash. I was not a 'runner'.
I started my 'career' as an endurance athlete with steady state aerobic
endurance runs. I had read about 'building your base' and that steady runs
at a comfortable pace was the way to do it. I also mixed in a weekly track
workout to build speed. I improved quickly, posting a 10K PR of around 33
minutes. I did my first Ironman Hawaii in 1991 and posted a 3:04 marathon. "
WOW!", I thought. "Sub-3 hrs will be no big deal someday! ". Boy was I wrong!
In 1993, I ran an open marathon PR of 2:31:40, missing the coveted sub 2:30
mark after a spectacular blow up at mile 25. Darn. I then went on to race
triathlon at a fairly high level throughout my 20's in the 1990's,
eventually getting my pro card, posting several sub 3:05 Ironman marathon
times and even achieved a top 20 overall placing in Kona (1998, 20th). Life
was good as a 2nd tier pro and coach…. But I could never crack the sub 3-
hour Ironman marathon mark, no matter how much I ran and how hard I trained.
At age 30, life took over and I 'retired' from serious racing, focusing on
my career as a coach, family, etc. I still exercised regularly throughout my
30's as I loved the lifestyle, even racing short course a bit in 2003 then
again doing a couple Ironman's 'for fun' in 2005, but nothing super
Last year, I decided it was time to start Chapter Two of my athletic career
as a Masters athlete and began training with more focus in preparation for
the 2010 season. It went quite well as I posted age group wins and overall
amateur results at each race I did… all national caliber. My many years of
base training were paying off and with some structured interval training
thrown in the mix; I was getting my race legs back under me.
My year ground to an abrupt and painful halt with my collarbone and rib
breaking crash at the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race in mid-August.
After surgery and a projected 8-week recovery period, I thought my year was
over… but decided to salvage it and try to finish IMAZ in November (I had
to scratch from IMWI, my originally planned reunion with the Ironman
distance). I toed the line with good base fitness, but not-so-good pre race
preparation fitness due to the injury and recovery period, which allowed for
only brisk walking post surgery. My expectations were low but my motivation
and excitement was high as this was a 'fun Ironman', with a distant
aspiration of being competitive. I was just happy really to have the gift of
being able to race again… getting injured and being laid up gives you a
dose of harsh reality that flesh and bones break down. I wondered if I had
the mojo to finish strong.
Cutting to the chase, I felt really good on Ironman day. I raced very
conservatively on the swim and bike legs, respectful and a little scared of
the distance and concerned with my lack of training. I crossed the finish
line surprised and happy with my 9:06 'and change' finish… but was even
more excited with my run split, 2:59:55. I finally cracked the secret code
at 41 years of age, long after I'd given up on going sub 3!
THE SECRET CODE
So why was I able to set my Ironman PR run after so many years dedicated to
trying? And how can you do the same thing? Here are some thoughts and ideas
for you to consider, in no particular order:
1. Build base with frequency: This simple concept is often overused, but
holds true. Steady state 'aerobic' paced training should comprise the bulk
of your training program. Run often but not necessarily far each workout.
Frequency is the key. If you can run 5-6 days per week, do it. The Kenyans
run 15 -- 20 workouts per week to accumulate huge training volumes. You can'
t do that, you'll get injured… but you can run 5-8 shorter workouts per
week at an aerobic pace (i.e. not as pounding on the joints).
2. Practice good form: With minimalist shoes all the rage, more runners are
focused on forefoot striking and better run posture. I've made a conscious
effort over the past year to do this as well, shifting my weight a little
forward and not pounding the heel as much as I did in the past.
3. Run on the Treadmill: Since last winter, I've done one or two runs per
week on the treadmill. I set it at 7 -- 8 mph at 3% grade and run 40-50
minutes. I feel that frequent treadmill work saves my aging joints and
connective tissues from injury. It's forgiving and feels good to get off the
4. Don't run too long: We all know that you should do a 'long run'. How long
is ideal? That's hard to say, but for me, a 2 hr run was my longest on my
way to my Ironman marathon PR. I did a couple 1:45 hr runs too, but that was
it. I run at roughly a 7-7:20 / mile pace on these runs, with some 'tempo'
once in awhile.
5. Do your Bricks: One or two times a week, if not more, do a 'brick' from
the bike to the run. My typical training day would include a 30-mile bike (1
.5 hrs) followed by a 30-40 minute run (4-6 miles).
6. Do short double runs: During your build up weeks (about 5-10 from race
day), do one or two double runs each week. Going back to the idea of
frequency, make these short 30-40 minute aerobic paced runs with one in the
morning and one again in the evening. This same concept can be used too
during your pre-season base building period, but I do not recommend it when
you're racing often.
7. Race often: I attribute my good run at IMAZ to my steady race schedule
earlier in the season before I crashed in Leadville. I had six really hard
races 'in the bank' and there's no better way to build race fitness than to
actually race. Race early in the season and then give yourself plenty of
time to focus on your Ironman prep… you'll need it both physically and
8. Be patient: Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is base aerobic
fitness. It's a year round process. Run year round. This time of year (Nov./
Dec./Jan.), do mostly aerobic base (zone 2) running for success next summer.
The best runners make running an almost daily habit and accumulate fitness
9. Listen to your body: As a masters athlete with years and years of wear
and tear on my knees, hips and my body overall, I am cognizant that each and
every workout could be the one that gets me injured. If I feel a tweak or a
little ache that's unusual, I'm quick to stop and cut the workout short and
re-evaluate my training plan for the rest of the week. I have a weekly
training plan, but I modify it daily, as needed depending on how I feel in
the first 10 minutes of the workout. I'd rather feel a little undertrained
and be injury free than push the envelope and get hurt and be put out of
10. Don't over run: You read about the pros running 80 -- 100 mile weeks and
start to think that more mileage is better. Not true for the triathlete.
There are points of diminishing returns (especially for Masters athletes)
and eventually, all you're doing is tearing yourself down without any
improvement. My 'typical' week of training year round includes 20-30 miles,
with daily runs of around 40-50 minutes in duration (or 5-6 miles) at a
comfortable aerobic pace. I did two weeks with volumes in the 40-50 mile
range mid --summer, and those really tore me down. I was glad to get through
those 'high volume' weeks without getting hurt.
11. Add some speed, but not too much: During the summer, on weeks that I
didn't race, I would do one or two days of 'fast running', at around my 5K
pace. Workouts typically included a 20-30 minute warm up of steady running
then a 1.5 -- 2 mile 'tempo effort' with perhaps a little 'kick' at the end
when I felt really good. It was enough quality to boost my V02max and
economy, but not too much to break me down and get me hurt. I find that many
athletes run a little too hard, too often. Their 'aerobic pace' is actually
closer to 'tempo' pace, and everyday becomes a hard effort with little
recovery in between. Heel spurs, IT Band issues and Runner's knee are just a
few injuries that come about from training too much in the Gray zone. Also,
don't do interval training year-round. What's the point in being in 'race
shape' in January for triathlon season starting in May? Choose your battles
wisely and peak at the right time of year.
12. Taper early: My experience this year has lead me to believe that I went
into my Ironman races back in the 1990's a little too tired. This year, I
was very well rested due to my rehabilitation from my injuries. My last 3 --
4 weeks leading into the Ironman included mostly shorter workouts,
including long runs of up to only 1 hr in duration and more treadmill work (
45 minute runs at 3% grade). I toed the line on race day with some nice '
bounce' in my legs. Rule of thumb…if you feel that it takes 2 weeks to
taper for a big race, give yourself 3 weeks instead. You won't be sorry.
13. Rest well 72 hours before the race: Get off your feet when you can and
sleep well each night. The day before the race, try to lay around with your
feet up. For IMAZ, I took care of all pre-race, media and sponsor
obligations before 1 pm and then spent the remainder of the day in my hotel
room relaxing. It makes a huge difference on how you feel on race day.
14. The bike sets up the Run: In triathlon, you need to have good riding
legs in order to run well. This means committing to building your muscular
and aerobic endurance in training with several long rides, as well as your
strength and power with interval work. On race day, the bike will either
make or break your overall race result. Riding just 2-5% too hard on the
bike, a difference of just a few minutes on your bike split can mean the
difference between running well in the marathon or walking the last 10K to
the finish line. At IMAZ, I rode very conservatively for the first loop with
a low heart rate and my cadence in my 'sweet spot' of around 85 rpms, being
passed by dozens of riders. Lap two, I picked it up a little and passed
most of those who went roaring by me on loop 1. My end split of 4:56 over
the 112 miles was a result of riding well within myself and hitting nearly a
22 mph avg. pace for each loop. I finished the bike stiff and a little
tired muscularly, but with plenty of energy to run well.
15. Nutrition comes first: When I was in my 20's and racing as an elite
amateur and pro, I could go hard and long and didn't have concern myself too
much with a nutritional strategy beyond drinking a couple bottles per hour
and taking in some calories. Now at 40+, nutrition is critical to success or
failure on race day. I've had severe cramping problems, so I've corrected
those by super dosing with electrolyte supplements, taking in 1000 or so mg
per hour. It worked… I sat up a ton on the bike in AZ, took my time to eat
and drink and was cramp free all day. Yeah!
16. Pace on the run: I really didn't know what I had in store for me on race
day, so I went out on the run conservatively. I was very stiff at first and
knew it would take a mile or so to get my 'run legs' under me, which it did
. Once I felt good, I worked to establish a rhythm on the run, focusing on
my foot strike cadence and breathing rhythm. I hit each aid station for a
cup or two of water and / or sports drink, and did a gel every 3rd mile (or
every 20-25 minutes). I also continued with my electrolyte dosing, targeting
about 600-1000 mg / hr. Again, no cramps.
17. Be mentally strong: I must be a wimp when it comes to long distance
running because my legs get very sore after around 2 hr. Perhaps it's
because of my limited long runs… but if I run much over 2 hours in training
, I get injured, so I have to pay the price on race day with severe quad
pain. At mile 16 of the IM run, my quads were on fire and every step took a
concerted mental effort to stay on pace. Pain is temporary but pride is
forever. Learn to deal with the pain.
18. Be relaxed: When you go into a race with a relaxed attitude, you'll
always perform better. Athletes who have incredibly high expectations of
themselves or who feel 'pressured' to perform by outside influences tend to
implode. The truth is that most of us, with the exception perhaps of the
professionals, who make a living racing, do this sport for fun and personal
satisfaction. For this race, I felt absolutely no internal or external
pressure to perform well… I just let it flow and the day developed to be a
very positive one.
19. Bounce: Once you lose the bounce in your step at the Ironman marathon,
you're done. I remember once passing former top pro, Chuckie V., (a rare
event for me…Chuckie usually kicked my butt) on the run at a race and he
said to me, "You look good Troy, keep the bounce in your step." Good advice
that you should remember too.
20. Get the race over with: Whatever issues you're dealing with out there on
the race course, unless you experience acute debilitating pain that
requires immediate medical, can be addressed post race. Stay mentally in the
moment and focused on the task of maintaining your pace, hydrating, eating
and clicking off the miles one by one. You can worry about your other
problems after you cross the finish line.
21. Soak it in and have gratitude: I know it sounds a little corny, but I
was so pleased to be out there treading water in that 60 degree water before
the gun went off. I was grateful for the opportunity to race and to be
physically active at this level after my crash and to be participating in an
Ironman again. I made a point to soak it all in and actually 'smelled the
roses', as opposed to when I was in my 20's and racing as if my life
depended on it. Live and learn, right?
22. Consider Racing 'blind' sometimes: I didn't use a powermeter or a heart
rate monitor, only my Timex watch on my wrist and a cycling computer with
distance, speed and cadence on the bike. I glanced at them once in awhile to
get a general idea of where I was, but had no real indication of my exact
time, especially on the run. I calculate my general mile pace once in awhile
and knew at the half marathon mark that I was close to a 3 hour pace, but
had no exact concept through GPS or other monitoring device. I liked going
by gut feel and instinct and the more self aware you are of your
conditioning through experience, the better.
Through this experience, I discovered that breakthroughs and personal bests
are possible to achieve at almost any age. Had someone told me 12 years ago
after several failed attempts in my 'prime' that at the age of 41 and after
an extended layoff from racing, that I would crack 3-hours in the marathon,
I'd say, "Yeah, RIGHT!". The key is to make training a life long habit,
always building your aerobic base, and to train and race smart… not just
hard. I hope you take that advice to the bank and conquer your personal Mt.
Everest. Good luck!
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