Even More About The Long Run

How to perform the long run seems to be a hot topic. I've answered a few of the questions (Ewen, Tea) below. It needs to kept in mind that these represent my personal theories on going long. There are many different ways to train for the Ironman, and a number of different methods will probably achieve very good results. The most important element is regular consistency, getting out there each day and doing something. The results do not come from a handful of long days, but rather the continual development of fitness from the accumulation of all training.

Should slow IM athletes do more time on long days?

Not always. Those with a small background in the sport (maybe less than 2 years) tend to show better adaptation through the use of moderate volume and higher frequency.

Those with a more substantial base in the sport, might do well to extend the time of their long days to more closely match some of the demands of the event they are training for. However, if this extension causes exsessive recovery needs (3 days or more), then the extra time may be counterproductive.

Is it worthwhile trying to become faster at shorter triathlons so you can carry some of that speed over to the IM?

Yes, but it depends on how you get fast. Even sprint distance triathlons often take about an hour to complete. Getting faster through developing the aerobic pathways will help both the short and long stuff. In fact, you could train for both following a similar program, with the key differences being longer, long days for the Ironman, or more focus on high-end work for sprint.

If you get fast through lactate tolerance style work, and other anaerobic conditioning, then this will likely be very detrimental to for the Ironman. There is likely to be inadequate aerobic conditioning with this style of work, in particular, limited ability to use fats as the preferential fuel during Ironman race pace.

Does it make sense to get one long run of 20 miles instead of a time goal?

Yes it does make sense. I mix it up a bit with basing my runs on distance or on time. It is also worth remembering that not all kilometres (or miles if you think that way) are equal. Terrain and weather conditions can play a decent role.

As a confidence builder?

Well that depends on your fitness base. I think the so-called confidence builder only works if you have a good base behind you, and are already confident you can complete the distance. I have seen a number of people go out for their confidence builder a few weeks before their race, only to find they either struggle with the session, require extended recovery (which isn't really what they want at this time), or just get sick. Often the confidence builder achieves the opposite.


  1. THANKS! I think your blog is becoming more of a Q&A session. But it is very helpful.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks Jason. I know the bike is the main leg in IM, but I was thinking that becoming a fast marathon runner would be advantageous...

    For example, if your normal marathon is 3 hours, your IM marathon might be 3:30 - much better to be facing this than a 5 hour marathon off the bike. You could train to run a 3 hour marathon (or close) 100% aerobically.

    Excessive recovery being negative matches my thoughts with running training.


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