Tips For A Strong Ironman Marathon
Get Strong on the Bike
The inaugural Ironman Wisconsin, held in 2002, featured a novelty. A couple of elite Kenyan runners did the race. I’m talking about sub-2:15 marathoners. The story was that some coach had recruited these guys as a sort of experiment. Anyway, not only did the poor guinea pigs get crushed on the swim and the bike, but they also ran terribly. This unique example demonstrates that the first key to running strong in an Ironman is not pure running ability but strength on the bike.
It makes sense, right? Your bike fitness has to be at such a level that you can ride hard for 112 miles and still have something left for the marathon. All of the running fitness in the world won’t help you otherwise. How do you get that strong on the bike? The short answer is by putting in a ton of volume. But most of us don’t have enough time to put in the optimal number of bike miles. So then, what is the least you can do to build enough bike fitness so that 112 miles is no big deal?
Aim to complete four independent 100-mile rides, one pair of back-to-back four-hour rides, and one all-day ride (about eight hours as slow as you need to go to survive it). All of these rides should occur within the last 10 weeks before your taper, and obviously in the preceding weeks you should gradually build your long-ride distance toward the 100-mile level.