There are a few important Ironman Triathlon marathon tips that may make a difference in how you approach and perhaps survive the final 26.2-mile leg of your Ironman journey.
Chances are, by the time you finally get off your bike, the thought of actually making it to the finish line may seem remote.
You hurt everywhere, and just getting your running shoes on is a chore.
THE BIKE/RUN TRANSITION
The bike to run transition is about much more than just changing foot-wear and going from a cyclist to a runner.
It is about your body adapting to the different demands you are placing on it.
Much like it has to adapt from being in a horizontal position for 2.4-miles in the swim, your body also has to adjust from the effects of climbing steep hills, biking into strong winds, and being locked into the profile position mile after mile.
As difficult as it may seem, if you can ease into an easy pace in the first mile or so of the run, your body will begin to adapt, and running will become easier.
The key is to not expect too much too soon. There will be plenty of time to pick up the pace once you have recovered a bit from the effects of the bike.
ACCEPTING THE RUN-WALK STRATEGY
Many accomplished marathon runners have met their match when they take on the Ironman Triathlon, and are a bit shocked how difficult it is to keep running on the Ironman marathon course.
It can be a humbling experience.
If for instance you are a marathoner who has a few sub three-hour marathons in the bank, you may have felt going into your first Ironman that you would have no problem running the entire distance, even if it was at a much slower pace than your average marathon.
Realistically, there are very few first-time Ironmen who can actually run the entire 26.2 mile course from start to finish. It’s just the nature of the beast called Ironman.
Many factors come into play that you may not have accounted for.
Perhaps you went out too fast in the swim. Or maybe you will become dehydrated out on the bike course or do not take on sufficient amounts of food. Maybe it is a particularly hot and windy day.
It is in your best interest to accept that this might be the case and to be prepared for it.
In some of your longer distance training runs, it might really help to incorporate some “run-walk” strategy into your Ironman preparation. For instance, run for 8-10 minutes than walk for 30 seconds or so and repeat.
What you are actually doing is preparing for running between the Ironman marathon aid stations the best you can and walking through them. For the majority of novice Ironmen, this is the most likely scenario to play itself out on race-day, and it is a psychological advantage to be prepared for it.
The alternative is to become depressed and disillusioned on race day because you simply can’t keep running and are forced to stop and walk. By preparing for this eventuality and having a plan in place you will have factored it in and you will remain in control of how your marathon unfolds.
INTERACTION WITH OTHERS ON THE MARATHON COURSE
One of the unique features of the Ironman Triathlon and one of the things that make it such a special event is how triathletes support each other along the way.
After all, most of you will have the same ultimate goal in mind…..to reach the finish line any way you can.
Sometimes you will just happen to lock on to someone who is running just the perfect pace for you, and it can really help the miles go by as you basically pace each other, and give moral support to each other.
However, there is a downside that you should be aware of.
After running with someone for a bit, it’s important to be honest with yourself about the pace you are both running.
If they are running a bit faster than you are comfortable with, you may feel compelled to try and stay with them.
On the other hand, if after a while you feel they are running slower than you are capable of, you may also feel obligated to slow down in order to stay with them.
Either way, you are not running your own race and you are letting someone else dictate a pace that might not be in your best interest.
If you run faster than you really feel you should be, you could have a melt-down that could have been avoided by running at a more sustainable pace.
Or, if you run slower than you feel you are capable of, you could deprive yourself of having your best possible Ironman result.
It’s all about priorities.
When you are faced with this situation, it is wise to either let them go on ahead of you, or to pull away from them depending on the circumstances.
There is not a thing wrong with this. The Ironman Triathlon is essentially each individual dealing with their own demons and conquering them, and in the process performing the best they can within the limits of their ability.
As much as it is part of the Ironman experience to encourage others and have them encourage you, it is ultimately the will, determination, and race strategy of each individual that will most often decide what the final outcome of their Ironman journey will be.
That being said, there is a third alternative. If you are running with someone and they are running slower than you know you are capable of, you may decide to run their pace regardless in order to help them reach the finish line.
For many triathletes, their Ironman finish time is irrelevant and if that’s the case, there is no reason you shouldn’t help someone along as much as you can.
TOTAL IMMERSION DISCOUNTTOTAL IMMERSION is offering all IronStruck visitors a 10% discount on Books, DVD's, and all other Total Immersion teaching tools. Simply click on TOTAL IMMERSION to go to their store page. Use the Coupon Code "ironstruck" (all small case letters) into the shopping cart coupon box and you will automatically receive your 10% discount!