Ironman marathon nonstop

Running the Ironman marathon nonstop is difficult to do.

It’s particularly demoralizing for seasoned distance runners who have difficulty running the Ironman marathon nonstop.

Maybe they have several marathon finishes to their name and perhaps they have even broken the three hour mark, but once they get to the Ironman things seem to go wrong.

It’s a misconception that all you have to do is add 45 minutes or so to your best marathon time in order to calculate your Ironman marathon time.

There are three main reasons why many triathletes have trouble keeping up their running pace and eventually end up becoming part of the Ironman death march.

  • They have failed to incorporate enough transition bike/runs into their training program.
  • From the moment the gun went off they raced at a pace that was beyond their ability to maintain through the swim, bike, and run.
  • They didn’t manage their hydration and nutrition properly on the bike and that doomed them on the run even before they put on their running shoes.


It’s one thing when the gun goes off to begin a marathon, but it’s something else completely when you take those first few running strides after doing a 112-mile bike under who knows what conditions. There might have been cold, wind, or heat.

Even if the conditions are perfect your muscles take a pounding and there is no feeling worse than trying to run after the Ironman bike. Suddenly running the Ironman marathon nonstop becomes a lot more challenging.

One of the main keys to combat the transition from Hell is to do plenty of transition training through-out the year. It doesn’t have to be a 100 mile bike training session followed by a 15 mile run.

Ironman marathon nonstop

A wind-trainer is perfect for transition training. Go from bike to run within a minute or two.

It can be a 45 minute bike followed by a 5 mile run. You will still feel it in your legs without biking a great distance. You can always start out with shorter distances and slowly increase it as your training progresses. The key is to make sure transition training is a constant part of your training.

If you have a wind-trainer parked in your home you have the perfect transition training option right in front of you. A 40-60 minute bike workout followed by a quick change into your running shoes will give you a transition time of around one minute.

You don’t have to worry about what to do with your bike. You just get off the bike put on your running shoes and head out the door on the run. The closer together the bike and run the closer you will be to experiencing what it will be like on Ironman race day.


It’s amazing how many triathletes let their emotions get the best of them in the Ironman swim. They feel panic, fear, and excitement and if they don’t harness those emotions and stay calm in the swim their heart-rate escalates.

When that happens they are burning their glycogen stores way too soon and are burning off precious energy that’s unrecoverable. Your lost enery can’t be recovered because you are in a constant state of motion from the time the swim starts until you reach the finish line of the race.

Often triathletes will overextend themselves in order to cut 5 minutes off their swim time. They might do it, but most likely they will add an hour to their run time. It’s a poor trade off.

A frantic swim is usually followed by going as fast as you can once on your bike. After all, you have to keep up with everyone else who’s blowing by you. No you don’t……..You just have to be smarter. Maintain a pace within your ability in the swim and bike and you will pass pretty well all the speed demons late in the bike or on the marathon course if you race within yourself.


There are constant discussions about what to eat and drink on the Ironman bike course. What electrolyte replacement drink is best? What gel or protein bar is best?

Ultimately its not all about what you’re drinking and eating. Rather it’s about when you are eating and drinking. This is one of the major keys to running the Ironman marathon nonstop.

Timing is everything.

It’s in the small things. Drinking the moment you get out of the water is not always a great idea because you have been in the horizontal position for 2.4 miles. When you go vertical and stand up that initial dizziness you feel it most likely a change in blood flow. Your body needs time to adjust.

ironman marathon nonstop

Before the race set you timer to beep at regular intervals as a reminder.

Biking about 15 minutes and then beginning your eating and drinking plan is a better idea.

It’s easy to forget to drink and an hour or two could pass and you simply haven’t had enough to drink. If you’re thirsty it’s too late. Drinking a large amount all at once is not nearly as effective as drinking a smaller amount at pre-planned shorter intervals.

When you take your first drink after 15 minutes or so be sure to have your watch timer pre-set to beep at regular intervals. Start your timer at your first drink. Before the race, set it to beep every 20-25 minutes and you will be reminded to keep your hydration level at an even keep throughout the entire 112-mile bike.

You could set up your plan to drink every beep and drink and eat every second beep. Try it out in training and see what time interval works best for you.

Complex carbohydrates(for instance a whole wheat bagels with peanut butter and honey) should be eaten early on in the first third of the bike so they have time to be assimilated for the late stages of the bike and for the marathon.

Eating too late on the bike course will do you little good during the marathon as there is no time for your body to assimilate it. On the contrary you could end up with stomach issues.

If you become dehydrated during the bike or have depleted glycogen stores from not pacing yourself within your level of ability you will have a very hard time running the Ironman marathon nonstop.

RELATED: Ironman Triathlon Negative Split Strategy
RELATED: Ironman Death March

Ironman swim panic

Are you dealing with Ironman swim panic

If there is one thing that scares many people new to the Ironman it’s the 2.4-mile swim. In the moments before the starting gun sounds there will be many, many people in Ironman swim panic mode.

Being terrified of the Ironman swim goes back to the early years of the event and has been especially hard on those taking on the Ironman Triathlon challenge for the first time.

In one of the early Ironman races in Kona in the 1980’s there was the case of the missing swimmer. Even though there were no timing chips back then, organizers made sure that every swimmer who checked in the morning of the race was accounted for when the last swimmer arrived.

Ironman swim panic

Ironman Hawaii. The swim can get pretty crowded. Staying calm is the key.

On this day there was a missing swimmer. They searched the entire course with boats and scuba divers but could not find the missing swimmer. In the meantime this guy showed up at the dock and asked what the commotion was all about. It turns out he was the one they were looking for.

He was in a blind panic in the moments before the gun sounded and decided he was not doing the race. He went across the street from the swim start area and had breakfast and never told anyone.

So what is it that causes Ironman swim panic in some form or other in every single Ironman race in the world? Here are a few possibilities.

  • It’s amazing how many people learn how to swim for the first time just for the Ironman. Inexperience is probably the number one cause of Ironman swim panic.
  • Even if a person can swim they could be new to swimming so far in the open water. There’s a big difference between laps in the pool and 2.4-miles with very little to hang on to.
  • Even if they have done some swimming in the open water, they have never been in such close proximity to so many other swimmers at any time in their lives.


For those who are inexperienced it certainly does take some getting used to. The Ironman mass swim start was a hallmark of the race for a very long time. It was part of the challenge. It’s a bit easier now since the WTC introduced rolling starts.

It was done partly to prevent serious problems at the race start, but mostly because they wanted more people to become involved in the Ironman. You would be amazed how many people gave up on their Ironman dream because they feared the swim start.

The best way to conquer Ironman swim panic is to have a swim plan in place long before race day. By far the less stressful line to take is an outside line that keeps you on the edge of the major mass of swimmers.

Following the buoy line or waiting a minute or two really isn’t the best plan. Even if you wait, there will be 500 other people waiting with you.


The Ironman swim will test you on many levels. It goes far beyond swimming ability. There are the emotions of fear, excitement, and anger to deal with. It’s in your best interest to keep these in check and maintain a sense of calm in the water.

Each of these emotions will cause a serious drain of your energy. You are going to need all your energy for later in the race when you take on a 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
[bctt tweet=”Once I survived the swim, I knew I’d be an Ironman that day.
via Ironstruck”]
You almost have to swim like you’re in your own protective bubble. It you bump into someone, just bounce off and continue with a long, smooth energy-saving stroke. If someone keeps hitting the back of your legs simply adjust your line and let them pass.

Everything you do in the water and for the rest of the race for that matter should center around staying completely calm and focused.

If you can get your hands on a copy of my book IronStruck…The Ironman Triathlon Journey, the few pages I wrote called the IRONMAN BUBBLE could change the way you look at not only the swim, but the entire race. It could be the edge you need.

Yes of course you have to train and build your endurance for the Ironman, but it’s winning the mental and emotional battles that will see you through to the finish line.

RELATED: Ironman Swim Strategy
RELATED: Ironman Finish Line

Common sense Ironman triathlon transitions

Your race will go smoother if you work on Common sense Ironman triathlon transitions.

Oh my God! I forgot my running shoes!

Yes, that’s happened before. A sleepy triathlete walks to the swim start area and gets all his numbering done and he’s wearing his favorite flip-flops. He forgot that he was going to put on his racing runners and wear them down to the check-in.

The plan was to put them in his bike/run transition bag once he had his wetsuit on. Imagine his surprise when he only had flip-flops to throw in the bag.

Here are three key components to Common sense Ironman triathlon transitions.


    The night before the race spread everything you will need out on the floor or bed, whichever works best for you. When you get your race package you will normally have five bags. This may be different for some Ironman races around the world, but usually there are five.

    You will most likely have a swim to bike transition bag, a bike to run transition bag, dry strip bag, and two special needs bags.

    Whatever clothes you wear down to check-in will normally go into the dry strip bag. You can take your wetsuit, swim goggles, and cap down to the race start in the dry strip bag. When it’s time to put your wetsuit on take out your wetsuit, swim goggles, and cap and put your clothes in that bag.

    It will have your number on it and there will be a big pile of them some where near the swim start. Throw your bag there. You will get it back along with your swim and bike gear after the race.

    Common sense ironman triathlon transitions

    Know what row your gear is in.

    So basically, when you spread your gear out the night before the race you should have five piles. A swim/bike transition pile, bike/run pile, a bike special needs pile, a run special needs pile, and your swim gear pile that will go in your dry strip bag. Once you have that figure out, put the gear in the appropriate bag.

    Being super organized the night before will is a great start to Common sense Ironman triathlon transitions.


    So what the heck do you put in these bags? Remember that you want to keep things as simple as possible. Your heart will be racing and you will be super-charged with adrenaline by the time you reach special needs and you want things to go smoothly.

    Unless you’re trying to qualify for Kona or set a personal best, stop your bike in order to deal with your bike special needs bag. Grabbing it on the fly can lead to disaster, especially when you find that a volunteer has tied a knot in the top of the bag. It happens…

    [bctt tweet=”How much food do you really need in your ironman triathlon bike transition bag?.
    via Ironstruck”]

    You might put special food or replacement drinks in that bag. Keep in mind that when you get that bag on the bike course you are getting very near the point where you should already have taken on the majority of your solid food. The best time to take on complex carbohydrates is in the first half of the race.

    This way your body has time to assimilate them and they will provide your fuel for late in the bike and for the run. Eating too late on the bike often does little good. You body does not have enough time to convert it to fuel. Besides that, you might end up with digestion problems on the run course.

    My point is, don’t stuff that bag with food. An electrolyte replacement drink you used all through your training would be a better choice as you may have used up what you started with. Weather can also be a factor and you might decide to put arm warmers in their if there is a chance of temperatures turning cold or if rain is in the forecast.

    You may also want to put a jacket in there. Keep in mind that you should be prepared to lose whatever is in that bag. In many races they just get lost in the shuffle. Be sure to use an old jacket and not the sleek one you just payed $150 for.

    common sense ironman triathlon transitions

    Don’t put that new cycling jacket in the special needs bag.

    Cut the toes of off long sport socks and they make perfect throw-away arm-warmers. They are also great at the beginning of the bike when mornings can be cool. When you don’t need they just throw them when you pass an aid station.

    The run special needs bag is much the same. Except for the run you might want to include a hat in the event you don’t start the race with one and the sun is really blazing down. You might also want sunblock.

    There will be plenty of food on the course and it’s not really necessary to pack much food in the run special needs. The run is best managed on very little food and regular intake of water and replacement drinks. Don’t forget an old sweater or jacket in the event it really cools off once the sun goes down.

    When you go to check in you will be carrying all your bags. There will be drop-off points for the bike special needs and another one for run special needs. Now you are down to three bags.

    There will be a bike and run transition spot(according to your race number usually)and that’s where you put those two bags. Now you just have one. It has swim gear and will substitute for your dry strip that you wore to start area.


    Things can get very hectic inside the transition area. When you get out of the water you will be disorientated.

    Before the race starts, pick out landmarks(like a tree or post or sign or tent)that will lead you to your transition bag area. Better yet, find out from someone that knows where you come out of the water and the path you will take to enter the swim/bike transition area. All you really have to do is count the rows beforehand and you will know exactly where your gear is.

    The first row you come to once you enter the area will be row one. That’s your reference point. Memorize it beforehand. It doesn’t matter if your gear is to the right or left, just count from the first row to your row. You could be five rows away or 12 rows away, but this way you will know.

    Often the volunteers will try and find your bag for you, but when there are 40 people there all at the same time they get swamped. Know where you gear is in case you have to get it yourself.

    common sense ironman transitions

    I know my bike bag is down there somewhere.

    Once you get your bike gear, head to the change tent. Put your swim gear into your bike gear bag, make sure it’s tightly closed and leave it in the tent if there is not a pile of them nearby. Either way you will get it back after the race.

    When you get off your bike you will most likely be told to take your helmet with you as opposed to leaving it with your bike. Some people like to take there feet out of their cycling shoes and leave the shoes locked into the pedals when the volunteers catch them.

    [bctt tweet=”Hey! Where’s my other Ironman bike cycling shoe? Via IronStruck”]

    I’m not a big fan of this because those shoes are so expensive and can easily get knocked off and lost in the flurry of activity. If you don’t want to walk or run in cycling shoes to the change tent, take them off, carry them, and go in bare feet.

    If found out before the race start where you will be getting off your bike, you will have your transition point and you would use the same process to find your run gear as you did your bike gear.

    When you change into your run gear, but your helmet and cycling shoes in the empty run gear bag. Remember, all the bags have your race number on them and will by magic(with a little help from the volunteers)end up together when you go to get them after the race.

RELATED: Ironman bike transition
RELATED: Ironman run transition

Hopefully these few tips for Common sense Ironman triathlon transitions will be helpful to you.

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Triathlon Run Training Tips

Run smarter with these triathlon run training Tips

It was simpler back in the early days of Ironman. There was only one race.

The first thing to decide when it comes to the running component of your triathlon training is what your ultimate goal is. The distance of your triathlon is also of major importance.

Are you doing an Olympic Distance Triathlon, a Half Ironman, or a full Ironman race for example?

You would train far differently if you were preparing to a 10k run as compared to a marathon and triathlon is no different.

Are you trying to qualify for the World Championship in Kona or are you just trying to finish your very first triathlon?

If your goal is to just reach the Ironman finish line any way you can in the allowable time limit your run training will be far less intense. Chances are you will walk and run the marathon, but these triathlon run training tips will still be helpful to you.

A triathlete trying to finish the race in the fastest time possible might attempt to run the entire 26.2 mile distance without walking at all.

Three important triathlon run training tips to keep in mind.

Training for any triathlon is complex by it’s very nature because there are three disciplines involved. The same mistakes are made over and over again by novice triathletes.


When people first get hooked on triathlon they can get pretty excited about it. They’re losing weight, getting fit, and improving in so many ways every day. It’s worth getting excited about and it’s perfectly understandable.

[bctt tweet=”Over-enthusiasm is the cause of most run injuries. via ironstruck”]

The problem with over-enthusiasm and sports is that it often leads to injury. This is especially true with a high impact sport like running. When your foot strikes the ground it impacts your feet, your knees, your spine, and pretty much your entire body in one way or another.

triathlon run training tips  -Plantar Fasciitis symptoms

If you feel like you have a bruised heel, it’s most likely an early warning of Plantar Fasciitis.

Your body can stand a lot, but if push to hard it will start to give warning signals. It might be a sharp pain in your shins, a twinge in your knee, or a feeling like you somehow managed to bruise your heels.

Lets use the bruised heel for an example. As soon as you feel pain coming from your heel, stop running. Take a few days rest. If you feel like you’ve bruised your heel it’s most likely the first indication of Plantar Fasciitis. If allowed to progress it can end your run training for months and could even end your entire season.

This is just one possible injury. The point is, listen you your body. If something hurts you’re far better off to stop running until you find out what it is. Better yet, don’t push to hard in training to start with and avoid triathlon run training injuries all together.


Knowing when to rest is imperative when it comes to balancing three disciplines like swimming, biking, and running.

Lets say for example you are doing 10 workouts a week. You’re swimming three times, biking three times, and running four times. This is more what a triathlete might do if an Ironman is the race they’re training for. I’ll use Ironman training as an example.

Let’s say there are also two full rest days during your training week. This means that most days you will be doing two training disciplines. For instance swim/bike, swim/run, bike/run etc.

Your run days might include a fairly short run one day, a medium distance, a hill or interval workout day, and a long run day. Of course long run days are different things to different people. For some there triathlon run training distance could be 90 minutes and for others it could be three hours. Regardless of the exact distances, the timing is always important.

triathlon run training tips  -two female and a male runner hill training

Hill training workouts can be demanding.

If you decided to incorporate hill training or intervals into your program keep in mind that they can be just as taxing as distance training. You wouldn’t want to plan your long run day for the day before or after interval or hill training.

It’s best to separate the two workouts with a rest day or an easy day. For example you might do an easy 1500 meter swim and a spin workout on a wind-trainer before your long run day or interval day. The day after could be a rest day.

However you decide to do it, learning when to stress your body and when to rest it is one of the most important things to understand. I can’t stress enough how devastating overtraining injuries can be, especially when they are avoidable.


Many triathletes forget all about transition training when they’re getting ready for their race. It’s a vitally important component of triathlon run training.

It’s not so much about shaving seconds off your overall time. It’s more about making the transition from the bike to the run as painless and seamless as possible. In an Ironman this can save you a lot more than seconds. It can save you hours.

Many triathletes over-extend themselves so much on the bike course that they have little left for the run. It can really help matters if you train for that transition.

It would really be helpful to do at least one transition workout a week. For example, do your bike training and do your run immediately after. It doesn’t have to be great distances in order to be effective.

triathlon run training tips  -cyclists on a wind-trainer wearing cycling shoes.

A wind-trainer is a great idea for transition training.

As a matter of fact, one of the best transition training workouts can be done on a wind-trainer in your home. This is especially useful if training time is at a premium. All you would really have to do is about 35-45 minutes on your wind-trainer.

Get off your bike, put on your running shoes and head out the door on your run. Your transition time will most likely be less than two minutes. That’s great! Even if you just run 30-45 minutes it will help get you used to what it’s going to feel like on race day.

As you get in better shape and your race is just a couple of months away and you are increasing your training distances, it’s a simple matter to adjust your triathlon run training transition workout.

You can head out onto the highway and do a two hour bike and follow it up with a one hour run as soon as possible after you get off the bike. This works great if you can bike from home. You can even do a two hour ride on a wind-trainer for that matter.
RELATED ARTICLE: Triathlon run training
RELATED ARTICLE:Triathlon wind-trainer training
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Ironman Triathlon Average Time

It’s pretty difficult to compute an overall Ironman Triathlon average time.

It’s your first Ironman Triathlon. How long will it take you?

That’s a difficult question to answer because just how are you supposed to come up with an average time if you factored in a number of races.

For example, the result wouldn’t be very accurate if you took 20 Ironman races from around the world and tried to come up with an average.

Here are three reasons why. I’m sure there are many more but these three are probably among the top.


    It’s hard to come up with an accurate average because there are no two Ironman courses that are alike. The swim could be in an ocean, a lake, or a river. The bike and the run could be hilly or flat.


    Who knows what the weather is going to be like. How can you compare a race with no wind to a race with gale force winds? It could be blistering hot or really darn cold. How can you compare rough ocean water to a placid pancake-flat lake?


    Of course age is a huge factor. There are ideal ages for endurance athletes. If you’re between 20 and 30 you might have tons of speed, but chances are the triathlete who is between 30 and 45 will have better endurance. As you go up the age ladder, times begin to get slower.

Here is an example of how the Ironman Triathlon average time can even differ for the pros.

These are results from a past year when Ironman Canada, Ironman Louisville, and Ironman Wisconsin took place within two weeks of each other.

RELATED: Hardest Ironman course

The 10th place pro male in Ironman Canada would have been in 3rd place with that same time in Wisconsin or Louisville. In other words he would have been standing on the podium.

The top ten pro men in Ironman Canada all crossed the line in under nine hours. Back in Louisville only four of the top ten were in under nine hours.

Ironman Triathlon average time  -a triathlon clock

The clock is ticking

The top nine pro women in Ironman Canada were in under the ten hour mark. Only the top three in both Louisville and Wisconsin managed to break ten hours.

You can bet that it was just the same across all the age-groups as well. Most likely the age-group times in Ironman Canada across the board were faster than the other two races.
[bctt tweet=”Who cares if you crawl across the Ironman finish line. As long as you get the shirt.
via Ironstruck”]

However when it comes to age-group athletes there are some things that stay the same no matter where you race your Ironman.

If you finish the swim between 1:15 and 1:40 chances are you are going to have plenty of company when you come out of the water. It you can do swim under 1:15 you will have a lot more room to maneuver during the 2.4-mile swim and also in the swim/bike transition area.

RELATED: Ironman swim start

You will also have a lot of room on the swim course and in transition if your swim time is between 1:40-2:15. It will also be easier to find your bike. So are you a fast swimmer, an average swimmer, or a slow swimmer just trying to beat the cut-off?

Lets go with the average swimmer. Most likely your time will be around 1:20.

Super fast age-group cyclists can cover the 112-mile bike in 5:30-5:35. On the other end of the spectrum some will take almost seven hours. Many first time triathletes fall in the 5:50 to 6:35 range. So lets say 6:20 is a good average for the Ironman bike.

When it comes to the Ironman marathon, there are very few age-groupers who will run under 3:30. Then there are some who are out there for over seven hours. Most will finish the marathon between 4:00 and 5:20. If you are biking around 6:20, then it fits that your run time will be around 4:35-4:40.

With transitions the average triathlete would most likely cross the finish line with an Ironman Triathlon average time between 12:10-12:40. The very fast ones will be under 11 hours. The ones who just want to finish will average around 15 hours.

These are just ballpark figures, but look at any set of results and those are pretty much the three distinct Ironman time zones. The fast, the average, and I just want to cross the line no matter what group.

People will ask you how fast you expect to finish your first Ironman. Tell them you have no idea. Because really, you don’t. Anything can happen out there and who knows if you will be faster or slower than the Ironman Triathlon average time?