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

Kenyan runners

Reasons why Kenyan runners are among the top runners in the world.

Intense training and attention to nutrition would probably be right near the top of what makes Kenyan runners so amazing..

From the very first time I ever saw the Kenyans run in the Olympic Games I became a big fan.

The Kenyan runners are amazing and regardless of race distance they always seem to be near the top when the dust settles.

Road races, track meets, cross-country, or the Olympics–it simply does not matter–Kenyan runners are proficient at all types of running and at any distance the race happens to be.

It’s almost as if they have an endless supply of speed and their endurance is remarkable.

There are many differing opinions on why the Kenyans have such a gift for running. Some say that it’s because they grew up at a high altitude and as a result have highly-developed lung power.
Kenyans runners

Some say it’s because Kenyan runners have been genetically gifted with the ideal body structure for running.

There are even some who say it’s because they had to run ten miles to school every day. Most Kenyans have a good laugh at that one. They claim the only running they ever did for school was when the bell rang for class to start.

Despite all the guess-work Kenyans success at endurance running might be explained simply by their dedication to training and proclivity for hard work.


I once read this quote from an Olympic athlete.

when you take too many days off from training, someone–somewhere in the world will be training and on the big day when you meet up with him, you will lose to him.

Maybe that’s what the Kenyans think because their training regimen is nothing short of legendary.

However there is also a danger that by taking the message of that quote to heart. The average runner will train too much and ignore the necessity for proper rest and recovery time. This does not seem to be the case for Kenyan runners.

female Kenyan runners

It seems to make sense that in order to run at the level they do, Kenyan runners must be able to withstand an incredible amount of stress on their bodies.

It’s not unusual at all for Kenyan runners to have three training sessions per day if they are preparing for a special race. Even in the most serious marathon circles in North America that type of training is unheard of.

I believe that’s because they have endurance running backgrounds that were ingrained at a very young age. Their bodies have grown accustomed to the rigors and pounding of hours and hours of running per day.


It doesn’t matter what country one is from or how accomplished a runner one happens to be, a sound diet is an essential component to success.

The Kenyans seem to have that figured out and their spartan and simple diet does wonders for fueling them and propelling them to the top of the running world.

Something important to consider is that even from their youth, they ate adequate calories to fuel their love for running.

Proper nutrition to increase endurance and sustain stamina and aid recovery became ingrained into their eating habits at a very young age. They did not have fast food joints at every crossroads in the village to tempt them.

For many North Americans, a good running diet is something they might adopt when they decide to take up the sport later in life. It’s seldom eating habits they grew up with.


The Kenyans are not big fans of most Western food. If they are based out of the United States, most Kenyans might indulge themselves to some fast food once a month. As one Kenyan champion stated, “a little unhealthy food once in a while is not a bad thing.”

They avoid packaged and processed food like the plague. The same goes for sweet snack foods. The in-between-meals snack of choice is fresh fruit.

As a rule the Kenyans eat two meals (lunch and dinner) daily and if they are running three times a day will have a light breakfast as well. That light breakfast might be bread and butter or perhaps a couple of boiled eggs.

ugali for Kenyan runners

Ugali is a Kenyan staple and a favorite food of Kenyan runners.

If they are having just two main meals, breakfast is nothing more than tea with lots of milk and sugar before and after their first workout of the day. They may also have some fruit to settle their stomachs.

A typical lunch might consist of a few pieces of chicken and rice or potatoes topped with other vegetables. If they are running twice a day this meal(lunch)would be after the first run.

Note how carbohydrate-rich this lunch is. What this does is replenish their glycogen stores and prepare them for the second run later in the day.


It appears that most Kenyans include about 60% carbohydrates in their calorie intake per day and avoid added fats as much as possible.

This differs greatly from the 40-30-30(carbohydrate, fat, protein)Sears diet that is widely accepted by many endurance athletes in North America.

Dinner is eaten after the final run of the day and normally it’s a late dinner by North American standards. Possibly this is because they seldom have a big breakfast. At least that’s my best guess.

A large meal before an endurance training session or race can make a runner feel pretty uncomfortable. It gives your body little time to process the calories so that they will do any good.

The preferred dinner main course for a Kenyan runner is a traditional Kenyan dish called “ugali”. It’s actually a thick cornmeal porridge for lack of a better description.

As a rule they eat it almost every day and the rest of their dinner is sort of built around the ugali. Apparently it’s pretty tasteless, but at the same time is very carbohydrate rich.

Ugali might not sound so great to North Americans, but Kenyan runners love it and it’s hard to argue with their success.

Want to know more? Here’s an UGALI RECIPE for you.