"A" Race IRONMAN 70.3
Phil's training plans focus on your "A race". Following the plan as structured will produce your best outcome at IRONMAN 70.3.
There is no reason why you can't incorporate a marathon in the lead up to an IRONMAN 70.3. Just as long as you are prepared to accept some compromise on performance for both races. Tapering and recovering from running a marathon will take time and can diffuse training effect.
Your 70.3 plan is structured to prepare you to run a distance of 13.1, however, it is also focussed on an overall race duration well in excess of your likely marathon time. So from a cardiovascular and aerobic perspective, the 70.3 programs can be relevant.
Whilst you will benefit from slightly increasing the duration of your long run sessions prior to your Marathon, try to resist the temptation to increase your run volume dramatically.
There is another reason for not increasing run volume - there is no doubt that a 3-hour run (or longer) can be a great confidence booster for a marathon. However, from a training and physiological standpoint, there are more downsides than upsides and you almost certainly increase the risk of injury that could undermine your whole program for your 70.3.
- Research has shown there is no significant increase in aerobic development when running over 90 minutes. (The majority of the physiological stimulus of long runs occurs between the 60 and 90-minute mark). The aerobic endurance runs in the 70.3 plan build to 90 - 115 minutes.
- Running for 3 hours provides no further aerobic benefits than when you run for only 2 hours.
- You can, therefore, build as much aerobic fitness during a long run of 2 hrs as you can during a 3 hr run.
- You will also be developing your aerobic fitness with the sessions in the other disciplines
- Running for longer than 2.5 hours significantly increases your chance of injury.
- Your form breaks down, your major muscles become weak through overuse and are consequently susceptible to injury.
- Recovery time is significantly lengthened.
- The total amount of time on your feet during a 3-hour plus run adds considerable fatigue to the legs, which leads to a significant delay in recovery time.
- This means you will compromise other planned sessions throughout the following week.
- The tempo and speed skill runs, contained in your 70.3 plan, are a key component to any distance running.
Therefore, to incorporate a marathon into your plan follow the 70.3 plan as closely as possible. You can gradually add a little run volume each week to your long run, however cap this at 2 hrs 30 mins at about 3 weeks before your marathon. Keep the recovery weeks as written in your plan.
Taper and Recovery
- Taking the day before the Marathon as complete rest
- Only train for 1 hour (or preferably less) in low Zone 2 on the day before that.
- Move workouts in this week and drop any speed run and bike sessions.
- After your marathon take 48 - 76 hours completely off to allow for a full recovery
- For the remainder of the week (and probably the following week) continue with training as planned (reducing intensities to Zone 2 until you feel well recovered).
If unsure, please get in touch with our certified coaching team using the email the coach button above.
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