"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 the training effect.
Your 70.3 plan is structured to prepare you to run a distance of 13.1. However, it is also focused 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.
Although it may be beneficial to gradually increase the duration of your long runs leading up to your Marathon, it is key to avoid dramatically increasing your overall run volume.
It is important to consider that while a 3-hour run or longer may boost your confidence for the marathon, it can also have negative effects on your training. Increasing your run volume significantly may increase the risk of injury, which could derail your entire 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, and 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 runs within your 70.3 plan are key components 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 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 - 72 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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