Running An Ironman Marathon

Ironman aspirations are dashed during the marathon. It is extremely difficult – virtually never achieved – to have a successful marathon after cycling 112 hard Km. Learn how to complete your Ironman marathon.

Figuring out how to get ready for an Ironman is a challenge. You’ll soon come to find out that there’s a lot more that goes into ironman training than just swimming, biking and running.

Before delving into the particulars of what it takes to prepare for an ironman, such as gear, exercise plans, and event choices, let us first look at the overall perspective.


A competition based on Iron Man is a triathlon, wherein competitors demonstrate their athletic ability by swimming, biking, and running.

The phrase “Iron Man competition” is often used to describe any triathlon that has specific distances for each leg, but the term “Ironman” specifically refers to a series of triathlon competitions with that same name.

Every year, a competition runs through three separate locations, and one of them takes place in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Contestants must swim 3.86 km across the Kailua-Kona Bay, ride a bicycle 180.2 km from Keauhou to Hawi and then return, and finally, run from Keauhou to Keahole Point and then make their way back. Around the world, many Ironman triathlons are held.

Average Ironman time

The typical completion time for an Ironman is between 12 and 14 hours; normally, women take an average of 13 hours and 26 minutes to finish, while men take 12 hours and 17 minutes. Swimming accounts for 10% of the competition, biking covers 50% and running accounts for 38%.

The last remaining fraction of the time is spent transitioning, often referred to as T1 and T2. During the phase between T1 and T2, expenses take up 2 per cent of the period.

If you’re planning on taking part in an Ironman Marathon in 2023, many athletes and coaches suggest devoting at least half of your practice to cycling.

Athletes’ quantity of spare time, record and expertise, domicile, atmospheric conditions and the physical land, and their individual tastes could all have an influence on this.

Ironman participation

Taking part in the Ironman marathon can be tough for people who have not done much exercise or been very active. Most people think that only those who are in good physical shape and trim can take part in the Ironman marathon, but this is incorrect.

People between the ages of thirteen and eighty-nine have accomplished an Ironman or Iron-distance triathlon. Anybody can finish an Ironman with the proper application of effort and a well-structured training regimen.

It is recommended to make appointments with your primary care doctor before participating in the Ironman competition. As you gear up for the run, you will be pushing your physical limits, and getting a checkup with a doctor can make sure your body is healthy and ready.

Race options

Deciding which Ironman marathon race to compete in is a very complex decision, particularly if it is your introduction to this type of event. Feel free to devote the required time to research. It is possible to look for the easiest or most advanced Ironman for those just starting out, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the ideal or most uncomplicated Ironman.

  • Find out which event more seasoned athletes, friends, and coaches suggest for an Ironman newcomer.
  • Consider the terrain, the expected weather and temperatures, and your gear/equipment accordingly.
  • Consider the situations in which you excel: Do you enjoy the heat and humidity, or would you plunge into a 60-degree swim? Do you like to ride or run on undulating or hilly terrain, or do you prefer quick, flat courses?
  • If you want to make race day a vacation, travel to a destination race or participate in your hometown course. Could you do it alone or with your friends and family cheering you on? These factors can significantly impact your race day experience.

These courses are favoured by experienced athletes as they give them a chance to strive for their personal bests. These races are so popular that tickets get snapped up quickly.

Volunteers have the advantage of enrolling first when sign-up for the next year’s Ironman Arizona race opens, so there is often intense rivalry to be a volunteer at this event.

Training time

The length of time needed to achieve your goal is contingent on your physical condition and if you will spend 6 months or 12 months toward it.

People who take on the challenge of an Ironman and complete it within 24 hours can prepare themselves for the event by training for six months. It will take 12 months for those new to the world’s quickest ironman marathon and those only starting their triathlon preparation.

You can take part in a course lasting from 12 to 16 weeks. It takes just three to four months of training to get ready for an Ironman event. Unless you are an experienced triathlete who works out seven to ten times every week, attempting to get ready for a triathlon in only a month is a risky proposition.

In other words, the amount of work that is needed to succeed in Ironman training will exhaust you. You should have several sessions of exercise spread over a 4-5 day period, and longer and more intensive ones lasting 1-2 days closer to the race.

It is essential to locate an Ironman program that suits your present fitness level so that you can prevent harm, gradually increase yourself, and fully appreciate your training.

Having a coach

It is recommended to use the most effective training methods and employ the services of an instructor. All athletes, no matter their age, have adhered to these routines to ensure readiness and positivity to start the race.

Coming up with a fitness regimen on short notice can be intimidating, particularly if you are not used to participating in triathlons. It can lead to harm, exhaustion, or a very negative experience in the race.

How would it work if the exercise routines were able to fit into your routine? It would be beneficial to consult a triathlon coach for guidance on how to prepare for an Ironman race. Mentors can give tips on how to get ready for an Ironman competition, what the day of the race might be like, and how to handle and fix any problems that arise (including any wounds or traumas).

Teams that do triathlons or coaches that are experienced in training can provide you with the best possible workout tips if you have the opportunity to use them. Triathletes take pleasure in passing on their skill set and experience to beginners during training and on the day of the competition.

Ironman training plans

It is always advisable to follow a structured program designed by a knowledgeable instructor.

The process of dividing up the year’s training into distinct periods known as periodization is taken into account in any carefully thought-out Ironman workouts. Here are the following training plans you need to follow:

  • Base: This period is often spent primarily performing aerobic endurance training to build a fitness foundation. It is true, as per se, “The bigger your base, the faster the race.” Consider this period as establishing the groundwork for the forthcoming season.
  • Build: It usually occurs six to twelve weeks before the marathon (depending on the athlete and their experience). Higher-intensity work and race-pace efforts will start to be included in the training. You should also begin including brick sessions (swim to cycle and bike to run).
  • Race: Preparing for the changeover and practising nutrition is part of race-specific training.
  • Recover: This is when competitors will take 2 or 6 weeks off from regular training to participate in sports other than swimming, cycling, and running.

Running a marathon is hard

An age-group triathlete can benefit greatly by planning to train for a marathon instead of competing in triathlons later in the season. You should expect to feel more speedy from the intensive, varying runs that you execute in preparation for your marathon.

If you’ve taken some time away from the biking and swimming you did for the majority of the year, you may feel livelier and less weighed down in an extended race.

The running element of an Ironman requires great stamina and can oftentimes mean that your body is in a state of extensive exhaustion, making the running a form of survival “shuffle” due to the athlete’s physical prowess and nutritive competence.

If you want to finish a marathon quickly and with no assistance, you must have trained specifically to run a distance of 26.2 miles at top speed and be able to fuel and hydrate yourself enough to avoid exhaustion.

Right away, you’ll begin to feel exhausted when participating in an Ironman competition, because the race has already been going on for six or seven hours.

Maintaining a consistent, strong pace during a marathon can be much harder than running in an Ironman race according to Mike Ricci, a USA Triathlon Level 3 coach and age-group athlete from Boulder, Colorado. While fatigue doesn’t arrive until the end of a solo marathon, it’s the challenging task of sustaining the swift pace towards the conclusion of a marathon which is far more difficult.

Ricci commented that when one strays from their intended pace per mile in a marathon, it is especially difficult to return to the goal time. He believes it may sound absurd, but the inevitable mental challenge that follows is real. But doing an Ironman marathon requires great stamina rather than speed, and the key is to keep up a constant aerobic pace until you have no more energy left.

One of the benefits of participating in an open marathon is that you have a chance to be fully prepared, energized, and most significantly, very much alert when the beginning of the race is signalled.

In theory, you should be able to keep your performance level slightly below the ‘red line’ for the entire 26.2-mile marathon distance in a marathon race, which obviously is not realistic in an Ironman event due to the large amounts of fatigue and lack of hydration and nutrition from the bike portion.

Although the marathon portion of an Ironman event is generally considered a Zone 2 intensity effort, it seldom feels comfortable the entire way through. However, your performance is correlated to how skilfully you can consume energy. The intensity is heightened because the majority of participants in an open marathon are pushing themselves to the limits of Zone 3.

Ricci observed that it would be extremely difficult to stay at a consistent speed equal to Zone 3 or Tempo pace for an entire marathon. At an Ironman, it is difficult to predict the running pace exactly due to the different factors that can influence your performance.

How cycling fitness affects your Ironman marathon split

Sara Fix, a 28-time Ironman finisher and USAT Level I triathlon coach based in suburban Chicago, explained that an important factor in the Ironman marathon is having a new bike fit that allows one to maintain a streamlined stance for most of the 112-mile cycling part.

Fix noted that it is meaningless to be a great runner if you are not adequately conditioned to ride a bike, as it won’t benefit you during an Ironman. I remain convinced that running is the most important discipline in this sport, however, you cannot succeed unless you can effectively move from cycling to running. If you lack the necessary physical conditioning to ride a bike, or you haven’t been able to keep up having enough energy supplies to use, you will not be able to do a run.

In other words, Fix gives athletes a general idea of the speed they could maintain by increasing their mile repeat track pace by one minute or their fast long run practice pace by two minutes.

If an athlete can do 6:30-6:40 speed runs on the track and keep up a jogging pace of 7:30-7:40 for their distance training runs, they should be capable of running 8:30-8:40 pace and aim to finish a 3:40-3:50 marathon at an Ironman.

Similarly, a triathlete that can do a 7-minute 50-second lap on the track and a 9-minute mile during more extended training runs could aim for a 10-minute/mile speed and a 4-minute 15 to 4-minute 25-second finish split in the race.

Fix indicated that the estimation was based on properly using the bike and providing the individual with adequate nourishment.

Even if your bike ride went exactly as planned, you will still have to have the determination and adequately fuel your body to have a successful run. A lot of folks find that they have to resort to walking instead of running during the marathon portion of an Ironman due to a lack of proper preparedness.

Become skilled at dismounting the bike while training and hone this ability during sprint events. She recommends athletes make brick workouts a normal element of their practice program by combining run-bike sessions two or three times per week, if feasible.

Doing these sorts of brick workouts can make you more comfortable with changing from biking to running and running while tired. It will also help you to develop a regular running pattern while dealing with the uneasiness of the transition.

During the peak of his career, triple Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander was accustomed to engaging in prolonged, difficult rides and then dismounting his bicycle to run 16 one-mile segments at a vigorous rate. It’s impossible to expect an age-grouper to do that, however, doing similar brick efforts could be tremendously beneficial. For instance, one may ride a bicycle for two hours and afterwards do 8 intervals of 1 mile at a swift but steady speed.

The run-walk method

Fix and Ricci are suggesting that athletes should employ a method of running and walking before the race gets so difficult that the only way for them to reach the end is by walking.

Rather than tough it out with a jog the whole way, it is more sensible to switch back and forth between running and walking throughout the entire 26 miles.

Since the 1980s when Jeff Galloway, an Olympian, managed to finish a marathon at 2:16:35 taking breaks for walking every mile, the idea of the run-walk method has been embraced in running.

This strategy is implemented to provide relief from the strain of racing. It requires running for a specified period, taking a planned rest, and repeating each step in a specific way.

Many people think of the run-walk approach mainly in connection with novice runners, but even more, advanced runners and triathletes will utilize it in both marathon competitions and Ironman events.


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