Your running ability off the bike in an Ironman depends on your bike durability. This workout will help. – fcendurance

Your running ability off the bike in an Ironman depends on your bike durability. This workout will help.

In an Ironman and half Ironman, a great run result is a pace close to your stand alone half marathon or marathon time (7 – 9%).  Nobody expects to run faster than this.  Unfortunately, the drop off that some athletes experience falls in the 20% range and beyond.  What’s your slowdown?

Clearly, this slowdown is not merely a function of your running ability.  Even the most elite runners will be compromised if they hammer their legs on the bike before lacing up their shoes.

So what’s the solution?  You could take the bike nice and easy to retain some of your running potential. While this will help, your total result at the finish line will be less than desirable.  

The best way to help your running is to make your legs bullet proof on the bike so they are able to take a beating. Simply riding more miles won’t help.

We do this by focusing on bike specific strength work.  There are a variety of ways to do this, but here is a great strength workout.  Remember, Ironman is a strength-endurance sport.  It’s not just about endurance. 

In 2015 Team FC athletes posted a total of 77 personal bests and most of these improvements were in the form of a better bike/run combination.  Here’s a look at a staple bike strength workout.  

Warm Up

20′ easy warm up at a variety of cadences. Mix in some harder efforts too to prime the legs.

Main Set:

15 min. at 60 rpm Z3/Z4 w/ 5 min. easy spin to recover

15 min. at 50 rpm @ Z3/Z4 w/ 5 min. easy spin to recover

10 min. at 45 rpm @ Z3/Z4 w/ 5 min. easy spin to recover

5-10 minute easy cool down

Outside or on trainer. I prefer the trainer.

Intensity should be Z3/Z4.  You should feel this in your legs well before your lungs.  Key is to make sure you are not breathing heavy (like in an all out tt effort) during these efforts – get right to the point before breathing becomes very labored. The challenge of this ride builds as intensity wears away at you. Keep breathing under control and this will make sure the workout targets your leg strength. If you are not feeling it in your legs, then add more resistance.

Want a few more strategies for improving your ironman and half ironman run?


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