Ironman 70.3 run sessions
Credit: James Mitchell
Training > Run

70.3 run advice and sessions from Will Clarke

Ironman pro Will Clarke shares his top tips and sessions for conquering the middle-distance run leg

 BUILD AN ENGINE

You should build the engine in all areas. You need to have completed long runs so you can get through the distance with ease and your base stamina is in place. You should add tempo runs to build strength, which can be done on the hills or the flat, and performing some interval sessions way above your race pace should be added in the mix as well. If you can’t fit all that in in one week, then you should periodise it so that you’re covering all bases in the run-up to an Ironman 70.3 event. 

 RECOVER STRONG

I’m a big believer in [mixed intensity] Fartlek running for 70.3 racing and above, but I still like to keep the recovery fairly strong so there’s a strength element to it. So a simple session I like to do is 4mins, 3mins, 2mins, 1min intervals twice through, with recovery runs of half the interval duration between them (2mins, 1:30mins, 1min, 30secs). I’d run a session like this at 3mins per kilometre, but the recovery would still be around 4:10min pace, so you’re actually finishing the run with a very good average speed and you’ve also got some pretty fast running in there. Obviously adapt it to your own pacing levels.

NEGATIVE SPLIT

Always at least try to even split the run or, even better, produce a negative split. As tempting as it may be to run out fast when you’re fresh after T2, it usually doesn’t end well and it’s a painful way to run a half marathon. Once you blow up the legs it’s hard to come back from that. Save something for the last lap so motivation is running high and you have the options to pass people, rather than fighting them off! 

 OPT FOR CAFFEINE

I run out of T2 with three Vifit caffeine gels. I take one straight away then one every 30mins. Remember to wash these down with water out on the course, otherwise you can get a bad gut. If I’m feeling the pinch once halfway, I start drinking Cola. If that doesn’t bring you back to life, nothing will! 

ULTIMATE RUN SET INTERVALS

Benefits? A speed endurance session focusing on improving longer-distance race pace How close to race day? Between 2-8wks prior to race day

Distance: 10km Location Treadmill or road Kit Race trainers, stopwatch

Nutrition: eat a light meal up to 3hrs prior to session, have a post-session protein snack ready, and approx. 500ml of energy/electrolyte based fluids

 Warm-up 

1km with increases in pace up to sprints

 Main set

8 x 1km as [600m @ race pace/400m @ 20secs per km faster than race pace];

1min RI between sets

 Cool-down 

500m @ PE 5

ADAPTATION

Beginner Divide the session as 700m/300m

Advanced Increase session up to 10 x 1km efforts

ULTIMATE RUN SET ENDURANCE

Benefits? Improve race distance pace by including changes in pace during long runs making the race day feel more comfortable How close to race day? Between 8-3wks prior to race day

Distance: 16km Location Road/trail – try to create a route that replicates your race

Kit: race trainers, tri-suit, GPS watch Nutrition Approx. 250ml of energy/electrolyte fluids per hour and 1 x energy gel per 45mins during session. Recover with post-session protein and meal within 2hrs

Warm-up

1km with increases in pace up to sprints

Main set

14-15km that includes 3 x 3km at 10% faster than your desired 70.3 race pace. To improve strength you should
also include hills

Cool-down 

500m @ PE 5

ADAPTATION

Beginner: reduce the efforts down to 3 x 2km in main set

Advanced: aim for significant changes in pace


 
 

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