Sub-1hr session: Fasted run

This intermediate-level run drill is great for developing fat-burning economy


Rise and shine – this early morning workout from Nik Cook is great for developing fat-burning economy and Zone-2 pace management. 


As with any early morning session, get your kit ready and laid out the night before. There’s no reason why you can’t be up and out of the door within 15mins.

For this workout you’ll need: a heart rate monitor, a flat or gently undulating route, and a decent espresso beforehand.

>>> Best heart rate monitors of 2014

Fasted run


The whole session is at an easy pace but, as it’ll be first thing in the morning, ease into the first 10mins very gradually.

Main session

40mins running at heart rate Zone 1 to 2. As you find you’re able to control your heart rate, aim to run at least 50% of the entire session in Zone 2.

Don’t exceed Zone 2; this’ll undermine the effectiveness of the workout and you’ll likely suffer a nasty bonk.


10mins easy jogging, then have brekkie as soon as you get back.

Main benefits

Performance benefits

Running in a fasted state mimics the depleted shape you’ll be in at the end of a long-course triathlon and so is an effective way to elicit key endurance physiological changes if you’re short on time during the week. You’ll also find that the pace you can sustain in Zone 2 will progressively increase.

Mental benefits

Getting out first thing for a no-stress, low-pain steady run is a great way to start your day. Plus, knowing you can function on empty is a real confidence booster.

Physiological benefits

With little carbohydrates to utilise, your body is forced to turn to its fat reserves and, with regular sessions like this, soon becomes very adept at it.

This means you’ll be less reliant on carbs on race day and won’t have to walk such a nutritional knife-edge. A black coffee before you head out can aid this process, but no milk or sugar.

Adapt for Ironman

You can build this session up to 90mins. If you want to go any longer, you’ll need to carry some gels to take after the 1.5hr mark.


For lots more performance advice and drills head to our Training section