Run focussed Iron distance training

Anyone got experience with run focussed plans? Examples?

Iirc fink was heavy on running, but I’m not sure that’s the same as focussed on run. Could be by volume or intensity.

Run continues to be my weakest discipline although it is improving, so I’m looking at focussing on improving run in Q1 again and I have a hankering for Lanza if it’s happening, plus I have Brighton Mara postponed to April.


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Running ruins you.
Do more cycling.

I could quite easily run under 1:30 off any 70.3 bike split, but, over IM distance?
That run just went completely to pot.

I was never able to even get under 3:40, which is horrific.
I put that down to me not doing the bikes - the 6hr ones in the TT position, the 5 hour ones to power, not just once, but at least five times in the lead-in.

You start the longer rides now.
Make sure you’re comfortable with riding for three hours over winter.
Jan-Mar increase that to four.
Then Apr-Jun it’s five hour ride on the TT bike to power.

That will improve your run come race day.
You’re welcome :kissing_heart:

(also, if you want to improve your bike, see how to improve your swim first)


What he said. 180km on your own into the wind is going to seriously blunt your run if you’re not prepared.

What you need to do kinda depends whether it is running in general that is your limiter, or running off the bike (as @Poet and @Jorgan say)

I thought @Poet was going to say buy some alphafly runners

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I think @Poet is paid to be a Nike influencer


And depends whether you want the run focus so you can include stand-alone running (marathon) or so you can run better at the end of the ironman bike. The former will need you to run more, the latter can be achieved by biking more.

It is :blush:

I have to agree with @Poet, The best runner in the our tri club, Daniel Gartner, runs a sub 2:40 marathon and 1h10m Half. At the Helveticman Tri, I passed him on the bike about half way round, and he then kept up with me, I came out of T2 around 4 mins ahead of him, and expected to be passed in the first 2 km. He never passed me, in fact his run was 20 mins slower.

For a good AG, the key is not to be an amazing running, but be a good cyclist who can complete the bike leg with plenty of reserves to run. Looking at past results in Lanza, people seem to leave it all on the bike course and then have a terrible run.

I’ve not got a specific program, but early on the season, I was running a half marathon every week, usually at a slow pace and often fasted. The aim was always to do a negative split. The fasted runs (I would say at least once per month) were incredibly painful

I also often do fasted long bikes, then a brick.

What I have found is that I always have a really painful period from the 2nd to 3rd hour, after the 3rd hour I am good for a long time, but at a lower intensity. For example, on the bike I can ride at 270w for 2 hours, then I will struggle to maintain 200w for an hour, then I am good for 230w for a long while. I think that this is the period where I go from using glycogen as primary energy to using fat.

What this means in practical terms is that all of my triathlon runs are in this fat burning state. And I need to train to maximise my run pace at this point. So riding 5 hours is 3 hours getting your body to the right point and 2 hours training. Alternatively you could ride 3 hours and run for 1 or 2 hours. The issue with that is running knackered is much more likely to result in injury

I’m now waiting for the coaches to shoot me down


I think @stenard did a higher run focus than maybe traditional for his sub-10? Though this was a personal coach, not an off-the-peg plan.

And didn’t he all but drop swimming and cycling to achieve his 2:48 marathon?

@joex - Give us some splits to work with :+1:t3:




Just an extra observation, a break in the middle of my long ride really screws me up. So my average pace is much better on a 6 hour ride than a 4 hour ride, 1 hour lunch followed by a 2 hour ride

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Good knowledge! I was about to write something similar based on my own experiences.

My coach had more of a run focus, and I was doing more runs on an average week than bike sessions. And all of the bike sessions were pretty moderate, between IM and HIM power.

But compared to what Poet outlined as implying “bike heavy”…

…I did not see as a bike heavy plan at all, and I still did that number of long rides. I was basically doing 100miles every Saturday for about 5-6 weeks. All on the TT bike. Most having repeating 20min segments of HIM power into IM power, then a break, repeat.

So there is a balance. I fully agree you need to be strong enough on the bike to ride for 4.5-6.5hrs, but as long as you don’t come off broken, I think there is a lot to be said for being “run conditioned”. I had done so many aerobic runs of 60mins on tired legs during my training block, that getting off the bike and dialling into 4:30/km pace felt pretty comfortable. And at that stage, I’d a marathon pb of 3:04. I probably only started to slow at 20miles or so.

As much as the bike is the longest part of the day, the run is still the attritional part of the whole event. It’s the bit where if your soft tissue (muscles, tendons, etc) are not properly conditioned to running, the fatigue from the bike is just going to wear you down.

As a first ever IM run, I ran 3:25 and didn’t walk once except for my planned walk breaks through every other aid station. I put that down to effectively finding running pretty easy, as I’d done so much of it. But it only worked because I could also get off a bike after 5+ hours of riding and feel ok.


I didn’t mean it as “bike heavy” more “bike normal”
I’ve mentioned doing 4-6hr rides for at least five times in the lead in, which you’ve mentioned you did a century ride for 5-6 weeks.
That’s perfect training. And perfectly normal.
I was never anywhere near that.

I’ve never been a massive fan of cycling, so always make an excuse to not ride :speak_no_evil::see_no_evil:

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Yet how many times have you gone out and ridden 200km now, by yourself?! I’ve never once ridden that far!

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Erm…three times this year?
Once last year?


Back to running for @joex

So yes agree with everyone saying great runners don’t need to focus on run, they need to focus on bike to improve their IM run.

SWOT analysis tells me my weakness is running, so what training plans focus on improving running?

My run has been weak since the beginning because I was new to training at all when I started Tri and risk aversion to injury has kept me healthy but slow.
Luckily my leisure swimming as a kid and natural upper body strength made swim my strongest discipline.

I swim good enough to be sub 11/12, I bike good enough to be sub 13/14, and I run good enough to complete :slight_smile:

My run is slowly improving, half mara 2h14 (2014) -> 2h07 (2016) - 1h57 (2019) -> 1h50 (2020)

These last two years I’ve focussed on running via marathon training in Q1 and there are good signs my marathon this year would have been 3h45-4h fieId executed at all, and properly instead of 2019s 4h55.

So I don’t think there’s any argument, running is my weak spot. Not tri running.

My aim next month is to break 5h for the Ironman run which will be a revolution for me, ideally near 4h45.

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Oh :see_no_evil:
Consider me suitably admonished!

What would you like to run in a 70.3?
I’m about 8% slower in a 70.3 than a standalone HM.
With that drop-off, you should be seeing under 2 hours for your 70.3 runs.
(Maybe the % drop off gets larger the slower you are? Sorry, not so “scienced” up on that bit)

I’d say…if you really want to improve your running, get a RW plan and replace the RECOVERY runs with an easy bike or easy swim, just to keep them ticking over. You’ve probably got to start thinking like a runner for 13 weeks and not a multisport athlete.

I think once you’ve made that “step change” in your running pace, it’ll stick :+1:t3:

FWIW: I was a 7-8:00 400m swimmer, then I got injured and could only swim. Within a few months of that, I was easily doing 6:00/400m and that’s stuck with me, I’d guess the same goes for running?

However, running comes sort of easyish to me;
I did my first 5km under 20 minutes, first 10km under 40 minutes and second half marathon under 90 minutes (first one I got stuck behind bloody Mr Blobby and Scooby Doo etc for the first 5km :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:)

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Yes, taking on the run less run faster plan which is pace-based was a paradigm shift for me and - perhaps thanks to years of running easy - I can now run hard without getting injured and my easy aerobic pace is now what my half mara pace used to be :grinning: but there is a fair way to go. I believe Im nearly there for a 2h 70.3 run, but getting to a 4-4h30 IM run will take some focus.

Ive learned a lot these past few years so Ill probably devise my own plan, but Im interested to see what other run focussed plans are like to see if there are any ideas I like.

Im likely to carry through ideas from this year and put intensity not volume into my run, and reduce intensity on the bike which I also made big gains on this year. Then later in 2021 switch to a bike and swim focus and shift the intensity out of my running.

I ran a 54 odd minute 10km, a year later, having done no running in between,I ran a 41 odd minute 10km. Some of that was weight loss, but most of it was just being aerobically fitter.

Of course, the question is, are you aerobically limited? Or is it something in the actual legs?