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How to train for an Ironman Marathon

The Ironman marathon is a different beast to a straight-out marathon. Though I have to admit, racing a marathon without a bike almost hurts more? Running at an uncomfortable pace from start to finish is taxing on both the mind and the body, it’s easy to see why it takes so long to recover from.


Consistency is king

Training for an Ironman marathon is possible with just one thing. Consistency.

You can’t rush speed, or miles. You can go out and hammer yourself into the ground day after day, running as hard, long or as fast as you can. You’ll only get injured, ill or end up going slower.


Take it one day at a time

Staying consistent and doing little by little, day by day, is the best way to be ready for a marathon. Options like a double run day to replicate running on heavy legs and staying strong when your legs begin to feel like they’ll give up.

Or, mixing in some brick sessions to give your legs that added bit of strength are great ways to begin to be ready for the back end of the marathon, when it really takes its toll.

But as we all know, the training doesn’t make you any fitter, the recovery does. Making sure you’re properly fuelled before, during and after training will make a huge difference to your recovery and allow you to keep the consistency you need.


Fuel right

Whether it’s a quick bar or gel before the session, gels during, and a rego or protein bar immediately after. All these things will allow you to perform at the best of your ability.

If you know the marathon is going to be warm, practicing with electrolytes and drinks are a fantastic way to prepare, work out a loop where you can stop at home and pick up the bottle briefly or persuade a friend to cycle next to you on your long run.

I find that I fuel best with carefully calculated gels while I’m training and racing so that my stomach can digest them easily and the energy transfers straight into my legs.

These small things will begin to add up and allow you to commit 100% to every training session. Building the strength and consistency in the legs is the foundation of marathon training. It’s easy to find speed when you have such a solid base.


Train the body and mind

As well as building strength and nutrition into your routine, don’t neglect the mental aspect of the marathon. A marathon is a long way, you don’t have to go out looking for the pain, it’ll find you through the race, trust me. But if you’re ready for it, embrace it, accept it, and find ways to manage it.

Detach yourself from it, fill yourself with all the things that keep you going when the times are tough. Feed on positive thoughts and self-belief. KM 28-36 are going to hurt, but if you’re ready, you can take it.

Train smart, train hard, and make sure you’re fuelled by science! It’ll make all the difference.

Written By

Jack Schofield