Blaze through your Ironman marathon with the help of these tough run training drills

Run 10k faster than everWhether it’s your first or your fifth Ironman, these sessions will help you as you prepare for the biggest physical challenge of your life.

Before having a crack at these killer sessions, you should have been working towards your Ironman goal for a couple of months and have built up your swim, bike and run volume.

The sessions are designed to take place at the end of a structured and progressive 10-to-16-week build phase and to see you into the race preparation phase of training. These workouts aren’t for the faint-hearted, but then neither is the challenge of an Ironman.

Keep the pace hot throughout with our killer bike and swim training drills.

Session One: The Triple Twenty

Time needed 1 hr 30 mins
Coaching tip This run session avoids you spending 20 weeks in an Ironman build-up just plodding around. It reminds you what it’s like to pick up the pace, keeps your mind alive, provides physical stimulation and keeps you feeling fit. Accelerate your running speed each 20 mins for an hour. This session should be run on a flat out-and-back course to enable distance and progress to be measured over time. It can be run using heart rate, effort level or running speed as the measure of intensity increases.

Warm up
  • 15 mins easy paced
Main set
  • 20 mins at steady pace
  • 20 mins at threshold pace
  • 20 mins at fast pace
Warm down
  • 15 mins easy paced

Make it easier Cut the main session down to 3×15 mins and reduce the warm up and warm down to 10 mins each.

Session Two: The Long One

Time needed 3 hrs
Coaching tip Long run at IM target run pace. Be really honest with this pace. What pace do you hope to be able hold off the bike? Work out your minute miles and stick to them – even if it feels slow!

Main set
  • 3-hour run at target IM race pace.

Make it easier No way – this one’s for everyone.

Session Three: The 50-15 Mega Brick

Time needed 5 hrs
Extra equipment Bike, helmet, nutrition/ energy belt.
Coaching tip This session is all about the run off the bike. It allows you to practise both pacing on the bike and run speed afterwards. Nutritional strategies should be put in place right from the start of the bike. Think: pace and energy on the bike fuels the run. Do the run on an out-and-back course (7.5 miles each way) or on 3×5 mile loops and preferably one that replicates your chosen IM run route.

  • 35 miles ridden at an effort level marginally easier than IM race effort.
  • 15 miles at IM race pace.
  • Run off the bike: 15 miles. 
  • First 5 miles at target IM run speed. 
  • Second 5 miles increase the pace to marginally above IM target running speed. 
  • Final 5 miles settle back into and hold IM race pace run speed.

Make it easier? 40 miles bike followed by 12 miles at constant and controlled IM race pace.