7 Tips for Running Tip # 5 (Fartlek)

The Riddle of an Ironman's Life

NMMU Grass Track NMMU Grass Track

Once you have developed your aerobic engine, you can aim to improve your economy, strength endurance and speed by incorporating a few quality workouts into your training. A change in training adds renewed focus, but training for a road race ( or IM/70.3) is very different and there are many added stresses, so be careful of going too fast, too soon.

There is no real need to try and become the next Haile Gebrsellasie or Raynard Tissink, but taking yourself out of your comfort zone will improve your running tremendously. At this stage I would like to emphasise the need for a ‘vision’ of what it is you are aiming for (Bill Hybels defines vision as “A picture of the future that inspires passion”), because you need to be really passionate to want to transform yourself, as moving out of your comfort zone requires determination and perseverance, as it can get…

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7 Tips for Running (Tip #4 The Long Run)

The Riddle of an Ironman's Life

“The Long Run is the Golden Key to becoming a good runner” – Alec Riddle 

The one key component of developing your ability as an endurance runner, is the Long Run, so try and do 2- 4 long runs a month (experienced runners can do a midweek long run of 90 minutes). One cannot develop a decent Base, without long runs and variety is, in my opinion, the spice in a runners life, so don’t try and do the same course, at the same time, same pace, week in, week out, or your motivation may wane.

How long is a Long Run? I would say 90 minutes or longer.

Doing a Long Run in Kona (Energy Lab) with Kyle Buckingham 2012. Young Jamie in the foreground doing his 'long' run! Doing a Long Run in Kona (Energy Lab) with Kyle Buckingham 2012. Young Jamie in the foreground doing his ‘long’ run!

How fast should a Long Run be? In the inital stages of Base Training, I think err on the side of caution and run…

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7 tips for Running: Tip #3 (Base Training)

The Riddle of an Ironman's Life

Base,Base, Base!!! You have to develop your aerobic engine and the bigger the base, the more solid the foundation, the higher the peak. Build gradually, steadily
and frequently, interspersed with regular recovery sessions.

Putting in the hard yards! Putting in the hard yards!

The more consistent the pressure you put on your plumbing system(cardiovascular)  the better and the best way to do that is to train at a more consistent ‘effort’ level in base training, so be careful of taking the hard/easy methodology of training too literally.

I am a great believer in what I call steady state running. In an ideal world, discovering your  aerobic threshold, lactate turnpoints and key heart rate zones would be great,
but it is not absolutely necessary. Steady state running is running just beyond
conversational pace and upwards and there are two ways to judge when you have
‘maximised’ this form of training. (In other words just below the red line…

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The Bigger the Base, The Higher the Peak!

7 Tips for Ironman Running-by Alec Riddle

7 Tips for Ironman Running-by Alec Riddle



7 tips to Ironman running Tip #2 (Easy Running)

Small choices and Little steps lead to GIANT consequences over time.
Successful people take little steps each day, embracing the small windows of opportunity that are presented to them. They march towards their goals, one step at a time and the days become weeks, the weeks become months and the months become years. And before you know it they have reached a place called Extraordinary.

Your running could improve beyond recognition; it is about making small choices and taking little steps over time BUT it requires immense patience and belief in what you are going to do, or have signed up for! The problem in this modern world that we live in, is that we expect instant results and we think that by going faster, harder, longer & more often we can accelerate our improvement. Unfortunately the opposite is true, so set aside the instant gratification mindset and be prepared to build slowly. Ironman Kona 2012 017

When you start out, or get going after a break (Rest & Recovery) it is important to start with easy running. This is the tedious part of the programme, as you can’t see quickfire results, but this is about laying a foundation. It is about preparing the body (and the mind) for the base training; the long runs and quality sessions which will be added in months to come BUT first up you have to allow the body to adapt to the low intensity stress that any form of running will subject it to (even easy running).

I call this Training to Train (T2T)! IT entails many conversational type runs and just allowing the body to feel comfortable with running. In preparing for Ironman, our group would run a 20km run on a Tuesday at a comfortable/conversational pace, nothing hard just Time on Legs for 1hr40-50. For most folk training for Ironman (and it was for our group), this would be a key session in the months leading up to Ironman as we are often time limited in our build up.

Imagine if you decided you wanted to be a better runner and you started 8-10 months prior to your IM or 70.3 and one of the first things you worked on was ‘easy running’ and within 2 months you were running an easy 20km mid week run every fortnight? Picture the foundation you are building and what can be built upon that Foundation, it is actually quite mind blowing to say the least!

I have utilised an example of a 20km run, but don’t go leaping into 20k runs, as I could and perhaps should have utilised an example of a 5 or 10km run. It should not be taken out of context.

Another important thing to realise is that ‘stress’ occurs when we exercise and it is about the time spent doing, so I would rather advocate time as opposed to distance. The reason for that is that a top IM runner may take 80 minutes for 20km and another athlete may take 2 hours, same distance but more stress for the slower runner, assuming both are running at the same effort.

I would advocate 3-4 weeks of easy running, before moving on to a more focussed Base Training Phase, which will be discussed under Tip #3.

7 tips to Ironman running Tip #1 (Rest and Recovery)

The Riddle of an Ironman's Life

When preparing for an Ironman and particularly the marathon run, as the anchor leg of the Ironman, it is important to identify with the fact that for the majority,
Ironman is a very long endurance event.

There are essentially two types of athletes doing IM, one set will be the beginners, or novices and the majority of their training time should be spent on developing their aerobic engine. I think that 80% of Ironman entrants could improve their IM marathon time by 20-30 minutes +, if they were armed with the knowledge of what they should be doing. IM is not a fast race, it is an endurance  event and you need to ensure that when the going gets tough, that you keep going, particularly on the run.

The second set of athletes are those who have done IM, or ultra events previously, are Age Group contenders and are looking at improving…

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Running Principle #1 (Specificity)

boulder2011 527To get better at something you have to practice doing that activity (regularly). Runners would naturally spend most of their time running, while Triathletes have to try and balance their cross training efforts. However, Triathletes have to realise that swim, bike or gym training may well limit their development as a pure runner, even though it prepares them for the rigours of running after a swim/bike.

As we are focussed on Running here it is important to acknowledge that to get better at running, that is what you need to repeatedly stress. Distance runners will avoid heavy cycling, swimming or gym work, as the extra body or muscle mass will impede their running ability.

For Ironman participants, Specificity is extremely important. Read more…. https://ironmansa.com/2011/11/27/7-tips-for-im-running-tip-5-specific-conditioning/1174929_634108286611304_1718684164_n[1]