Running on Fatigued Legs

Posted on 19 May 2011

This topic has been receiving some publicity lately.  I have received a lot of questions related to how to finish the run strong.

Recently, I read an article recommending for Ironman athletes to consider not doing a long run on Sunday but rather a 10-13 mile hard run instead.  There may be some benefits from incorporating a hard 10-13 miler for Ironman training buildup but it should not replace the benefits gained from a long fatigued leg run.

I have written about these fatigued leg workouts for years and as triathletes know, “it all comes down to the run”.   We have seen it time and time again in the Hawaii Ironman and other events around the world that the last 8-10 miles are so crucial to overall performance.

The most important workout of the week is the long weekend of Saturday’s ride followed by Sunday’s long run on fatigued legs.   Remember you need to simulate race conditions and that means learning how to push on without fresh legs.

Here is a typical weekend workout for Ironman athletes I recommend:

Saturday:  ride 100-120 miles followed immediately with 1.5 hours of aerobic trail running (roads are fine as well) during the last third of the ride incorporate a series of 20 minute pushes with 15 minutes easy spinning recovery between each.   Build to 7-8 20 minute intervals

Sunday:  Early morning run 20-25 miles with the main goal to negative split the run.  The legs will be fatigued and will be tough just like race day

The last 10k of the marathon run in the Ironman can be strength for you, believe it!

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