Marathon and 'Long' Triathlon Training

How to adapt the 100 day marathon plan to Ironman triathlon.

"Hi Marius.

Great program! I just had my best race season in years applying the principles in triathlon.

What I was wondering is, in adapting the plan to an Ironman distances triathlon, where the run is actually in a 'best case' scenario performed at circa 70% VO2 Max and/or in my case something like 45 secs/km slower than the threshold...how one might go, once again, in perfroming zero Zone 2 work (which IS actually close to the Ironman race pace).

I have actually used a circa Zone 2 effort in Ironman preps before, due to 'specificity'. But I have to say that each and every time I have I have had a BIG fail in the race. "Mentally" it seems useful to start the race knowing you have done, say, 50-80' blocks at 'race pace' may times in training, but physically the return for me has been poor on the day. As an aside, I think long blocks at Zone 2 can have negative effects on cycling power.

So I was wondering your thoughts on perhaps an approach similar to Ultra preps you have mentioned (less 'long' on the long run, though)....say, one key threshold workout with Z3 with Z4 finish (my favourite is 20-30' Zone 3 + 10" of 30" Zone 4/30" easy.....plus the other key run being a long, purely Zone 1 session. Then 1-2 other runs being 'filler'/short Zone 1 sessions?

Keep in mind that on the bike I typically do two sessions replicating your LT type work, and also two for swimming.

Kind regards,


Answer : Hi Matt, excellent question. To make the answer as general as possible :

What you want to do is to replace SOME of the harder runs with longer runs in zone 2. You will need some of these as it is your race pace. BUT you want to limit the number of them. Meaning : you want to have a few, longer, focused effort where you work your way into Zone 2 and stay there. What many do, is to have too many Zone 2 sessions, if this is their race pace (the same as those running 100km runs) You want to limit the number but have a nice total nr of km in that zone at the same time. Your suggestions with the ultra prep (taking away to high zone 3 + zone 4) will work that way also.

In addition to that, you want to be a little careful with the absolute hardest sessions in the beginning of the 100day plan, especially if the total training load is alot.

So the point is : use the 100 day plan to boost your overall shape, but make sure that you have SOME very specific sessions at your race pace, but limit these in numbers.

Also, try and combine bike with runs, so that you get the right specificity out of it - you can even go right from bike rides right into the 100 day marathon medium hard sessions.

I wish you all the best with your training!

kind regards,

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