Pro triathlete Caitlin Snow ran a 2:53:51 at the 2011 Ironman World Championship—the third fastest run split by a female in the race’s history. She shares what works for her for those wishing to follow in her (very fast) footsteps.
1. Don’t Try To Negative Split
Where I would aim to negative split an open run, I actually go out a bit faster in the opening miles of an Ironman marathon than I plan to average for the entire run. I’ve found that trying to negative split a marathon after 6+ hours of racing doesn’t really happen. In most cases, the pace is going to slow either way. Going out faster allows me to average a faster pace than going at the same or a slower pace.
2. Pay Attention To Nutrition
I aim to take in 175-200 calories per hour during the run portion of an Ironman. This mostly comes in the form of PowerGels and PowerBar Perform (sports drink). If I can take down more, I do. I’m a big eater!
3. Prepare On The Bike
The biggest thing I do during the Ironman bike to prepare for the marathon is keep the power output steady and the cadence up around 90 to 92rpm. This allows me to ride strong without frying my run legs. Along with that, I make sure I take in plenty of fuel. I don’t want to hit that run in any kind of a deficit.
4. Stay Mentally Strong
I don’t really think of the race as a whole, but take it in segments and try to focus on what I am doing now and will be doing in the next few minutes. Getting too far ahead of oneself can make Ironman seem like an impossible task—even if you’ve done several in the past.
5. Pay Attention To Conditions
The biggest change for a hot day would be fluid consumption—it increases. And of course, taking full advantage of the ice and sponges offered on the course. Otherwise, the plan doesn’t really change much.
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