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Welcome to Week 4 of our Hawaii From Home workouts, which are brought to you by six-time Ironman world champion turned coach Mark Allen.
What is Hawaii From Home? Thanks for asking!
As athletes prepare for their 140.6-mile challenge from Oct. 4-11, Allen is providing one key workout each week that is designed to get you ready to tackle the big race week. Of course, you’ll still need to do plenty of swim, bike, and run training in addition to these key workouts, but view it as one of the most important sessions of the week and try to avoid doing any hard bike or run workouts the day before. If you’re interested in checking out previous weeks, then Week 1 was a bike workout, Week 2 was a bike/run brick, and Week 3 was a swim.
This week’s workout is a longer run with some harder hill repeats, which Allen refers to as his “specialty long run.” He said: “The bulk of your longer runs prepping for Ironman should be flat to rolling with an emphasis on maintaining a good steady pace throughout to train your body to sustain a pace or speed. But this run is going to be different.”
He advises choosing a course that has some real uphills and downhills. He said: “Warm up on flat to rolling terrain for about 20 to 30 minutes until you are quite loose and in a good running rhythm. Now it’s time to do the hills. The uphill segments should be about two to five minutes in length. Run fast up the hills—much faster and harder than you would ever run in a marathon—then when you go down the other side (or turn around and run back down the hill you just ran up), continue running at a fast speed here too.”
Between repeats, be sure to recover (on flatter ground) to get your heart-rate back down before hitting the next uphill. Repeat this for a total of 15 to 20 minutes of hard uphill running before cooling down with a relaxed easy jog for five to 10 minutes. Your total run time should be between 60 to 75 minutes.
Allen said: “The goal of this run is to gain strength from the uphills, but to then really give your legs some sustained pounding on the downhills. When you recover from this workout the cell walls in the muscles in your legs will be stronger and much more resistant to breaking down.”
He said part of what causes athletes to slow down during an Ironman marathon is the leg muscles breaking down and triggering the survival part of your brain to try to get you to slow down or even stop running. “But with the stronger muscles and cell membranes in your leg muscles from this workout, you will push that point much farther out in the marathon,” Allen said. “This is a good thing because once the survival part of your brain kicks in, you have to put a lot of mental energy into continuing to run strong and fast. This makes it much easier to just run freely for longer in your Ironman.”
He advised that this type of run should definitely not be done every week, but once every three to five weeks, and it definitely should not be attempted if you have any kind of run injury or aches/pains, he added.
Mark Allen’s Hawaii From Home Workout: Week 4
20-30 min. easy running, find your run rhythm
15-20 min. hard uphill running, on a hill that takes 2-5 min. to crest; run hard back downhill too, recovering on the flat between efforts
5-10 min. easy jog/run
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If you’re looking for more guidance as you prepare for the 140.6-mile, seven-day challenge, be sure to check out our Six Weeks to Get Race Ready training plan and our printable training plans for Triathlete and Outside+ members. Outside+ members also get access to hundreds of personalized training programs on Today’s Plan. Not an Outside+ member yet? Become one today.