Long Run Duration/Length L3 Ironman

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    Michael Dempster

    Hey all,

    I apologise if this has been asked before, I did try to search but had no joy..

    I completed my 2.5hr run yesterday (in the last 4 weeks of the L3 Ironman Plan) – all went well however it threw up a question….

    My run threshold is 5:40/mile which meant that even when sticking to the zones I ran just under 21miles. I have the 3hour one next week and am conscious that it will take me very close to marathon distance.

    Understanding that the general rule of thumb is to not go further than 20 miles in training I am in a bit of a quandry – my race ‘plan’ is to run about 3:10-3:15 so should I be looking at completing the 3hr as it is and forgetting the 20 mile rule OR should I adjust the time down to stick to 20 miles?

    Sorry for the long post – loving the 80/20 method 🙂

    Thanks in advance

    David Warden


    I’m glad you posted this. The “20-mile” rule is both flexible and slightly misleading. I use the “22-mile” rule for marathon training, some coaches use 18. Really, I think the “3-hour rule” better reflects how to manage that upper limit of training. On the flip side of your example, some athletes would need 4 hours to run 20 miles, and we don’t want that either, and duration becomes a much better choice.

    Therefore, I’m comfortable with you running 3 hours, but there is little harm in deciding to cap it out at 22 miles instead. In fact, a “3-hour/22-mile stop at whichever comes first” is not a bad mantra.


    Michael Dempster

    Great advice, thank you – I will work on the basis of 22 or 3 then – thanks for this, 4 weeks till Lanza now 🙂

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Michael Dempster

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