Matt Article on Running a Good IM Marathon

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    A few years ago Matt published an article essential titled this. I haven’t been able to find the article but I took a lot of notes. I wonder if he still stands by those recommendations (I will go into some detail) and how those recommendations actually are in the IM training plans.

    Particularly in cycling he wrote “Get strong on the bike” a)do 4 100-mile rides b) one 8 hour ride as slow as necessary c) one pair of 4-hour rides back-to-back d) all in last 10 weeks.

    In running he wrote a) go long but not a lot b) do at least 4 runs of 18 miles c) go 26.2 in training to create a reserve of running endurance d) do frequent transition runs e) don’t waste energy doing speed work.

    There is more.

    Leyla Porteous

    Irtman – is this is the article you are referring to?

    I would say that to a big extend Matt still stands by his recommendations in this article – given that the science behind the training hasn’t changed since he wrote that article.

    Get as fit as you can, particularly on your swim and bike – run long, but not too often to prevent burnout. Stay consistent and ensure you build fitness and pacing skills for your swim and bike, to ensure you have the reserves and the fitness for the run.

    Personally as an Ironman athlete myself (female in my mid forties now) I don’t tend to get to the distances and volumes suggested by Matt in the quoted article, due to time constraints, and recovery needs. I do however stay consistent, focus on my swim and bike fitness, and then run as much as I can to build resilience and durability without overdoing things. So Matt makes suggestions that will absolutely give you a great Ironman performance- but at the end of the day you need to find a training approach that is realistic to your time availability, goals and abilities.


    Ha ha ha. I so understand the challenges of getting the distances and volumes Matt has in his article (and yes this is the article). I am preparing to do my next IM in 2023 at age 75 racing shorter triathlons and half marathons this year.

    And I agree with you that philosophically Matt would stay with his high-level guidance. But the distances in an IM are the distances and he has specific training tasks to help with the marathon section (and I need help there why the article has an impact).

    But can you reconcile his directions with the IM training plans? I use Level-1 plan but even the Level-3 plan doesn’t seem to fit. This article seems very sensible as a fitness/training test/workout but I have no idea how to work it into the IM Level-1 plan.

    Leyla Porteous

    That is absolutely awesome!
    I like your approach of doing shorter events for now, before you build back up to the IM distances for your race in 2023.
    My recommendation would be to follow the Level 1 IM plan, add in strength training (at least 2 phase specific sessions per week) plus mobility, and if you are nailing the training and your strength sessions, eating well, sleeping well – then add on volume to your longer zone 2 sessions to get that little bit extra. The long sessions are only fruitful if the body has a strong foundation. Add to them without this foundation of resilience and strength can be a pathway to injury and over training. It’s very individual on what each person can handle in terms of volume over time. Some people handle it well, others break-down. Working out what is right for you is an experiment of one – and changes as we do over time. Be ready to adapt.
    Can’t wait to hear all about your journey! Keep us updated!

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