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I've been lurking on here for most of the year and now have a question for you all.

Like a few people on here, this is my first triathlon season and I've been very pleased with how it's gone.

I've done 2 ODs and and improved from the 1st time of 2:52 to a time of 2:40.

I got into this as a challenge rather than to be competitive and so for next year I've been considering an IM or HIM and decided that I should try a big run 1st to see how that went and decided on the Green Chain Marathon.

I just completed this on Sunday and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

The 1st 20 miles was fine but after that it was a proper battle of wills with me struggling to fight the urge to walk for a bit. I completed the 27 miles (because 26.2 obviously isn't far enough for the organisers) in 4:00:14 which was a bit annoying but I was more than happy with it.

However I was in absolute agony for about 45 mins afterwards.

My question for those that have already managed a IM is just how much harder is it to run the marathon after the swim and bike and is it enjoyable or is the whole run one big struggle?

I'm up for the challenge but I have to say that the last 5 miles on Sunday was not what I would particularly call fun!


  • Remember the pain/exhaustion you felt from the marathon................think back.................hurts dosnt it????????? well times that by 10 and you'll be close.

    No, I'm not joking..............

    However, very few people "run" an IM mara, unless you have the sirname Wellington or McCormack. On your first IM I would strongly suggest you adopt a "run/walk" stratergy. For example, run for 9min walk for 1min, when I say run, I mean run, not amble. And when I say walk you walk like a speed walker, keeping the cadence high and your arms as you would when you run.

    This method keeps your legs turning over nicely (so you dont upset your muscles when you break into a run again, vvv common) and allows you 60 seconds to "recover". It also breaks the mara down into managble (phsycolgical) chunks and not some 26.2 mile death march..............It also alows your heart rate to drop so when your going through aid stations so your not gagging on gels because your body simply cant supply enough blood to you stomach to digest them, lowering your HR at least gives you a chance.

    This is quickly becoming de-rigour amoungst IM athletes with some superb times as a result.

    WORD OF WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU MUST train with this method, you cant rock up to an IM with a game plan that you havnt attempted, its a sure fire way to crash and burn. Dont think for one moment that a run/walk is easy, it isnt, its just more efficient for most AGers.
  • Read your reply with interest FS. Thanks for the post, both terrifying and reassuring at the same time!
  • Flava - I completely agree - at least our IM next year has a flat run...roll on Zurich....

    One question though = how long does it take to get over the strange looks that you surely must raise when training for a walk/run strategy...running is fine but walking fast in lycra is sure to raise a few eyebrows round my way....

  • I would suggest the first question to ask is 'Why couldn't I run the full marathon distance comfortably?'
    If the answer is you didn't train enough then the that can be easily sorted. If you hadn't been running up to at least 23 miles in training before the 27 miler, then it's likely that's why you struggled on the day. If you weren't using gels/energy bar every half hour, then it's likely you ran your blood sugar too low. If you weren't drinking regularly, you probably got dehydrated.
    I've only done HIM distance so far so I can't speak about IM, but as for any sport, your body is capable only of what you have trained it to do. You can blag an extra bit on the day without too much hassle, but a friend of mine who also did a HIM and only trained for OD really struggled. You just can't blag that difference; you risk having a bad experience, unless you are prepared to struggle through it.
    Plenty of people finish HIM and IM without stopping, but it's the prep and training they have put in in the preceding months that gets them over the finish line without feeling ill.
    In the final months before my HIM I was training approx. 10 - 15 hours per week - that was the tough bit, finding the motivation to get out day after day without a break, not getting enough sleep and frankly getting bored of pounding the same pavements, swimming boring pool lengths, and trying to find new cycling routes which didn't involve lots of traffic. The HIM was a doddle compared to the training.
    Lastly - your marathon time is a good one. You must have been running fairly quickly up to 20 miles to achieve that. I be proud of that and build on it. The tri season may be virtually over, but there are always marathons to be found throughout the year.
  • Thanks for all of the replies

    A couple of additional questions

    FS - Would you recommend the run/walk strategy for the full IM marathon or say start this half way through?

    BTC - How many people can actually run a marathon comfortably the whole way? Talking to some experienced marathon runners on the day, they said that it doesn't change how many times you run one and that from 20 miles onwards its always painful.
    My training wasn't ideal with a break in my training of about 3 weeks with summer holidays from about week 8-5 before the race.
    I also didn't think about race day nutrition til about a week before when I decided to buy an inov-8 bag and bladder, but didn't like it on a couple of trial runs before the race due to rubbing, which meant I had to rely on the snacks on the check points which consisted of water and jelly babies at 7 check points on route.

    I think I'm going to start with a HIM next year as training will again be broken up with holidays and I want to be able to enjoy my races and it sounds like I'd just be enduring an IM not actually enjoying it.
  • If you basically coped with what was at the stations on the day then I'd say that's probably what made it painful. Your body was not used to digesting those things while you are running, so you probably got a stitch once or twice which caused you to walk.
    I would suggest (and you'll see this in plenty of other places) that you start to experiment with different nutritions. Gels are the best in my opinion, but they don't suit everyone. The guidance is approx. one gel per half hour of training. There are lots of different brands too so it's a case of finding the right one for you by experimentation.
    Whatever you choose, you then need to use during your training, this will get your body used to digesting it while you are running. I've found I need to train my body not only for running, but also to digest while I am running.
    Plenty of people run full marathons without stopping, but it depends on your strategy. I find stopping means I lose rhythm, so my aim is always to keep going. I have friends who do it by walk/run, but they inevitably take longer. If taking longer doesn't bother you and your aim is to finish, then you may want to run/walk. I think if you train with nutrition and get it right on the day then you won't need to stop at all, and you'll probably feel better for it at the end.
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