Favorite Workout?

I am in the midst of training for 70.3 Austin on October 23rd, but prior to that I am racing an Olympic distance triathlon on October 2nd.  If that weren’t enough I have a half-marathon on November 6th and then the A running race…..The Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon on December 4th.

I am calling the marathon my A marathon race because it is where I hope to qualify for Boston.  I need to run a sub 3:10 marathon in order to qualify (Thanks Jeff for clarifying that) and I have no clue if I’m ready for it or not but I can tell you this:  my marathon training has kicked in right in the middle of Half-Ironman training.

I am very lucky to have a coach weave these training plans together because I know for a fact that I would not be able to have pieced them together on my own.  As you have read on the internet that you need to change-up training so that you shock your body into being uncomfortable thus getting stronger Coach has done just that recently.

My swim workouts have changed up but more importantly the run has taken on a whole new look.  Saturday used to be a long run that I was given a time to run, and while it has gotten progressively longer (run 1 hr, run 1.5 hrs, run 2 hrs) the tempo/pace at which I am running has completely changed as well.

Three weeks ago the schedule said run 2 hours 15 minutes at aerobic capacity.  I went out with teammate Robert Swan and we ran 16.36 miles (8:15/mile) in that time.  The next week the schedule said run 2 hours 30 minutes but here is where the change came in.  I was to run the beginning in the Z1-Z2 area and finish with 5-8 miles at my ‘A’ race pace.  The purpose was to mimmick running on tired legs for the half-marathon at the end of 70.3 Austin as well as being able to hold that pace for the marathon.  That day I finished my 8 miles at a pace of 7:58/mile.  Perfect for Austin, but way off the mark for Las Vegas.

Going Long

Today, the time was 2 hours 40 minutes and the premise was the same.  This time my return run was at a 7:42/mile pace and I finished with 19 miles overall.  Still on the slow end for Vegas but nearly 40 seconds per mile faster than my pace at 70.3 Oceanside.  Calculated in time saved we are looking at nearly a savings of 9 minutes on the run alone.  My goal for 70.3 Austin is sub 5:30, and those 9 minutes alone would put me at 5:33 keeping swim and bike times flat.

As is customary for me I don’t just allow these types of things to happen and need to do research on training techniques and how often plans need to change up.  What do other coaches do and how do they prepare their athletes?  I typically take that information and email Coach to ask her questions.  I do all this in the name of getting better at the sport I love.

With that being said I came across a post on Competitor Magazine’s website called The #1 Workout To Get You Ready For Ironman.  The article is written by Gordo Byrn and is called Big Day Training (BDT.)  The point of the training is to train your mind as well as your pacing, and in addition to that nutrition over long exercise.

The plan has scheduled dates as to when it should be done and those are 3/7/11 weeks out from race day.  The plan is as follows:


Big Day Training workout, the first time

• Swim 1 hour

• Break, with meal

• Bike 5 hours, continuous with very minimal rest or stopping

• Break, with meal

• Run 1 hour easy

“What most people find the first time they do that session is that they’re blown away by how torched they are once they get off the bike,” Byrn says. “Because their bodies have never trained that long, it’s never had that much output. Make some notes about how you do the run. When you get to the end, you’ve got 20 miles to run on race day. Are you ready to run 20? If the answer’s no, you’ve got to dial down everything in the first five hours of that day and try it again.”

Big Day Training workout, the second time

• Swim 5000–6000 meters, with the last 2000 meters at a more challenging pace

• Quick break, change, recovery drink

• Bike 100 miles, or the equivalent of time you think you’ll be on the IM bike course

Tip: Start a little easier than your anticipated race pace, do the bulk of it around race pace, then finish up with the last third a little bit harder than race pace.

• Quick break, change, recovery drink

Tip: Try drinking a full quart of recovery drink before the 10k to fill up your gut. “It will slow you down,” Byrn says. “It will give you practice after a ton of exercise to figure out what to do when your gut is full. Guaranteed that it happens during the marathon. Sometimes your stomach is full, you feel lousy and you have to work through it. If you’ve done it in training, you won’t freak out on race day.”

• Run easy 10K

Byrn says you don’t have to get fanatical about your breaks in between, but to get the lesson from the session, keep them relatively short. Good luck!


The first time you do this training doesn’t seem to bad as your rest periods are elongated  and you are eating a meal to fuel your body for the next ‘event.’  The second time is more like a race day, but what got me was the run with a full quart of recovery drink.  That is a ton of liquid to run in but the rationale makes 100% sense to me.

I will be emailing this to my coach to see when we will be incorporating an epic day like this into my Ironman Texas preparation.

If you have already trained for an Ironman have you done this type of training day?

What different types of training did you do?  Do you have a favorite training session?

Do you question your coaches plans?

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  1. Michael says:

    Jason you are truly amazing. You are so dedicated to your training and doing whatever it takes to get to where you want to be. Sounds like you have an awesome coach and are always willing to try something new and push yourself a little bit harder. You would be great to coach. Continue this amazing work and you will BQ in Dec. You’ve got it in you!
    Michael recently posted..3 PRs in One Race – Cerner 15K Race ReportMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Thank you so much for the compliments. This was on my mind as I managed to throw up today during my training. Short story was at the 3hr mark of my 4hr ride I decided to stop and pick up Gatorade, which I NEVER use. I drank it and immediately started burping. I went about 30 minutes of burping and then it all came up. Finished the ride about 35 minutes later. Started the run and 7 minutes into a 40 minute run I lost whatever liquid I had left (I don’t eat solid foods on the bike thankfully.)

      Knowing that I read this before I left for my training I was motivated by you to keep going.

  2. Jeff Irvin says:

    That is a good article. I had a couple of long days like that during IM training but never did the “feel up the gut” part. Which actually is probably a good thing to figure out ahead of time. Will try that one next IM training.

    The 3:10 BQ time is going to be hard. See this is what happens when a couple of Triathletes try and figure out runners stuff! ha! You sent that email and I was like, “Sweet I have to run a 3:15, so much better than 3:10. ” Then I looked at the stupid BAA website and realized it changed for 2013 qualifying. That 5mins seems insurmountable but we will get there! Heck, even if we can get to 3:15 that is still a heck of a marathon time!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Rev3 Cedar Point Half Rev Race ReportMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      The fill up the gut was an eye opener and something I certainly will be trying once the real IM training begins, which I’m assuming is the new year.

      Yeah, we should not be allowed to figure out stand alone marathon information on our own. Seriously that 5 minutes was like a gut punch. You are correct that if I ran a 3:15 I would still party like it was 1999.

  3. jim says:

    Your long run times look great!!! One thing I always struggle with during marathon training when I want to run a specific time is endurance. I can usually easily get down to the time I need to average in 20-22 miles … but on race day, I really labor that last 4-6 miles. I know this is typical, I mean most great runners will tell you that the marathon begins at Mile 20 – but lengthening some of my long runs to 23 to 25 really seem to help me mentally get over the hurdle on race day. I find if I can get over the endurance hump, the speed will come. Great training! Keep it up … I have NO DOUBT you’ll qualify for Boston!
    jim recently posted..Cerner Kansas City 15K Race ReportMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I appreciate your belief in my abilities. I am kind of afraid to calculate my pace since I knew that at 3:15 I had to be at 7:25/mi and that was nearly 1:00/mi faster than what I ran White Rock in last year.

  4. I’ve done workouts like this. It is a staple of my tri club.

    My coach, though, doesn’t believe in it as much as he’d rather use a HIM as that long workout to test nutrition and mindset. You have do to the HIM at IM paces though.
    The rock star recently posted..Your race proofs.My Profile

    • CTER says:

      My coach told me that the Rev3 in August of 2012 that I signed up for is going to be a training ride where I just go slow and not actually race it. Not sure I like that idea but it is hard to argue with her results.

  5. Chuck says:

    I read this too–whats the 3rd time look like?
    Chuck recently posted..3 days!My Profile

  6. marlene says:

    Those race day training simulators look INSANE and awesome all at the same time. I’d be all over something like that. Looking forward to seeing if/how/when you tackle them.

    Also – love to see you juggling training for a half marathon, full marathon, half ironman and ironman all at once… good to know it can be done, though I will have to figure out how. I keep having these pangs of fear that training for long distance tris is going to make me a slower runner, and I’m not done setting half & full marathon PRs just yet!
    marlene recently posted..Zoo Run 10K Race ReportMy Profile

  7. misszippy1 says:

    Great that you have a coach who can get you ready for both kinds of events.

    When I trained for IM, the second big day training was pretty much what I did a couple of times over. One hour in the water w/ master’s, a six-hour bike ride and a one hour run afterwards. Then get up the next day and run 3 hours, with a one-hour recovery spin later in the day. Monster weekends for sure, but gave me confidence.
    misszippy1 recently posted..A day of learning in NYCMy Profile

  8. katie says:

    I’ve done this in a miniaturized version. Can’t wait until the IM version shows up on my schedule. Wow.
    katie recently posted..Waterman’s Half: course previewMy Profile

  9. BDD says:

    I am a HUGE Gordo fan, he was a understudy of Friel and went on his own and is the best long distance coach that very few have heard of, I highly suggest getting his book called “Going Long”
    BDD recently posted..FailureMy Profile

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