“This is crucial. I’ve experienced it myself clinching the last Kona slot in my age group by making a pass in the final 100 mts. Martin Muldoon cites the run as his strength, although Martin is a very strong all round athlete with an excellent swim and bike he sees the run as his strongest. Owen Martin and Alan Ryan also highlight the benefits of having a strong run and finishing strong”
Owen “(the) most valuable lesson is to race your race. Don’t get sucked into racing to early in a IM, save it for the last 8-10 mile of the run”
Alan “Whatever qualifying race you choose (and you should pick a course that plays to your strengths) you have to finish the marathon strongly” He goes on to say “and just to reiterate make sure you can finish the run strongly. I got my first podium in Kona by two seconds. I ran strongly to the finish overtaking the sixth place finisher who was fading (although I hadn’t a clue that he was even in my age group at the time) near the end. It might mean taking the bike easier to start the run fresher or training harder on the bike. It will always mean not skimping on the run training of course – especially the long runs”
Alan said to me years ago that a two hour run is a year round staple of his training. He believed that only increasing or adding a long run in the lead up to your race was a big, and common, Ironman mistake. Most people pace an Ironman poorly, particularly at the start of the bike and the start of the run. It’s very common for people to start the run at a faster pace than they expects to finish with the logic that they will put minutes in the bank or that they want to allow for slowing down. There is no surer way to guarantee that you will slow down than by starting too fast.
It’s widely recognized that the best way to achieve a time target for a marathon would be to aim for a negative or even split. Starting slower or at the pace that you expect to finish. This has consistently been shown to be the fastest way to run. But with Ironman a lot of people throw that logic out the window thinking the exact opposite. Dec is another proponent of being able to finish strongly and pacing according to your own ability “It’s a personal time trial according to your fitness, no one else’s, save the effort for the last 10k of the run otherwise it could be a long walk home, I should know as I’ve walked many miles in Kona”. He rates two things as being important in being able to finish well. Pacing as he said above and the ability to hurt himself for a long time “If I were to choose one characteristic (as a strength) it would be the ability to deal with pain and discomfort for long periods of time”