Ironman plan to prepare for a marathon prior to an Ironman ? | 80/20 Endurance

Ironman plan to prepare for a marathon prior to an Ironman ?

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    i foresee the Ironman Nice next year (june 2022), and the Nice-Cannes Marathon (nov 2021).

    The natural option is to follow next year the ironman Level 1 + premium strength training for the Ironman ; and to follow the marathon level 1 + premium strength training for the marathon this year.

    But, as a triathlete, and moreover a senior triathlete, i’d like to maintain my level in swimming and cycling during my marathon training.
    So an option could be to follow the same IM L1 training plan for both events, but switch a swim and/or a cycling workout each week by one or two run workouts (with a 80/20 balance for the new run workouts).

    Which option, or another, should you recommand ?
    thanks in advance

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Hi Nicolas,

    I suggest you do it the other way around: Use the marathon plan and replace a couple of the Foundation Runs with swims/rides. You can also replace the rest day with a swim to get a little extra multisport training in without sacrificing your marathon fitness development.

    Coach Matt


    Hi Matt, thanks for the advice.
    So a couple swims or rides (low intensity I guess) could be enough to maintain the swim & bike fitness ?
    For the swim it seems natural, as the swim is mainly about technique, so once a week is understandable to keep that feeling
    But for the bike i’m afraid of not maintaining my ftp/pma with one or two low intensity workout a week…

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Actually, you shouldn’t want to maintain full bike fitness during this run-focused period. As an athlete, you can’t prioritize everything all the time. Riding easy once or twice a week will allow you to preserve enough of a foundation to build your bike fitness back up very quickly post-marathon. And you’ll be surprised how much of that marathon training transfers over to the bike. If you tried to truly maintain your current bike fitness during marathon training it would interfere with your run focus and spoil the intended purpose of that phase. A little relevant reading:

    What Gets Measured Gets Overemphasized



    I already knew that “Cycling fitness crosses over well to running” (in the article you wrote several years ago ‘Minimalist Ironman training’ which was my reference for my first ironman), in the other direction it also makes sense after all…

    I’ll try this strategy, thanks for the advice.

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