Still struggling with running leg | 80/20 Endurance

Still struggling with running leg

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    I’ve just completed Ironman 70.3 Cartagena, Colombia last sunday, made it 9th place within 40-44 AG, put a conscious amount of training following a plan from you guys, which I had loved…and Im pretty sure improved my condition in a great manner, however and when comparing times of the all other eight athletes…I can’t understand that huge difference and gap during running, knowing that probably they keep training within a moderate intensity zone…


    Matt Fitzgerald

    There are many possible reasons for this sort of disparity. First of all, it’s normal. Most triathletes are not equally strong in relation to their competitors in all three disciplines. For me, I was always weaker in the swim compared to the bike and the run. But that doesn’t mean you can’t close the gap on your competitors in the run. It’s possible that inadequate fueling and/or suboptimal pacing affected your running performance, so take a look at those possibilities. On the training side, you might consider using the off-season to focus on your running, and when you start ramping up for your next triathlon, consider doing a short (10-minute) transition run after every bike ride. That’s an efficient and relatively low-risk way to get better at running off the bike in races.


    Thank you Matt for your answer…and I totally agree with you, however, I have to add, my form was great given the fact I had never felt or experienced a severe fatigue during the 21k despite a left hamstring cramp around 17k or so…nevertheless, one of my conclusions is, perhaps, there was a certain mental lack of self talking?, saying “you can do it”, “keep pushing”…the truth is…never get to surpass 4:45 per km which for me is zone 3….how would you argue then this mental weakness…how can address this?…and off course compliment with your advice of running more during off season and 10 minute transition run after bike workouts…

    Thank you once again…

    Matt Fitzgerald

    If it’s true that you failed to run as hard as you were physically capable of doing, then I would argue that is in fact a pacing error. I define pacing as the art of finding your limit. Succeeding in this effort requires not only that you distribute your effort evenly over the course of the run leg but also that you be willing to suffer intensely. As chance would have it, I have just completed a new book that teaches runners and triathletes how to pace more skillfully. It will be available in early January. I suggest you read it and start practicing the techniques I teach in it. We’ll be promoting the book heavily once it’s released, so you won’t miss it.


    I want to share my thoughts here – risking that Matt is going to kick my butt 😉

    I think the running leg cannot be looked at separately and even if you think you should have been able to run faster and that you simply couldn’t push yourself even though you should be able to run faster from a physical point of view, I wonder if that’s true?
    I feel that the run off the bike has a lot to do with how hard you have been riding. If you pushed too hard on the bike, there is no way you can run your goal pace. I also believe that going too hard on the bike is causing psychological “damage” that would explain why you couldn’t push harder.
    Just the other day, I was, while on the bike, listening to an interview with Jim Vance. What I found very interesting was, that he compared the 1st km (sometimes mile) to the overall pace of an athlete. He mentioned that if your run the 1st km/mile more than 5% faster than the average pace of your run, it will cause you to fail (failing meaning not achieving target time).
    Out of curiosity, I looked at some of my race files. Interestingly, I think I biked too easy (low to mid Zone 2) but managed to run way stronger than planned (mid zone X). I looked at my run pace and believe it or not, for example, the first mile averaged 7:34 and the overall average pace I ran was also 7:34/mile. I don’t know if this helps but thought it could?

    Lastly, I think it is very ambitious to target Zone 3 for the run leg of a 70.3? I can do that (even mid Zone 3 maybe) if I run a 13.1 but not off the bike…

    Race Pacing

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by winoria.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by winoria.
    Matt Fitzgerald

    Riding too hard on the bike is also a pacing error.


    Thank you Winoria and Matt, I really appreciate your comments…and I will read your new book for sure…

    wrapping up, I can disregard pacing to hard on the bike, 196 NP, which for me is mid-low zone 2 (I would say was a good strategy)…regarding run, I knew I had to start above 5:06 min/km which is upper zone 2 limit thus I could manage some K’s upper zone X (4:46, 4:47 etc)…however could not do it harder than that…which was the plan…

    if you have a chance to perform further analysis, hereby with results link of my top 10 AG….


    Hi – I’d agree with all the points from Matt and Winoria. I race Half Ironman distance for Bike and Run leg in zone X. However, during specific phase of training the plans have intervals in those zones to prepare you for the effort. Generally speaking if you go too hard on the bike, you will slow on the run – it’s almost inevitable. Hence it’s a race of 4 components (I include nutrition) to balance during the race. Zone 3 on the run leg sounds ambitious, unless you’re a pro I’m guessing!

    What I have learned is that you cannot expect to do anything on race day that you haven’t really delivered in training. Long (and hard) brims certainly helped me to flourish in the run leg…..together with a bike power meter and a Stryd foot pod to prevent me from overdoing it! Oh and taking gels every 30 mins together with liquid carbs…..


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