Two to three months out from your IM race, you should have some idea of what intensity, power and pace you think you should swim, bike, and run at your upcoming IM race. You should also have a rough idea of what type of nutrition plan you want to use during your race. If you don’t have a clue about any of these things, don’t feel too bad—you are going to be much closer to figuring these things out after this session.
Here is the workout:
1. Rehearse your pre-race eating the day before and the morning of the workout.
2. Weigh yourself unclothed before your workout.
3. SWIM: nonstop, at planned Ironman intensity, for planned Ironman duration.
4. TRANSITION: as quickly as possible!
5. BIKE: with focus factor HIGH, at planned ironman intensity, in your ironman bike position, practicing your exact ironman nutrition strategy as much as possible, at a duration LONGER than your Ironman duration, on a course that is as similar as possible to your upcoming race. (whew… did you get all that?) If you think you’ll go 5:30 in the IM bike, then bike for 6 hours. In other words, try to make your ride as close as possible to race day, but ride about a half hour longer.
6. TRANSITION: as quickly as possible!
7. RUN: at IM intensity for 30 minutes, or for a maximum of 45 minutes if you are a highly durable athlete who recovers quickly. Consume nutrition MORE AGGRESSIVELY than you would on race day.
8. Weigh yourself unclothed again.
Since you biked an extra 30 minutes, at the end of this workout you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be feeling at more than an hour into your IM run. The main purpose of this session is not to train your endurance to the 7-8 hour level, although it will. And the main purpose is also not to develop mental toughness, although doing a workout like this will make race day seem short and easy. The main purpose is to LEARN YOUR LIMITS AND TEST YOUR PLAN. How? You will figure this out after playing the triathlon version of 20 questions.