Monday, August 17, 2009

Galloway Ironman?

I am still recovering from my stomach ailment – my normal cast iron stomach has rusted a little bit. To help compensate I have switched my diet up – a lot more fruit and vegetables as well as a little yogurt thrown in everyday. These are changes that I have needed to make anyway and this is a good time to do it!

So, I woke up Sunday morning bright and early with a stomach ache. Nothing like what I was experiencing last week but a little nauseous none the less. I did some chores around the house not really wanting or feeling like a long run. I had messed around long enough so I sucked it up and hit the pavement at 9AM. Being in Southern Mississippi in August, the temperature was not really that bad – oh, but the humidity. I was soaked from head to toe in no time. The stomach problem melted away once I got moving – I just had to get moving. This was just a long easy run – but at 15+ miles none of these runs seem easy. I have thought a lot about how to run this ironman (Galloway) and it was timely that I was listening to a podcast (imtalk – episode 172) and coach John Newsom mentioned run / walk for ironman. He said that it was benifical in ironman marathons for anyone running more than about a 3:45 – oh, yeah – that would be me! There is also a short article on

Anyway, the basic premise is that if you take short walk breaks at the beginning of the run then you can save yourself long, hard walk breaks at the end of the run. You will be giving up minutes throughout the run and save 10 of minutes (if not more) at the end of the run. It will be hard to start talking these walk breaks after only 9 minutes of the run but this should save me huge of the back end. In addition, the mental aspect of feeling fresher at the end and passing people instead of getting passed could be huge!

From that article –

The biggest benefit that I had during the year using this method was during the Ironman. It was hugely beneficial going into that race knowing I would have to walk, because when I started walking that first mile, I was able to say to myself “this is part of the plan.” That was more empowering than getting to 15 or 16 and saying, “I have to walk because I don’t know if I can run anymore.”

Once again, I think that this also will be huge for me! IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PLAN THEN YOU PLAN TO FAIL. Walking early will allow for me to ‘work the plan’ – having this structure built in will allow for me to succeed when times get tough.

I did not practice this during this run since I did not start off doing a run / walk. However, I did start to add the walk breaks at about mile 13 or 14 – really too late to be effective. I ran into Becky at Jackson Station with about a mile and a half to go – we chatted for a bit as I refilled my water bottle. Stopping for a minute or two I felt refreshed and ran the last little bit home at a good clip. My shoes were soaked and my legs were tired but I felt good. I wrapped up with a little over 17 miles at a 9:31 minute per mile pace. I feel like I used to be faster than this but at this point I will take it. I have not been running much this summer and it shows. During this year of training my running has gone from my strongest event to my weakest. To be fair, my running in standalone 5k’s (from February and March – 2 PR’s back to back – my best time was 19:09) is faster and my running in triathlons has been faster as well. It is just that my swimming and biking have improved more – I worked on them more – go figure. This has been a great year (I was faster in every race compared to last year) but there is lots of room for improvement.


Kristin said...

I'm slower too in this late stage of training, but my coach says it's fatigue and it's normal. The idea is that we'll be more rested and ready on race day (hopefully). What's your run walk plan? I've never been able to manage the run walk so not sure it would work for me, I do better just slowing to a super slow jog, but I'm thinking some early breaks in the race could be a good thing.

Missy said...

Fatigue and speed is not your plan this year so no worries. Everyone loses their 'speed' during their first ironman years for sure. Try practicing and laying out your run/walk plan in your mind. I did and it worked like a charm - don't let the death march happen to you. I walked every other aid station so about 1 min for every 20 minutes of running, worked for me.

gary said...

James -- glad that you found some use out of my Ironamn run/walk discussion. It will be interesting to see how many people choice to use this strategy on Sunday. I know I will along with all my athletes.

Have you chosen how to approach the run yet?

We'll be in Louisville, maybe I'll meet you over there? txt 859-492-8305 if interested in a blog meet up?