Are you looking to up your half-iron game or are you signed up for your first half-iron this year? These five workouts are keys to your success at this challenging distance. Here you’ll find the why, the how, and all the details on how to execute each of these workouts.
1. 50(30)/6 Race-Specific Bricks
These are very specific workouts to help you prepare for a half-iron. These boost your half-iron-specific fatigue resistance and very specifically prepare you physically and mentally for your race.
Ride 50 miles. Ride the first 20 at moderate intensity and the last 30 at half-iron- distance race intensity. Transition, practicing your T2, and run six miles at half-iron-distance race intensity.
- Do three of these over the last eight weeks before your taper.
- Do these on courses as similar to your peak race as possible.
- Practice your race nutrition in these workouts.
- Work up to these over a number of weeks with similar, but shorter workouts.
2. Two-Hour Key-Load-Building Rides
Without adequate load, you will have poor fatigue resistance. That is, your half-iron time will be disproportionately slow compared to your sprint and Olympic-distance times. With adequate load, you will race strongly at this longer distance. Total load is the key to developing fatigue resistance, not simply how long you go on your longest weekly rides.
Ride for two hours at moderate intensity.
- Do up to two of these workouts a week in the build weeks of your last training block before your taper.
- Work up to the two hours with shorter rides in the previous four training blocks.
- If you have the time and you can recover from them, make some of these rides as long as two-and-a-half hours.
3. Cross-Training Choice Workouts
The variety of cross-training keeps your body balanced and your mind fresh.
Do any of the following:
1. Hike for one to six hours.
2. Play basketball, racquetball, or similar.
3. Do yoga.
4. Row on a rowing machine.
5. Skate on a slide board.
1. Do some of these workouts during your rest weeks in your half-iron build-up.
2. Choose from any of these options and mix them up as often as you like.
4. Medium Swimming Intervals
These interval workouts will boost your endurance capacity (the ceiling for how fast you can race).
Between a warm-up (with drills) and cool-down, do sets of 5 X 225 with a 30- second rest interval. Do the work intervals at the highest intensity that you can sustain for the total duration of work intervals. (You should build, or at least maintain, your pace throughout the set.) Work up to sets of 5 X 275, then 5 X 325.
- The key to good pacing of intervals is to consciously hold back on the first rep.
- Vary these workouts with short (8X50-100) and long (3X400-500 )intervals for maximum endurance-capacity boosting.
5. Running Hill Workouts
Running up hills makes you better at running up hills and better at running on flat ground, plus you get practice running down hills. So these workouts get you great bang for your buck.
At a hill, do sets like 8 X 45”, 5 X 3’, and 3 X 8’ where you do the work interval up the hill. The shorter the work intervals, the higher the intensity. For the rest intervals run at easy intensity back down the hill and for longer when you need to in order to accrue at least a two-minute rest interval. For a treadmill alternative, do the work intervals at five percent grade, do the rest of the workout at one- percent grade, and use two-minute rest intervals after each work interval.
1. Choose hills of a grade that scares you slightly.
2. Vary the hills you use. All hills can work well. With hills of shallower grade, you will run faster. With hills of steeper grade, you will run slower.
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