Marathon phases in Ironman Triathlon

Marathon - 3 phases of running a marathon.

Phase One -The beginning of the marathon our legs will be heavy from the carbo loading and the reduction of training. Almost a loss of our running legs. This is perfectly natural. You will be using a combination of glycogen and fats for energy. We may feel great like a coiled spring ready to expand avoid the temptation.
Running: Lots of runners around cause you to run to their pace not yours choppy running style then you find your 190 -198 strides per minute (23.75-24.75 count strides one leg in 15 seconds)

Phase Two – Second Wind
This will be when you find good rhythm and natural breathing pattern and you feel strong. You now have good confidence to push to the finish, this is a dangerous part as you can then get carried away and start to pick up the pace, and you still have a long way to go.
You will have less glycogen available and using more of your stored fats for energy.
Running: Good correct stride length 184-192 strides per minute (count strides one leg in 15 seconds should be 23-24) Moral high but still apprehensive.

Phase Three
Divided into two parts
Part (A)
Holding onto form as it starts to change. Have you ever seen a photograph taken of you between 19-23 miles and compared it to the final few miles?
Sometimes you can look terrible in the early part of Phase three running compared to what you look like towards the end. Your body becomes sore from blister etc and you naturally try and adapt to reduce this discomfort.
An Increase in breathing depth or frequency, sweating more. Sometimes a slowing down of your pace.
Your mind begins to wonder almost in no Mans land over half way but far away from the finish.

Part (B)
Pushing for finish and possibly a time target. You can now go into turbo mode and use up any available energy you have.
You will be using fats for energy depending on gels etc taken in during the marathon.

Running: 196 – 200 strides per minute as you get tired your length of stride shortens and your cadence increases.

You cannot divide 3 phases into distance i.e. 3 parts of 8.73 miles (14km) = 26.2 miles (42.2km) it depends on too many factors. Hills wind conditions what your strengths and weaknesses race morning breakfast, race nutrition, race nerves all play their part.
Nerves can delay food being absorbed so kicks in later than normal.

The better the taper expect the legs to be heavier for longer into the marathon, then you will be able to maintain a good pace, even negative split (faster running) towards the end of the marathon.

Large marathons compared to small marathons will also effect the above.
Large marathons with more than 7,000 runners.
Organised – well established – no teething problems- lots of spectators not just from friends and family – a good atmosphere that keeps you motivated.
Long queues to register and large exhibition makes this a long day on your feet which is a bad thing just before running a marathon. Also long queues for the toilet etc.

Small marathons 1-7,000 runners
Able to run your own pace. Less time to queue up and register etc.

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