How to Qualify - Specific Preparation: Part II (Core Block)
by Gordo Byrn
The main difference between training to qualify and training to compete is the workload of the key days and the spacing of the key workouts.
Mid-pack athletes might train themselves to ultimately complete the ironman distance across four to six days.
Aspiring Kona-qualifiers should build their programs so that they can complete the ironman distance across 30 hours and have the bulk of their training time done at or over specific race pace and power.
The most common mistake athletes make in this period is seeking to lift top-end pace and power. While nearly everyone will see top-end performance improve as the race approaches, the goal of the specific prep phase is to get the body ready for the specific demands (power, pace, duration) of the event.
While ironman is long, it need not be complicated. Here’s the template for the Core Race Simulation.
The four days above are what it’s all about and your entire season should target your capacity to do each session well (first), then combine sessions (second), then combine the days (third).
A common and understandable mistake is the desire to do the sessions faster and faster and faster. The athlete wanting to prove that he or she has what it takes to qualify. This isn’t required and will result in spending fitness well before race day. Do the sessions as outlined, recover, go back to your normal program and repeat.
An experienced athlete might place the Core Block 3/6/9 weeks out from the race. If you are new to this sort of training then best to place 4/7/11 weeks out from the race to give yourself more time to recover.
The output of the Core Block is higher than the race itself and will flush out your limiters for race day, particularly if you have an energy, nutrition, hydration, pacing or sweat rate limiter.
Learn from each block and remember that your best training performance sets a ceiling under which you will operate on race day.
Next week, I’ll share how I modify the above to address common limiters for Kona-qualification.
Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog here.