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For all the athletes training for Ironman St. George, I’ve had numerous reports that the both the bike and the run courses are hilly. Some believe it is the toughest course on the circuit. One person told me that Paula Newby Fraser said it was the toughest run course for sure. What can you do to ease the pain?


Those of you using the 13-week training plan (or any of my other ready-to-use plans) need to include hills in your long run and long ride workouts. Begin with gentle hills early in the program and then work your way to tougher hills as the plan progresses.

For the weeks where there is an interval workout assigned to work on lactate threshold tolerance for either the run or the bike, you can use a hill if you have one close to you. Because the rest interval is so short, you may be best served using a treadmill or an indoor trainer for the intervals. Use an incline of around 4 percent.


A few words of caution…begin with a hill workout once per week in each sport (running and cycling). If you are recovering from the workouts quickly and feeling like you can tolerate a higher load, alternate doing two hill workouts in cycling and one in running one week with doing two hill workouts in running and one in cycling the next week.


Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, take a hard look at the gears you are running on your bike. Select gears (or a compact crank) that will allow you to spin up the hills. Those of you insisting on running big gears like you are riding a flat course will suffer on the run because your legs will be trashed.


Start working on any equipment changes now.


Get your head wrapped around the expectations of a hilly bike and run course.


Know that everyone at the race does the same course, so those that are prepared will suffer less.

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