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How To Go Sub 10 Hours at An Ironman: Part 1

By Ben Greenfield

It’s not easy to break 10 hours in an Ironman. But with these ten tips from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at, you’ll discover how the fast Ironman triathletes can cross the finish line with single digit hours still showing on the clock, and how you can do the same too.

1. Get Lean

Go stand at the finish line of an Ironman from the nine to ten hour mark. How many big legs do you see? How many line backer necks? Ripped or buff guys and gals? Whether muscle bulk or fat bulk, very little of it exists for the fast Ironman finishers. Muscle takes a large amount of energy to cool and carry, and fat, while a fantastic energy source, vastly decreases movement economy. To break 10 hours in Ironman, you must be willing to lose fat, cannibalize muscle, give up your Rambo arms, and put up with family members telling you that you look “too thin”. This will take a range of strategies from intermittent fasting, to unfed cardio sessions, to frequent dessert and alcohol skipping. You can do it though.

2. Time to Race

Your mind must be on cruise control to break 10 hours in Ironman. This means that you must be able to execute a near flawless nutrition strategy, pacing plan, swim-to-bike and bike-to-run transition, and you must be able to do this under stressful race conditions. Most of the triathletes who break 10 hours in Ironman have raced enough to avoid making the small mistakes like overinflating the tires, forgetting the salt pills, letting enthusiasm dictate pace, eating way too much, drinking too little or swimming off course. Peppering the build-up to an Ironman with a strategically planned series of sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman events creates a smart and stress-free triathlete who doesn’t commit the small Ironman racing mistakes that add up to dozens of minutes.

3. Make a Plan

To break 10 hours in an Ironman, you must know the course. A cookie cutter approach simply will not work. Several weeks prior to the Ironman you must sit down and map out the swim course. Where will you stand on the beach? When will you sight? When will you push the pace? You must break the bike into key sections, and create a fueling, pacing and mental strategy for each. Where will you push the pace? Where can you legally draft? At what points will you eat and or drink? Finally, you must know every turn and hill in the run course, because an unfamiliar course can play nasty tricks with your your mind and pacing. Getting to the 18 mile mark and having 5 key landmarks that are going to string you along to the finish gives you much better pacing than getting to the 18 mile mark and having 8 miles of pure unknown.

4. Utilize Periodization

Early in the year, months prior to your Ironman, you must be willing to be getting your head handed to you at club swims, track sessions, or group rides. You simply cannot maintain peak Ironman fitness all year and expect to have perfectly fresh 10 hour-and-under legs on race day. Whether you are focusing on volume early in the year and intensity as the Ironman approaches, or vice versa (both approaches can work), you must refuse to do the same training intensity and volume week in and week out, year-round. Using periodizing, or clearly identifying periods of the training year during which you are going to focus on specific skills or fitness parameters, you improve in a stair-stepping fashion to a peak on Ironman race day, rather than simply flatlining at a medium pace year round.

5. Recovery

Training consistency is vital to be able to break 10 hours in Ironman. The fast Ironman triathletes can come back day-after-day for each training session, and miss very few key work outs during the year – and a huge part of this is recovery. If constant injuries and immune system crashes are sabotaging the training plan, it can mean a loss of 20 minutes to 2 hours in Ironman fitness. Recovery requires implementation and frequent use of ice and ice baths, compression gear, massage therapy, foam rollers, amino acids and other nutrition recovery supplements, leg-flushing workouts after hard days or races, and an open mind to physical therapy and rehabilitation modalities such as ultrasound, electrostimulation, infrared, vibration, or magnets if an injury actually does occur. Proper recovery also means being able to know when you’re not recovered, via tracking of resting heart rate, soreness, sleep and when necessary, biological parameters such as hormone ratios.

So those are the first five steps of how to break 10 hours in an Ironman triathlon. The next five steps are revealed in How To Break 10 Hours in Ironman: Part II, available instantly inside the Rock Star Triathlete Academy.

Get what it takes to go under10 hours at an Ironman Go to Rock Star Triathlete and sign up for free today.. Check here for free reprint license: How To Go Sub 10 Hours at An Ironman: Part 1.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Greenfield, Ben "How To Go Sub 10 Hours at An Ironman: Part 1." How To Go Sub 10 Hours at An Ironman: Part 1. 18 Jan. 2011. 21 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Greenfield, B (2011, January 18). How To Go Sub 10 Hours at An Ironman: Part 1. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Greenfield, Ben "How To Go Sub 10 Hours at An Ironman: Part 1"

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