Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Melbourne Ironman : Nugget Goes Sub 9:00hrs

Stephen Natoli

The brief was simple with Stephen. His best Ironman time was Melbourne 2012, in a time of 9:14hrs where he qualified for Hawaii. His splits are below

NATOLI, Stephen

 There were a few aims for Ironman Melbourne
  1. Hawaiian Ironman qualification
  2. A sub 9:00hr Ironman result – which we knew would be required to achieve qualification
  3. A quality run off the bike
This would be a hard task, as Stephen is typical of a well- conditioned endurance athlete having made the most of this attribute over a number of years training. So we needed to look for gains in speed development and endurance during this year’s Ironman training program
So in September last year we commenced with this plan, with his run speed off the bike as a main priority.

A 15week block emphasising run endurance and speed, consisting of

·         8weeks targeting half marathon run speed – 15th Sept to Shepparton Challenge (16th Nov)

Stephen ran a solid 1:22hr half marathon off the bike at Shepparton

·         Then 7weeks targeting 10k run speed – Nov 17th to 4th January

·         11weeks specific IM phase – to race day

The 15week period from September to January had Stephen running 3 quality runs a week plus the long run.

In the half marathon phase the emphasis was on 2 main threshold sessions a week and one shorter fartlek set with the surges targeting half to 10km TT pace. Plus a long run
In the 10km phase, the emphasis was on 3 elements, 1 threshold session, 1 shorter quality fartlek set with surges targeting 10km to 3km TT pace, plus basic speed surge intervals as part of an easy run.

Then from January we moved to our traditional Race phase program maintaining the gains made in the run from the previous 15weeks.

Ironman Melbourne Race day
Stephen had a great race, he achieved all the things we hoped for as athlete and coach, PB’ing each leg, going sub 9:00hrs up the chute and finishing 2nd in age

NATOLI, Stephen

Stephen had a solid swim PB, rode 8mins faster than he has before, and ran very well off the bike, considering the effort Stephen put in on the bike and the heat of the day.
A couple of things Stephen mentioned during our coach/athlete post- race review also confirmed the plan worked. Obviously we had a planned intensity for the swim and bike, and on the run to utilise fresh legs early in the marathon whilst Stephen had them.
Stephen (right) with training partner Steve Guy

He was holding sub 4:00min k pace early in the marathon, which was surprisingly quick considering he had pushed the bike leg hard, but it was in the right HR zone so he pushed on. His fast early leg speed confirmed his pre specific phase run training had worked well, and once the accumulated fatigue settled in on the second half of the marathon, Stephen was still able to maintain a strong pace to finish off the event, making up a number of positions late in the marathon.  

It was a great result with improvements across all disciplines, but mostly it is testament to Stephen’s application over time and his confidence in the program.

Coach Foz