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Ironman champion Joe Skipper trialling new approach to run training ahead of huge racing season

Joe Skipper on double threshold training and adapting to new stimulus.

Staff Reporter
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Multiple time IRONMAN Champion and fan favourite Joe Skipper has revealed that he’s trialling a new training method, as the Brit looks to return to his best this season.

The 35-year-old, who was a standout performer in 2022 but struggled for form last year, is set to kick his season off with a double header at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside and IRONMAN Texas in April.

As he prepares for the inaugural IRONMAN Pro Series, the Norfolk based pro has introduced double threshold training to his schedule, which he hopes will help take his running to new heights.

“You have always got to look at what you can do differently”

Despite being one of the quickest runners in long course triathlon, Skipper is still looking to find the marginal gains that will allow him to improve. To do this, he has recently swapped long runs for double threshold days.

Joe Skipper IRONMAN Lake Placid Results 2023
Joe Skipper wins IRONMAN Lake Placid 2023 (Patrick McDermott, Getty Images for IRONMAN).

“With long runs, I have always had a love-hate relationship with them really. As a marathon runner, there are a lot of gains to be had by getting that long endurance session in, because you are not doing the biking or the swimming that we are doing when we are training for triathlon.

“If I was doing a marathon then of course I would do a long run, but what you have to think about when you’re doing triathlon is that you’re not going to get that much more cardiovascular gains by doing a long run because you will make them in other areas.” 

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“I feel like it doesn’t take too much out of me”

Whilst double threshold training is popular in other sports such as athletics, it isn’t as prevalent in triathlon. Skipper, listing the potential benefits, appears to be sold on the philosophy.

“You have to ask yourself, is a long run going to make me use less oxygen per kilo of body weight at a given speed. If the answer is yes, then I would do a long run, but if I think however that doing a double threshold will make me more efficiently, then I’ll do that.

“I think I am getting used to running at a higher speed for longer, I think you get the time on feet from the double threshold and I think that in terms of biomechanics it makes me more efficient. Having done it before, I also feel like it doesn’t take too much out of me.

“With your training, you have always got to look at what you can do differently to get better, because if you do something over and over again that isn’t working then you’ll stay the same.” 

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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