Chris “Macca” McCormack's Iron-Willed Triathlon Training | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Chris “Macca” McCormack's Iron-Willed Triathlon Training

August 16, 2011

Chris McCormack is widely considered one of the world’s best athletes. A two-time winner of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, “Macca” has dominated the triathlon circuit around the globe for over a decade. His accomplishments are impressive, but they have not come without setbacks. Macca has had to work hard to overcome adversity and meet the challenges of his sport.

Although he found success in other races, Macca struggled early to conquer Kona. On his first attempt and after much hype, the intense heat and wind got the best of him, and he failed to finish. It took him six tries, but in 2007, he finally crossed the finish line first—after eight hours, 15 minutes and 34 seconds of intense work. Three years later, he won his second Ironman in 8:10:37. ["Normal" athletes take around 11 hours.]

To prepare for the Ironman—a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run—Macca begins training 10 to 12 weeks before the event; and he trains between 25 and 30 hours per week, which involves, he says "10 to 15 miles of swimming, 400 miles of riding and 60 miles of running." You'd have to drive eight hours at 60 mph to cover the distance Macca travels in a single week of training.

Although endurance training is his main focus, Macca also spends time cross-training. “By definition, triathlon is the quintessential cross-training sport,” he says, so he incorporates a variety of training methods into his program. He particularly enjoys boxing, which he views as delivering valuable performance improvements to his endurance racing. “I do a lot of boxing work for my motor neuron skills,” he says. “I find I get very lean very quickly and I’m very quick on my feet.”

Finally, Macca believes weight room training is important for endurance athletes. He performs exercises that closely mimic the movements of swimming, biking and running. One of his favorites is the Lat Pulldown, which improves his swimming stroke. He also spends time developing his core. This provides a strong muscle foundation so he can maintain form and prevent fatigue throughout a race.

Want more on Macca? View new STACK TV training and interview videos here.

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Things You Must Do Before Trying Minimalist Running Shoes

Learn the Secrets of Tapering

Running Tips for True Beginners

7 Tips to Help First-Time Marathoners Avoid Common Mistakes

How to Design a Running Schedule That Fits Your Life

Weight Training for Runners: 3 Full-Body Moves

How to Prepare for the Spartan Race and Other Mud Runs

Be Ready to Run a 5K in 6-8 Weeks

The Exercise Every Runner Must Do

The Nature and Nurture of Running for Fitness

Runners: Don't Overlook These 2 Types of Training

6 5K Tips for a Great Running Experience

Pick The Right Running Partner (The First Time)

STACK Challenge: Army Two-Mile Run

Maximize Your Trail Running

You're Doing It Wrong: Running

4 Running Form Fixes for Beginners

How to Start Your Barefoot Leg Workout

Are You Ready for the Arctic Enema?

Why Jogging Is Counterproductive

8-Week Spartan Beast Training Program

Are You Ready for a Tough Mudder?

Ultramarathon Runner Stephanie Howe's 7 Training Secrets

How to Control Your Breathing During an Obstacle Race

4 Biggest 5K Training Mistakes

Hunter McIntyre Rises Above the Competition

5 Keys and A Workout Plan for An Awesome 5K

7-Year Old Triathlete Sets 5K Record

Training for Mud Runs, Part 4: Long Trail Runs

The Only 2 Running Diet Rules You Need to Know

Running Away From GI Distress: Symptoms, Causes And Tips

An Introduction to Strength Training for Runners

Don't Choke on Race Day: Tips to Run a Better Race

Foolproof 20-Week Marathon Training Schedule

Tired of Tiring During Runs? Try These Jogging Pace Drills

7 Endurance Tips From Ultramarathon Runner Ian Sharman

The Obstacle Course Racer's Guide to Fixing Muscle Cramps

Guide to Common Running Terminology

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Ran My First Marathon

The Most Effective Form of Endurance Training

Get Geared Up for the Wall Jump Obstacle

Off-Season Triathlon Training Tips and Workout Program