We catch up with Ironman Kona qualifier Aled Smith on this episode of The Kona Edge to chat about how he has improved his running. We discover the techniques he used to improve his endurance and decrease his times. Having shaved 50 minutes off of his Ironman run time, Aled reveals the secret to his improvement.
BRAD BROWN: Time to chat some more running here on The Kona Edge, my name is Brad Brown, it’s good to have you with us and it’s an absolute pleasure to head over to Whales once again where Aled Smith joins us. Aled, welcome back, nice to catch up again.
ALED SMITH: Thank you very much, it’s good to be here.
BRAD BROWN: Aled, you’ve told us before that you came from a biking background and your swim is not the strongest, the bike is pretty decent, how would you consider your run?
ALED SMITH: I’d consider it okay, I think it’s on par with my cycling now, so it’s steadily improved as I’ve gone over through the years, through the Ironman transition, it’s getting there for sure.
BRAD BROWN: Running, Ironman is often won and lost on the Ironman run, yes, what you do on the Ironman bike is going to make a big difference, but being able to really stick a good Ironman run is pretty important. As far as what you’ve done to improve your run because your times have really improved over your shortish career, is there one thing that you can pinpoint, that you go, this is what’s made the biggest difference in my Ironman run?
ALED SMITH: Yeah, so when I was at university going into my second Ironman I literally, that’s all I concentrated on throughout the winter. I joined a running club and I just ran and ran and ran, that’s stayed with me, it’s not dropped off the less I’ve done.
That commitment to running 3-4 times a week, high levels, low levels, endurance, sprints, it’s just worked in my favour and that’s where it’s made a massive difference.
Sort of knocked 50 minutes off my marathon time, just from concentrating on a good block of sessions, just on running and I didn’t care about the bike, didn’t care about the swimming, that’s all I concentrated on for a good few months of the off season.
BRAD BROWN: I mean I can vouch for that, 50 minutes off a marathon time is incredible. I’ve got a similar sort of experience where after my first Ironman I decided I’m just going to focus on the run and I literally took an hour and 40 minutes off of my marathon time in doing exactly that. Really focusing on the run and yeah, spending time on the bike and in the water, but the Ironman run is just so vital isn’t it?
Banking Ironman time – The run is where you do it
ALED SMITH: Yeah, especially at higher level, you bank more on that Ironman run being good. If you want to be a good Ironman, then you can’t let your run let you down, it’s just not going to work for you and especially going into Kona qualification.
If you’re good on the Ironman swim, good on the Ironman bike, then you can just blitz through the field on the Ironman run, it really does make a big difference having a good run, it does help, definitely.
BRAD BROWN: You’ve spoken on previous interviews about how you like mixing things up in your workouts, you do it in the water, you do it on the bike as well and I’m sure you do it on the run.
What are some of your favourite workouts or what is your favourite workout to do on the run?
ALED SMITH: My favourite Ironman run workout is a bit of a monster to be honest because my local tri club, I coach the running sessions and I live about 5 miles away from the session. What I do is make it into my long run, but add a high intensity interval session in the middle.
So I’d run 5 miles as a warm up, low intensity job, and then I’d have 5 miles or an hour of good, hard intervals, really pushing yourself to the max because you’re with other people, just push yourself harder, you just don’t want to back off that pace.
So, you’re just there throughout the whole session, working really hard and then it’s about a 5 miles run home, so I’m getting my good, long run in, sort of 15-16 miles, but it’s got a mix of everything, of low intensity, high intensity and then more race pace efforts.
That’s my favourite workout, but it’s just such a hard effort, it makes you feel really good once you’ve finished it.
BRAD BROWN: I’m going to say, the last 5 home must be pretty tough. You talk about tempo run, it might be a drag home.
ALED SMITH: Yeah, it depends on how you feel, how your energy levels are, it could be the worst 5 miles you’ll ever run.
BRAD BROWN: Excellent, Aled, thank you so much for joining us here on The Kona Edge, much appreciated, we look forward to catching up again.
ALED SMITH: That’s great, thanks Brad.