Listen to your body to avoid getting injured

Listen to your body to avoid getting injured

Ironman Run Injury – Hacks to keep you injury free
Rob Cummins Ironman Bike

In this episode of The Kona Edge we catch up with Eulali Gouws and talk about the transition from cycling to running and find out how she ‘trains to her body’ which helps her to avoid getting injured. (Read the transcription of our chat here)

 

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Transcription & Resources:

The Coach Parry Online Training Club

The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.

Developed by Double Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown the host of The Kona Edge, The Coach Parry Training Club is THE go-to online platform for your training needs. It’s like having a coach in your pocket.

Get 20% off when you join the Coach Parry Training Club by using the coupon KONA at checkout. Learn more about the Coach Parry Online Training Club by clicking here.

Wheelscience

If you’re looking for world-class carbon wheels, that are UCI approved, come with a lifetime warranty and shipped free, worldwide then check out Wheelscience. Get all the performance at half the price and when you use the coupon KONAEDGE at checkout you’ll get an extra 10% discount. To learn more head over to thekonaedge.com/wheels to find out more

Podcast Transcription:

BRAD BROWN:  You’re listening to The Kona Edge and it’s time to chat some running on today’s podcast and we head back to Johannesburg in South Africa to catch up with our next guest, a returning guest, Eulali Gouws, Eulali, welcome back.

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Thank you so much, nice to be back Brad.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Eulali, let’s talk about your run; out of the three disciplines you’ve confessed it is your strongest. You come from a bit of a running background, which is an advantage, coming into the sport of triathlon, but why do you think you’re such a strong runner and particularly in an Ironman? Everyone is knackered by the time they get off the bike and you see to find your straps. If you look at your race splits, Kona last year is a good example, I don’t think anybody passed you? You made up great ground on that run. What’s the secret to running well off the bike?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Fitness! I must say fitness and just brick runs. I almost do a brick run every Saturday after a long ride, I do a brick run, just to get the muscles used to running after cycling. I’ve seen so many people, strong runners getting off the bike and they just can’t run. I’m just lucky, it’s like my legs love running once they’ve warmed up. It’s like they warmed up on the bike, they’re now into that cadence and I’m just lucky, I can run off the bike very well. I actually run better off the bike than just going out on a Sunday morning and just running without cycling beforehand.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Talk to me about those brick runs, are they fairly long runs or is it just a case to get used to that feeling, that you do a long bike ride and you end up doing a 10-20 minute run, just to get your body used to that feeling of where it doesn’t feel like it’s your legs, it’s someone else’s legs.

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Exactly that feeling! No, it’s short runs, it’s 30-40 minutes, just to get your body into that gear. The most difficult part of a brick run is the first 1-2km, so once you’ve settled into that rhythm you can keep on going, that’s where the fitness kicks in. The brick runs are literally just there to remind your legs, hey, this is what it feels like when you run after a bike.

 

BRAD BROWN:  As far as run training goes, coming into the sport from a running background, do you feel like your running has taken a bit of a backseat in training to get the other two disciplines up to speed or are you doing pretty much the same sort of mileage?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Pretty much doing the same sort of mileage. I do track sessions with my triathlon group twice a week, which has really helped. I must say, doing some faster fartlek’s, 400s, 800s has really improved my running significantly. Doing focused running training two or three times a week has actually improved my running. Cycling and getting strong on the bike also help with my running a lot.

 

BRAD BROWN:  It’s interesting, you talk about being able to run a good marathon off the bike, a lot of it, the groundwork is laid on the bike and in the water, is feeling good enough to run a strong marathon. Those high intensity sessions, it sounds like you’re doing quite a few, what would the breakup be from a easier session, lower intensity to those high intensity sessions. How many of those would you typically do a week? How many of the lower intensity sessions would you do a week?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  I would do just about two high intensity sessions a week and then the rest would be more, I love doing my long runs alone, because then I’m one of those people who really train to my body. If I don’t feel good that day, I won’t push it. I think that’s also what helped me not to get injured. If I wake up in the morning and I don’t want to run at five minutes per km, my body feels not up to it, I run at an average pace of 5:15 or whatever and that’s how I don’t get injured. I can keep on going. I’ve seen a lot of guys, their ego comes in and then they want to outrun the rest and they don’t feel well and that’s when they get injured whereas I’m one of those people that really listen to my body. I’ll try and push hard in my track sessions but then when the day comes to do a slow, long run, I’ll stick to my slow pace and it actually helps.

 

BRAD BROWN:  As far as favorite workouts, what do you love doing?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  I actually love fartlek sessions where you go hard for a minute, easy for a minute, hard for two minutes, easy for two minutes. Those are one of my favorite sets.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Brilliant. Eulali, it’s been amazing catching up once again, I look forward to talking a little bit about your nutrition strategy and how you piece that together, but we’ll save that for another time, thanks for your time on The Kona Edge today.

EULALI GOUWS:  Thanks Brad.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.

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10 + 5 =

Bike a lot and bike hard – Rasmus Svenningsson’s bike tips

Bike a lot and bike hard – Rasmus Svenningsson’s bike tips

Rob Cummins Ironman Bike

We welcome back Rasmus Svenningsson to The Kona Edge today as we discuss high intensity interval training on the bike, favorite workouts and the benefits of using a Power meter.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

Subscribe to The Kona Edge:

Subscribe on iTunes

Download via RSS

Transcription & Resources:

The Coach Parry Online Training Club

The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.

Developed by Double Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown the host of The Kona Edge, The Coach Parry Training Club is THE go-to online platform for your training needs. It’s like having a coach in your pocket.

Get 20% off when you join the Coach Parry Training Club by using the coupon KONA at checkout. Learn more about the Coach Parry Online Training Club by clicking here.

Wheelscience

If you’re looking for world-class carbon wheels, that are UCI approved, come with a lifetime warranty and shipped free, worldwide then check out Wheelscience. Get all the performance at half the price and when you use the coupon KONAEDGE at checkout you’ll get an extra 10% discount. To learn more head over to thekonaedge.com/wheels to find out more

Podcast Transcription:

 

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back onto this edition of The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown; we’ve got Rasmus Svenningsson with us once again. Rasmus, welcome back onto The Kona Edge, your bike performance in Kona 2018 was off the charts. You’re a monster on a bicycle!

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Yeah, maybe! I can agree with you on that one!

BRAD BROWN:  How? I mean sub 4:30 bike on the Big Island is spectacular, what’s the secret?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  I don’t think there’s any specific secret to cycling, you just need to bike a lot and bike hard. I think my secret or my training for cycling, I focus very much on high intensity intervals in the pre-season and then I have eight minute intervals is my favorite exercise, like four, five, six, eight minute intervals and you’re supposed to be doing them above threshold Power, so you really stress your VO2 max system. I think it’s better [** 0.40.14] than like the more regular four minutes. I consider or it is my opinion that you may rely too much on your anaerobic capacity on those shorter four/five minute intervals. You need to really stimulate your aerobic capacity when you do slightly longer VO2 max intervals. That’s the exercise I really would like to recommend to people.

BRAD BROWN:  You’ve also spoken quite a bit about Power and chasing Power and chasing professionals Power numbers. Have you always worked on Power? Is it something you live and die by?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  No, I started a year ago, or just over a year ago.

BRAD BROWN:  Has it made a big difference?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Yeah, it actually has, I must say because it’s made the training so much more fun and you can follow your progress much easier, it’s much easier to follow your progress and you have something to aim for on those interval workouts. Yeah, I think it has actually changed a lot for me. That’s a good investment. I know they’re very expensive, but actually really worth it.

BRAD BROWN:  What are you using? What Power meter?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  I use the Stages dual sided Power meter from the right hand –

BRAD BROWN:  And the left. Tell me about your bike setup, what bike are you riding? The wheels, let’s get a little bit geeky on the tech.

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  I’ve been riding a Canyon Speedmax, it’s not the new, the brand new geometry that arrived in 2015, it’s an old geometry from 2014 but it’s rather similar, but there are some minor differences. Yeah, I really like it and it’s really comfortable and I think my aero-proficiency is quite good. I’ve never done any really standardized aero testing, but I’ve been told that I look quite aero on the bike. The wheels are Zipp 808 Firecrest.

BRAD BROWN:  The bike sounds fast!

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Yeah, it is, for sure.

BRAD BROWN:  It helps with the engine that’s on it as well, that’s for sure. Tell me about your favorite ride, if you could only ever do one training ride over and over again for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

RASMUS SVENNINGSSON:  Mostly I’m riding on the trainer now, but I love riding in the Alps, some kind of ride in the mountains. I’ve been riding on [** 0.43.39] as well and they have tremendous bike roads, so yes somewhere in the mountains.

BRAD BROWN:  Brilliant, Rasmus, it’s been great catching up once again. I look forward to talking about your run, but we’ll save that for next week, thanks for your time on The Kona Edge today.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.

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If you'd like to advertise on The Kona Edge, download our rate card.

Support Us

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Patron of The Kona Edge, click here.

Contact Us

1 + 3 =

Using a metronome to improve your Ironman swim

Using a metronome to improve your Ironman swim

In this episode of The Kona Edge we catch up with Brice Williams and chat about how he adjusts his stroke to improve his swim in open water.

We also discuss how using a metronome can be very beneficial in training for your Ironman swim.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

Subscribe to The Kona Edge:

Subscribe on iTunes

Download via RSS

Swim faster without spending more time in the water

Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.

Resources:

The Coach Parry Online Training Club

The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.

Developed by Double Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown the host of The Kona Edge, The Coach Parry Training Club is THE go-to online platform for your training needs. It’s like having a coach in your pocket.

Get 20% off when you join the Coach Parry Training Club by using the coupon KONA at checkout. Learn more about the Coach Parry Online Training Club by clicking here.

Wheelscience

If you’re looking for world-class carbon wheels, that are UCI approved, come with a lifetime warranty and shipped free, worldwide then check out Wheelscience. Get all the performance at half the price and when you use the coupon KONAEDGE at checkout you’ll get an extra 10% discount. To learn more head over to thekonaedge.com/wheels to find out more

Transcription:

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome onto this edition of The Kona Edge, my name is Brad Brown and we’re chatting some swimming today as we head back to Utah in the United States. It’s a great pleasure to welcome Brice Williams onto the podcast, Brice, welcome back.

BRICE WILLIAMS:  Thanks for having me Brad.

BRAD BROWN:  Brice, I’m interested to dig into your swimming a little bit because coming into the sport of triathlon you did have a bit of a swimming background from high school and college days. You might not have been swimming much at the time when you got into the sport but I guess it’s a bit like riding a bicycle, once you’ve figured out how to do it, you never quite lose that skill and you just need to build up the fitness and the endurance. Do you think that was a bit of an advantage having that background coming into the sport?

BRICE WILLIAMS:  Absolutely, it is a little bit like riding a bike, your stroke comes back, your feel for the water comes back quickly and most of all, you have that confidence going in that you’re going to be okay. It’s always a little scary to be out there with a bunch of people and you’re getting hit and rolled over and stuff, but having that swimming background gave me the confidence that I knew I’d be okay out there.

BRAD BROWN:  I’m glad you used the word ‘confidence’ because that plays such a big part in swimming, especially when your face is in the water and you’re trying to control your breathing. When you’re starting out in the sport or if you’re not really a confident swimmer, when something happens, maybe you get punched or you get kicked, it’s easy to break that rhythm and then panic and everything then goes backwards, but having that confidence, knowing that you can deal with those sorts of things is a huge plus.

BRICE WILLIAMS:  Absolutely.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you think it’s something that comes with time? Is it a case of just spending more time in the water or is there anything you can do that you think would improve that confidence?

BRICE WILLIAMS:  I do think time in the water is going to be number one, but you can also accelerate that confidence development by putting yourself in frequent situations similar to race conditions. One of the things that we do sometimes here is put three or four people in a lane and we all start and swim together in that pool, the swim lane and we purposefully run into each other and grab each other and push on each other and you’re trying to become comfortable with the discomfort of swimming in groups.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s a great way and that’s Ironman, you’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable I guess. That’s one of the keys to success. Having that background of swimming and we spoke a little bit about the background, it was more from a sprint perspective, but you did big volumes in the pool, how has that translated into swimming an Ironman swim but then also having to swim open water? It’s a very different skill set being in a pool as opposed to being in open water.

BRICE WILLIAMS:  It is a very different skill set. My flip turns give me a huge advantage in the pool and if you take that away, in the beginning I was kind of an average swimmer in open water. I finished not in the top front group and it took stepping back and realizing that just because I had a pool swimming background, didn’t automatically mean I’d be a front pack swimmer and that humility to relearn some of the skills that are more important for open water.

BRAD BROWN:  What are some of the differences?

BRICE WILLIAMS:  Well, the biggest thing I noticed was having to increase my cadence rate. In the pool you have such a nice surface of the water and it’s calm that you can do a little more gliding and a little more of a strong full pull. In the open water you almost have to shorten your stroke a little bit and increase your cadence so that you constantly have the pull forward to keep your propulsion up. That was something that I had to relearn a little bit. Coming from a sprinting background, my kick was also a humongous part of my speed and I had to realize that that’s not going to help me too much in a long distance open water event. I dropped my kick way down and learned how to just increase my front crawl cadence and pull.

BRAD BROWN:  Over your triathlon career, is there something you’ve done in the pool you think has made a really big difference to your swimming performance?

BRICE WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I do longer sets. I do follow the TOWER 26 swim programme; I think Gerry Rodriguez does a fantastic job of helping people like me that have a pool background to learn some of those open water skills. I’ll spend plenty of time in the pool sighting, it’s part of almost every workout, especially during race season. We get out of the pool a fair amount and practice the transition of being in the water to being outside water. Then I get a metronome, a little swim metronome by FINIS and I’ll make sure during my longer sets that I don’t drop off a little bit on my cadence, it keeps me honest and steady for that. Honestly, there’s no way to fully simulate open water conditions without being in open water and so I usually swim three times a week, twice in the pool and those are bigger days and then once a week I’m either in the open water or in my forever pool, I happen to have one of those endless pools that I can just swim without stopping and there’s no walls to give me a nice break.

BRAD BROWN:  Talk to me about that metronome, I’ve been doing this podcast for about four years now and you’re the first person that’s mentioned the metronome. I know a few people that use it, tell me, I’m guessing there’s a couple of people listening to this podcast that have never heard that either, tell me a little bit about what it does and why you use it?

BRICE WILLIAMS:  So, it’s a little device that sits under your swim cap and I just put it next to my ear so I can hear it all the time. The overall goal is to slowly increase your cadence rate through the months or years, but also despite increasing your cadence rate, you’re still maintaining that level of effort. For the swim to be about an hour, you can reach into a tempo kind of effort. It’s above aerobic, it’s just below threshold, you can hold that for an hour. The metronome helps me to slowly improve my cadence rate, but still maintaining that same effort level over time and it’s helped me to change my stroke so that I’m not going too slow on my stroke, especially at the end of my longer sets. If I’m going to go out and do a progression set where my longer swim gradually gets longer, 200 all the way up eventually to 800, I’ll turn my metronome on, at the 200 and set it to something that I feel I can attain. For me it’s in the low 80s, strokes per minute but by the time I get to the 800, I’d better still be able to hold that or I know that I’m going to suffer on an Ironman swim.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s pretty interesting and you’ve obviously seen big results with it over the years?

BRICE WILLIAMS:  Yeah, and I’ve used it more in the last year or so. My swims have gradually come down from, in the beginning it was in the high 50s and I think I’ve done 52 or 50. I’m hoping to break that 50 minute barrier at some point, you never know. My build for Texas is going pretty well, so there’s a possibility.

BRAD BROWN:  Good news, Brice, it’s been great catching up, I look forward to talking about your bike next time out, thanks for joining me on The Kona Edge today.

BRICE WILLIAMS:  My pleasure.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.

Advertise

If you'd like to advertise on The Kona Edge, download our rate card.

Support Us

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Patron of The Kona Edge, click here.

Contact Us

13 + 10 =

Consistency is key – The Lesley West Ironman Kona Story

Consistency is key – The Lesley West Ironman Kona Story

 

On this edition of The Kona Edge we head to Melbourne Australia to learn more about Lesley West and her journey to Ironman Kona. We chat about how she transitioned from netball to triathlons as well as what her first Ironman experience was like on the Big Island.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

Subscribe to The Kona Edge:

Subscribe on iTunes

Download via RSS

Swim faster without spending more time in the water

Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.

Transcription & Resources:

The Coach Parry Online Training Club

The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.

Developed by Double Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown the host of The Kona Edge, The Coach Parry Training Club is THE go-to online platform for your training needs. It’s like having a coach in your pocket.

Get 20% off when you join the Coach Parry Training Club by using the coupon KONA at checkout. Learn more about the Coach Parry Online Training Club by clicking here.

Wheelscience

If you’re looking for world-class carbon wheels, that are UCI approved, come with a lifetime warranty and shipped free, worldwide then check out Wheelscience. Get all the performance at half the price and when you use the coupon KONAEDGE at checkout you’ll get an extra 10% discount. To learn more head over to thekonaedge.com/wheels to find out more

Podcast Transcription:

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome onto this edition of The Kona Edge, my name is Brad Brown; it’s good to be with you. Thank you so much for listening and downloading this podcast and we head to Melbourne in Australia now to catch up with our next guest, Lesley West. Lesley, welcome onto the podcast, thanks for joining me.

LESLEY WEST:  Hi Brad, thanks for having me.

BRAD BROWN:  Lesley, it’s great to have you on and that was one sentence, straight away I can tell that’s not an Australian accent, where are you originally from? You’re not Aussie.

LESLEY WEST:  Well, technically I’m not Aussie although I am now a citizen. No, I’m from Glasgow, born and bred.

BRAD BROWN:  Scotland, vastly different to Melbourne, Australia?

LESLEY WEST:  Yes, very different, very different weather, which is pretty much why we upped and moved. I did make my way gradually south through England and ended up in London for a few years and then we made the big move across.

BRAD BROWN:  No looking back, obviously climate-wise you can’t compare.

LESLEY WEST:  No, that’s it, and the lifestyle, just the outdoors and just very different. Miss family and friends at home, obviously and Scotland will always be home-home, but for now Melbourne, certainly yeah is home.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as Australia goes, I mean Melbourne, I know I’m probably going to alienate half of our Australian listeners, but Melbourne is the sporting capital. There’s just so much outside of triathlon that goes on in Melbourne. I think of the Aussie Open tennis, there’s so much that happens in Melbourne isn’t it?

LESLEY WEST:  There’s loads, obviously Aussie Rules is a big part of Aussie life and there’s just always something, if you wanted to go and watch anything or people to run with or just so many people just always out and about, regardless of the weather really, even though we get a bit of rain.

BRAD BROWN:  I was going to say, we were talking before we started recording. You said you’re getting a bit soft after six years in Australia, you’re now heading out with arm warmers and leg warmers, there’s no ways you’d ever be able to run, swim, bike if you had to go back to Scotland.

LESLEY WEST:  If I went home and still wanted to do triathlon, I guarantee almost everything would be indoors. Our concept of what is cold is definitely very different now.

BRAD BROWN:  Absolutely. Tell me about your sporting background; have you always been sporty growing up, where do you come from?

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah, my background was in netball. My mom played, my sisters played, I grew up with it from a fairly young age, probably seven or eight and just always enjoyed out and about, running around, always good at PE, really enjoyed it, but didn’t really do any other sport other than that. Grew up with it, kept playing netball to a fairly decent level, played age group national level. Scotland aren’t really known for their netball and expertise, but I made my way up the ranks and played up until I moved to Australia really.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as the transition into triathlon, netball, obviously it’s a team sport and triathlon not so much, particularly the long stuff, the long drafting, was it a difficult transition for you?

LESLEY WEST:  No, not really. Basically what happened, I was playing, I was doing a lot of netball back in London and we were moving out to Australia and the big dream was, I’m going to the home of netball, this will be brilliant, I’ll find a team and a club. I just found it really difficult in Melbourne where I wasn’t quite good enough to play at state level and the level below that seemed to be a lot of social or if you didn’t already know people, it was quite hard to get in on that club level which was disappointing because I’d had this big hope of keeping on playing.

I actually couldn’t swim. I’d been terrified of water pretty much my whole life and it always just annoyed me. It wasn’t I’m determined to get over this; I just found it really irritating. I had this irrational fear of water, so decided that the best way to get over it was to just give triathlon a go or I’d give it a go and then find a coach and actually learn to swim. I did that within a few months of us moving to Australia. I quickly immersed myself in the community and with my club and so those people then became my friends and family around us.

BRAD BROWN:  I find it interesting that you went the triathlon route. I understand the swimming, there’s a huge swimming culture in Australia, why triathlon and not stand-alone swimming?

LESLEY WEST:  I genuinely could not swim a stroke, so I couldn’t rely on that. I don’t know, there’s something about it, I think running has always come naturally to me and obviously years of netball, I’ve got an incredibly high cadence when I run, which I put down to my years of netball. I did a little bit of commute and then I just had seen this thing called triathlon and thought, that sounds pretty good but I’m going to have to get over this fear of water. It was intrigue really. I certainly didn’t expect to be a couple of years down the line and it’s all encompassing part time job type of thing.

BRAD BROWN:  How long ago was that, that’s five/six years ago?

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah, five/six years ago.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s all been pretty recent, it’s not that you’ve been around the sport for a long, long time?

LESLEY WEST:  Not at all and even now we joke that I remember in my first season, like I said to you, I had a club and a squad right away, so that was what I knew and I just remembered everyone, there was a bunch of people going to this place in Hawaii doing this thing called Ironman and I just remember being really confused because I thought we did triathlon. I couldn’t work out where this Ironman thing was that they were doing. I’m like, oh, is that something different because I thought we were a triathlon club, but I had zero idea. I kind of knew about the Brownlee’s because being around the UK and the Olympics and stuff but that was all I knew. Yeah, I’ve just fully absorbed myself in it.

BRAD BROWN:  You’ve obviously fallen in love with it, the first one didn’t go too badly, tell me about that first one?

LESLEY WEST:  The first one, we were laughing about this. It was actually almost six years ago this weekend and I did have, it was basically a mini try. It was 300m swim, 10km bike and I think a 3km run and I think I was something like 45th in my age group out of the water, I can’t remember what I did on the bike, but I managed to run my way into 7th, which I was pretty happy about. At that point it was okay, this is pretty good because I get to pass people. I was so far back out of the water but I got to run past everyone. I don’t know, then I thought, I could definitely get better at this and that was it. I sort of tried to find a club and yeah, threw myself right into it.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s amazing the psychological benefit of being a weaker swimmer as opposed to being a weaker runner and passing people as opposed to being passed, that plays a huge thing, particularly when you go longer.

LESLEY WEST:  Oh, huge, 100%. I remember doing one race on a local tri circuit and I think this was before I’d done any long course and something had obviously gone wrong but actually gone right. I think I came off the bike in the lead in my age group and all of a sudden I was like, I don’t know what to do because I’m usually chasing someone and now I’m being chased and I don’t know how to handle this and I just ran, did what I could, it was 5km but it was totally different psychological feeling of being chased rather than I’m always chasing people.

BRAD BROWN:  Tell me about the move to long course. It’s one thing doing shorter triathlons but deciding to go half Ironman distance, full Ironman distance, that’s a totally different beast.

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah, so I did the Duathlon Worlds in 2015 in Adelaide and then people were talking about Ballarat 70.3 which was in the December. I don’t know, I think I just, I realized that I really enjoyed going for long rides and I liked doing the long runs. We’d sort of worked out that I was never going to be a fast swimmer, but I could get a pace I could pretty much hold onto, but I just enjoyed the thought of going out and riding for four, five, six hours or doing those long runs. So, decided oh yeah, I’ll give Ballarat a go and interestingly, it was part of the qualifying year for Sunny Coast Worlds in 2016.

All the big guns started coming out because of course everybody wanted to qualify for the home World Champs. I had no idea even at that point what’s this World Champs thing, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Yeah, decided to give Ballarat a go, so that was my first 70.3, so that was December 2015. Really enjoyed it but made a bunch of rookie errors on nutrition and pacing and lost my timing chip and everything that could happen just went wrong, but it was great fun.

BRAD BROWN:  Isn’t that always the case though with the longer ones, everything never goes 100% right, there’s always something you can improve on and I think that’s part of what keeps us coming back for more.

LESLEY WEST:  I agree because I think once you get to that point, and I think the race I did after that, that was the December and the February I did Geelong and the thing that made me go, wait a minute, I’ve made these mistakes, I reckon I can fix them for next time. You fix those things or you aim to fix those things and then there’s something else. For those sorts of A Type personalities as well, I think you’re never going to be quite satisfied. You do, you’re always going, I can do this a bit better or sort out something. I think it does come down to how you then deal with those things on race day but also afterwards.

BRAD BROWN:  Have you always been competitive, I mean on the netball side of things have you always wanted to –

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you think that is key to being successful at Ironman and particularly racing on the Big Island?

LESLEY WEST:  Yes, but what I always say, I think there’s also, I’m going to say yes but [** 0.11.00] competitiveness or mindset and the ability to tap into a mindset. Yes, I’ve always been competitive. If I lied and said no and people that know me heard this, they would call me out on it! I also am competitive with myself as much as anything, but the way I always see it, am I always quicker than other people physically? I don’t know, but I have an ability to sort of push myself that little bit more and really work hard and tap into that mental, the mental side of it. I think you can train yourself to do it, but obviously I think some people have that naturally and maybe others not so much, which can come through as being competitive.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s interesting you say that because I think that also can come from environments that you grow up in. Not that you had a tough childhood or that sort of thing but growing up in harsher conditions, I think may also cultivate that in someone. I know this is probably a difficult question to answer but obviously Scotland is not, from a conditions point of view, it’s a tough place to grow up in. It’s harsh, weather-wise, do you think some of it could have come from there?

LESLEY WEST:  I don’t know, I did indoor sport, I didn’t really play outdoor sports, other than playing football, as in soccer, there aren’t that many sports that people do outdoors, which is a shame and it’s one of the things that brought us to Melbourne, is that lifestyle. I don’t know. I think it’s funny because my mom will sort of, I think being serious and she’ll say, “I don’t know where you get your competitive streak from.” You sort of look and go really? You! I’ve got nephews back home and they’re competitive, they’re little, they love to run, they play football, they’re pretty competitive, so clearly there is something in the family that filters down.

BRAD BROWN:  I’ve got a daughter who is like that, my youngest and everything is a race, like everything! She hates losing, she’s going to be an absolute monster if she ever gets into sport later on, but it’s funny, some people are born with it, some people obviously try and cultivate it, but either you have it or you don’t, I sort of agree with that. What are some of the things that you, strategies that you employ in times in a race where it’s tough and everyone is hurting? Let’s be honest, Ironman isn’t easy, you go through patches where it hurts and you need to push on or if you back off you’re not going to get the results you’re chasing. What do you do to push on?

LESLEY WEST:  I think for me, sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s a bad thing. Because I’m always kind of chasing, by the time I come out of the water, whether I realize it or not, there’s something in me pushing me along to try to make up for the lost time. Then there’s partly that, I’ve passed all these people, I can’t let up now because then they’ll think I’ve blown up or they’ll go, well, you shouldn’t have gone so hard to start with. There’s kind of that, when to pass someone and I’m thinking, I’d better not let them pass me again. I think elements of that and then it’s just, I think I’ve just learned that I’ve got that little bit more and breaking things down into chunks, especially on the run, I think, and that for me is just breaking it down into chunks, whether or not it’s mentally going, well, just get to the next aid station and starting to reason with myself.

If you get to the next aid station, you can maybe walk for a little bit or whatever, it depends on the race day. I just know that if I get to finish and I haven’t pushed myself as hard as I can, then I’ll be disappointed, regardless of whether someone has beaten me or I’m the top or I’m the bottom, it doesn’t matter, it’s knowing that I’ve drained every last bit out of me. If I haven’t done it, I know I’ll be disappointed.

BRAD BROWN:  Let’s talk about the move to Ironman and particularly the focus on Kona; talk me through that and that process?

LESLEY WEST:  It didn’t quite go to plan, the road to my first Ironman. I decided in about April 2017, so two years ago now, I decided I wanted to do WA, so Busselton in the December. I was going back to Scotland and I was doing Edinburgh half in the July and then we decided that would be a great time, spoke to my coach and he agreed, yes, I was ready for this. I think what we’d seen was that, like I said, I’m not a fast swimmer and I can run pretty quick, but where I really come into my own was I have an ability to hold that pacing. We thought, look, I’ll be pretty good at that stronger, where you need the strength.

Yeah, so the plan was for first Ironman, December 2017, build, everything going really well, we were tracking well, it was a great squad of us and then all of a sudden three weeks out, I had a stress fracture in my femur. Three weeks out from race day, game over, I’m on crutches, it doesn’t happen. I was devastated, to say the least. That in itself was mentally really tough because I was so ready for it. As it turned out, that was the year that the swim was cancelled because a shark was spotted partway through, so probably not the worst thing anyway. Well, for me it would have been good because I can’t swim, it wouldn’t have been the ideal situation to get there.

Instead it was a case of rehab, had a great doctor on my side, did my rehab to the T and it’s interesting even that, people say to me, I started with 30 seconds run, 90 seconds walk and 10x and that was my session. People were saying, “I bet you do more,” but no, I played by the rules. There wasn’t a second more, there wasn’t a second less, it was precisely. That is what got me through. That was this time last year, 2018 I had started back running and was back to, had done a lot of riding and we’d decided I was ready to do Cairns.

Basically did Cairns 2018, last year and that was my first one and managed to win my age group and get my spot, my lucky spot to Kona.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s amazing, was that the plan, was it to go and to do well enough to get a slot to Kona or was it a case of, we won and we have to go?

LESLEY WEST:  I wouldn’t say it’s the plan, but I think we knew, none of us talked about it as such, I didn’t talk about it with my coach or really even my husband. We knew what my ability was in each of the three legs. We knew that I race hard, so I race much harder than I train which is better than the other way around. We know that I know how to race well and that if I pulled it off, I had the potential to do really well. What I found out afterwards was that my coach said, he basically fully expected me to basically do what I did! It wasn’t the aim but we knew that if I pulled it off then I would get a spot, but it was just, came down to, at the end of the day, this is my first one, I’ve had a rocky buildup to it, just go out there and do what you can, learn from that. That was sort of the expectation.

BRAD BROWN:  We talk about the difference of climate from Scotland to Melbourne, the difference Scotland to Kona is worlds apart, you can’t get two more opposite. How did you deal with that? Obviously you’d been in Australia a few years, so it wasn’t straight coming out of Scotland but it must still be tough racing there.

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah and I mean we came straight out of Melbourne winter, which was pretty cold. There was one ride, I qualified Cairns, I qualified with one of my squad mates which was just amazing and we did a lot of our training together and we’re very similar, so that was great. There was a ride we did up in the hills, at one point it hit -2, -3 degrees, it was cold. Then four weeks later there you are in Hawaii. It was hard. We built in a few, I wouldn’t call it heat chamber sessions, at home in the room with the heating on, with the drier going on a wind trainer for 30 minutes but that was pretty much all I could really do for it. Then just went out there, I think we were there about 11 days before to try and acclimatize as much as possible.

BRAD BROWN:  The experience as a whole? Has the bug bitten now that you just want to keep going back or is it, we ticked that box?

LESLEY WEST:  No, I want to go back. We love Hawaii anyway, my husband and I, we went there on our honeymoon, we’d gone in 2016 to watch Kona, then went back last year, we love Hawaii! No, the drive is definitely there, like you said, there’s always things that don’t go right and whilst I had a good race in Kona and I think especially for a first timer, it was a good race, but there are lists and lists of things I’d do differently or want to change or improve on. No, I’d love to go back. I haven’t done another race since and I won’t ahead of this year’s Kona, mainly because I have no money left, because it bankrupts you! I think I’d really like to go back and give it another good shot.

BRAD BROWN:  What are some of the things you’d like to do differently or improve on?

LESLEY WEST:  I think just it’s my pacing a little bit, like I said, I’m always playing catch-up and whether I realize it or not, is it a fault? I don’t know, we haven’t quite worked it out yet. I went a little bit hard, I also dropped my bike nutrition going down Kuakini, so within about 10km of the bike I had dropped five or six gels. Unfortunately I did the rest of the bike on not very much, so little things, but I think also, I did absorb it. I don’t think I let it get to me but you just come back with more experience, just some little things that you pick up on.

BRAD BROWN:  Talk to me about life outside of triathlon, what do you do for a living? How do you get the balance right?

LESLEY WEST:   I work in marketing analytics. I’m a statistician by background and I’ve been working in marketing/media/consulting for the past 10+ years. Balance, I don’t know what that is!

BRAD BROWN:  Is there such a thing?

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah, I’ve never heard of this thing! To be honest with you, training does take up a lot of my time, but I love it. The way I see it, and I remember people before, we said, “When do you see your friends?” I go, I see my friends every single training session. I see my friends more there than I would otherwise. It just the little things and going for coffee and actually on a two week end of season break, at the moment, so that I can build through for the rest of the year. It’s just doing the, I don’t know, just enjoying the small things, spending time with my husband who interestingly, has just taken up triathlon for the first time, even though he vowed he was never doing it! Yeah, that brings something different into the house as well.

BRAD BROWN:  He sounds like he’s pretty supportive and you have to have, if you don’t have a partner who is active in the sport, you need that support, particularly if you’re going to go all the way to Kona.

LESLEY WEST:  A 100%, I couldn’t ask for more support. I think he came from a fairly high level sporting background as well and so we’ve both always been fairly independent in wanting to achieve different things in sport or just general life. We’re fairly independent, which helps, but now he goes, as long as I get a good holiday out of it, that’s fine. It became known as; it was the ‘glamor races.’ Apparently Kona does count, that’s fine, he’ll go back there! It makes such a difference and having supportive friends, like I say, I’ve made some great friends through our squad and you might be competitive with people on the course, but they’re some of my best friends off, which just helps so much.

BRAD BROWN:  How much of your success do you think is simply down to hard work, how much of it is genetics and how much of it is luck?

LESLEY WEST:  I think genetics, yeah, there is some there. I’m fairly naturally athletic. My mom was a PE teacher, we’ve always been active, so yeah, I do think there’s elements of, definitely elements of genetics, but I think if you were to ask anyone who knows me and sees how hard I train, so much of it comes down to hard work, especially from the swimming. I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t swim a stroke five or six years ago, just consistent hard work. I think you need to have both luck, is it luck when things go right on race day? Maybe, you create your own luck? I don’t know about the luck thing

BRAD BROWN:  It’s interesting, Gary Player, the South African golfer, he used to say, the harder you work, the luckier you get and it sounds like that’s something –

LESLEY WEST:  Yeah, I think he’s probably right, that’s probably, I don’t think many people within triathlon would look at it that somebody has been lucky because I think everybody who is in it knows how hard people have to work to get the Kona spot or just to finish. It’s not always about being at that top end, it’s hard work and people put it in and I think there’s a lot of respect across the whole triathlon community, for anybody who completes any distance of race.

BRAD BROWN:  What’s the secret to qualifying for Kona? Is there a secret or is it just hard work?

LESLEY WEST:  For me it’s having a coach who knows what they’re doing. My coach is a former pro himself, has coached many people to Kona, so for me it’s a coach, it’s having those people around you. It’s hard work, consistency. Consistency for me is the one key element and by consistency it’s repeatedly turning up to every session you’re meant to be at. It’s making sure that you’re at every swim squad, you’re at every run squad, paying attention to the little things, the diet, the nutrition, just all those things, they do all build up and they come together.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s little things that if you think about it, if you leave one out now it’s not going to make too much of a difference, but the cumulative effect of missing the odd session or not watching what you’re eating or drinking, those things add up and compound and the flip side of that is true as well. When you don’t miss sessions and you are eating well, that also compounds on the positive side.

LESLEY WEST:  I think that’s it, but also just enjoying what you do. Like I say, I don’t think Ironman is for everyone, if somebody doesn’t enjoy going and doing four or five hour rides, then probably Ironman isn’t for you. I think there is a lot of, that that’s the ultimate goal. I don’t think it has to be for everyone, but I think if you enjoy the process and it sounds clichéd, that whole enjoying the process, but I do think it’s true. If you enjoy those long rides, long runs, going out the house at 5:30 on a Saturday morning and not getting home until 3:00pm, if you enjoy it, then that’s what makes it much more bearable and it makes getting there, I think even that bit sweeter, when you get that race finish you want because you know you’ve worked hard for it, so it’s an achievement.

BRAD BROWN:  I was having this conversation with a friend of mine who is doing his first Ironman this coming weekend and he’s absolutely terrified. He’s petrified. He’s done the work, I’ve seen his training, I know what he’s done and he’ll only know this after the fact but I always say that an Ironman is the reward for the hard work you’ve put in. It’s such a cool day, it’s great fun and as much as it’s daunting and scary the distances you have to do, for me the daunting bit is the actual six months to a year before that race, that makes it really hard.

LESLEY WEST:  I agree, it’s interesting because I remember on the morning of Cairns putting my wetsuit on and it’s probably one of the calmest I’ve felt before the race. I think I just knew I had done everything. I had ticked every single box, so it literally was a case of, whatever happens today happens. I can only control what I can control and I had full faith in the programme I had and everything else, so yeah, I was completely calm. It was like all right, I’ve done harder sessions it feels like, than what I’m about to do, that turned out not to be true! It was the hardest day, but I went in feeling prepared and fully ready mentally for it as well.

BRAD BROWN:  Toughest question of our chat today, I come to you, I’ve got a contract for one of the professional netball teams in Australia but the condition is you have to give up triathlon, would you go back to netball?

LESLEY WEST:  No, my netball days are done, plus I’m five foot three, so there’s no way I’m getting a game for any team in Australia! No, I’m perfectly happy where I am, as are probably my knees and my ankles or my fingers and everything else that used to get hurt with it.

BRAD BROWN:  Just to wrap up Lesley, are you going to be around the sport forever? Are you going to be one of those people who are going to be chasing podium finishes in your 80s?

LESLEY WEST:  I’d like to think so. I really hope I’m around for a while. Within our club, within our squad, we’ve got a guy, I think Kenny moves up to maybe 75 to 79 this year and he’s won World Championships. We’ve got other people who are moms, who are dads and they’ve come and they’ve gone, but they’ve still sort of remained around. Those people to me are the ones that I look to as going, no, it’s not just for now. Even if you take a step back at any point, it’s still always there and I think that’s what I like about the sport. You can do it at any age and other sports that have a bit of a lifetime, these ones, no, they keep going.

BRAD BROWN:  Good to hear. Lesley, it’s been great catching up, I look forward to talk about the individual disciplines and particularly your swim and what you’ve done to get better over time, but we’ll save that for next week, thanks for your time on The Kona Edge today.

LESLEY WEST:  Great, thank you.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.

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6 + 1 =

Easing into it – How Sarah Thomas approaches the Ironman run

Easing into it – How Sarah Thomas approaches the Ironman run

Ironman Run Injury – Hacks to keep you injury free
Rob Cummins Ironman Bike

In this edition of The Kona Edge, we head back down to Australia to catch up with Sarah Thomas and find out what her tips and tricks are to having a strong marathon.

 (Read the transcription of our chat here)

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Transcription & Resources:

The Coach Parry Online Training Club

The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.

Developed by Double Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown the host of The Kona Edge, The Coach Parry Training Club is THE go-to online platform for your training needs. It’s like having a coach in your pocket.

Get 20% off when you join the Coach Parry Training Club by using the coupon KONA at checkout. Learn more about the Coach Parry Online Training Club by clicking here.

Wheelscience

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Podcast Transcription:

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back onto another edition of The Kona Edge and it’s time to chat running today. And we head back to Australia to catch up with Sarah Thomas. Sarah, welcome back onto the podcast. Thanks for joining us.

SARAH THOMAS:  Thanks for having me.

BRAD BROWN:  Sarah, let’s talk about your run. Out of the three disciplines it is your strongest and you tend to run through the field, particularly on Ironman. When everyone else’s wheels come off you seem to get stronger and stronger. What’s the secret to putting together a strong marathon at the back of a 180km bike?

SARAH THOMAS:  I think pretty obviously the key is don’t smash yourself at the start of the marathon. You have a long way to go and I like to just ease my way into it and try not to worry about who else is where, just run your own race. Yes, I just start out really comfortable and stay really comfortable and when I know I have 10 or 12km to go that’s when I try to pick it up a little bit and give whatever else I have left really until I get to the finish line.

BRAD BROWN:  Some of us have to wait a little bit longer. I wait until I see the red carpet and then I smash it.

SARAH THOMAS:  Well yes, just depending on how I’m doing.

BRAD BROWN:  Sarah, one thing in our first chat when you spoke about your first Kona experience where you had that horrible bike and you got off the bike feeling really terrible and things came right fairly quickly feeling wise, but you felt like you weren’t going that fast and you ended up having a really good marathon. How big a role does planning pacing in a marathon as opposed to executing on race day – and what I mean by that is do you go into a race going this is the pace I’m going to run off the bike or do you really play it by ear and go you know what I’m feeling rough today I’m going to hang back and see how we go or do you stick by the numbers and see what happens?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, absolutely. I’m definitely someone that I do not think that looking at numbers is a very good idea. It’s something that I’ve never ever, ever done and definitely going by feel I would say is the way to go. Every race is different, conditions are different, there are so many different factors that can play into it. There’s no way that I would go I want to be running this pace and what if the Garmin has it wrong, what if this is not actually the pace you’re running? It’s not a 100% accurate, but I think yes, definitely I just ease my way into it.

I just see how I’m feeling and like I was mentioning before that first experience at Kona where I thought I was running very, very slowly and I thought to myself at least if I’m still running, if I’m still chipping away at it I’m still going to get to the end quicker than if I walk, even if it is really, really, really, really, really slow and it ended up not being that bad. So you just don’t know and plus you know perhaps the conditions are affecting everybody in a similar way.

I think you just have to keep going because if you’re the one that keeps going and everyone gives up it doesn’t matter how slow you are because you’re still going to be in front of the other people. So yes, I’m a big believer in just see how you feel, especially when you’re running a marathon at the end of an Ironman you just have to stay comfortable for the vast majority of it and see how you go, but certainly for me looking at numbers would be the worst thing I could do.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you try to get to some point? You mentioned the 10-12km again. Is that set or is it by feel again? Like if you’re feeling good at 10-12 then you go or do you hang back as long as you can and then feel like ah, I’ve got enough in the tank and then I’m going to hit it?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, I guess if I wasn’t feeling good with this 10 to 12 case to go then I probably wouldn’t push it at that point, but I haven’t had that experience yet, touch wood. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen this year. But yes, up until now in an Ironman I’ve gotten to that point and I’ve been able, luckily, to actually feel like I’m lifting a bit. Probably the pace doesn’t actually increase that much but what I feel I’m doing is I feel like I’m able to push a little bit harder from that last little bit but yes, certainly if I wasn’t feeling good and I wasn’t able to then I wouldn’t. I’d probably wait a bit longer.

BRAD BROWN:  What are some of your favorite run workouts, what do you love doing?

SARAH THOMAS:  Again, probably short, fast stuff I think would be a lot of what I do. I did a really good long run set the other day, which was really good, the [Anita Wayman Set], which I really enjoyed. So that’s basically a bit of fartlek session. Say for example it’s two minutes, a bit faster, then one minute a bit slower and then it increases to four and two and six and three and all the way up to ten and five and then back down and so yes, a little bit of a pyramid of fartlek intervals, which I really enjoyed. It helps to pass the time a little bit on a longer run, but generally with running again, usually like to keep it short and fast rather than just go in for hours and hours at a time.

BRAD BROWN:  Have you changed much now that you have a coach. Has the type of sessions you’re doing in a week and the way you’re structuring those sessions changed a lot?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, I think a little bit. Not heaps, but there’s probably more. I used to do a few more interval sessions where I’d do however many, six hundreds or however many k efforts or whatever, but it’s all continuous running that I’m doing. Still interval work, but just all continuous running now and probably a little bit more of it actually.

BRAD BROWN:  Brilliant. Well Sarah it’s been great catching up once again. I look forward to touching on your nutrition strategy and how you approach an Ironman from a nutrition point of view but we’ll save that for next time.

SARAH THOMAS:  Okay, thank you.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.

Advertise

If you'd like to advertise on The Kona Edge, download our rate card.

Support Us

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Patron of The Kona Edge, click here.

Contact Us

11 + 5 =

Time Trial or Road Bike?

Time Trial or Road Bike?

Rob Cummins Ironman Bike

In this episode of The Kona Edge we are joined once again by Eulali Gouws and chat about the differences between road bikes and time trial bikes.

We also find out what keeps her motivated on the long, 180km Ironman bicycle rides.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

Subscribe to The Kona Edge:

Subscribe on iTunes

Download via RSS

Transcription & Resources:

The Coach Parry Online Training Club

The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.

Developed by Double Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown the host of The Kona Edge, The Coach Parry Training Club is THE go-to online platform for your training needs. It’s like having a coach in your pocket.

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Podcast Transcription:

 

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back onto this edition of The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown, it’s great to have you with us and we head back to Johannesburg in South Africa to catch up with our next guest. Eulali Gouws, welcome back onto the podcast.

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Thanks Brad, nice to be back.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Eulali, last time we spoke about your swim and you said one of the ways you reward yourself with the swim is saying you have to finish this and then you get to do the stuff you love, which is biking and running. Which one do you love more, the bike or the run?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  I must say the run. I think because I’m so good at it! I love riding my bike as well. There’s nothing better than that feeling of the wind in your hair or through your helmet.

 

BRAD BROWN:  You said to me in our first chat that you decided to do a cycle race in Joburg which is known as the 947, it’s the second biggest time cycling event in the world. Did it come pretty easy to you? You sounded like you just picked up a bike and went hey, this is pretty cool, I dig this?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Yes, Brad, I picked up a bike the month before the cycle race. The cycle race is always in November, the October I got a bike and decided I’m riding 90km and it came so easily. People were surprised by the time I did it in and it was just, I just loved it from the start. I must be honest, my bike handling skills were not the best but you quickly learn in 90km how to open an energy bar with one hand if you’re really hungry! It just came so naturally and from there I can be honest with you, I actually did my first Ironman on a road bike and not a time trial bike because the sport is expensive, you don’t always know if you’re going to love it and want to do another Ironman. My first ever Ironman I did on a road bike.

 

BRAD BROWN:  I’m so glad you brought that up because that’s a question that gets asked so often, in various forums. I get that via email, people saying, “Do I need a tri bike?” You see it in Facebook groups, you see it on forums, you’ve done it on both now. You’ve done it on a road bike, you’ve done it on a time trial bike, the TT bike obviously makes a big difference, you talk about free speed, it definitely makes a big difference. Are you glad that you did that, you went the road bike? How big a difference does it actually make? Do you think you should have done the TT bike first time around?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  No, you know what? It really depends on the course. There’s actually some Ironman courses out there where they advise you to use a road bike instead of a time trial bike. The PE course is quite flat and you can pick up some nice speed, so the time trial bike is ideal for that. I only thing I found with the road bike, there’s so much pressure on your shoulders and your arms get quite tired whereas the TT bike you can rest on your elbows and get more aerodynamic. I’m actually glad I did it on my road bike the first time because I really, I signed up for Ironman, I coached myself and I didn’t know if I’m going to like it. I thought, I just want to see if I’m good at this distance and how does it feel and if I hate it, then I don’t want to be stuck with this TT bike that I’m never going to use again.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Talk to me about wrapping your head around 180km first time around? Self-coached, so it’s a long way. For someone who is listening to this who is just starting out in the sport and maybe they’ve done an sprint, an Olympic, 180km is far.

 

EULALI GOUWS:  No, it’s ridiculous. I didn’t even train to ride 180km and I must be honest, on race day my parents were tracking me and I was going okay for the first 90km because I was used to that and then if you know Ironman PE, it’s a two lapper, so starting on my second lap of 90km I was still going fine for the 45km out, but on the 45km back my time dropped significantly. After the race finished, my parents actually asked me, “Did you have a flat tyre, what happened?” I said, “No, I just got tired.” It’s an Ironman; I got tired, it’s normal! Because 180km, it’s really far if you’re not used to it. I think now that I’ve done four Ironman’s in total, my body is more used to it, but it’s really something, it’s muscle memory, your body has to get used to the 180km otherwise it’s so difficult. So many of the guys that train with me have come to me and said, “We don’t know how you do it because we want to do an Ironman, but 180km is just so far.”

 

BRAD BROWN:  That last third Eulali is also, as much as it’s physical and you’ve got to be fit to be able to do it, it’s very much a mental thing to keep pushing when you’re tired. Once you hit 120km, 130km, 140km, how do you deal with the mental side of it in the latter part of each of the disciplines, particularly the bike and the run?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  I’m lucky, I’m very good at motivating myself, so to focus my mind on the bike, I look at my watch and focus on my nutrition. Every half an hour, take some nutrition in and then when I get to that dark space around 140-150km, I tell myself, you know what? You’re almost there, it’s just a marathon to go, which is also actually not quite that motivating! If I think back at my Kona race, I started looking around me and just thinking where you are and what you’re doing and the thing in Hawaii is it’s so beautiful. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful scenery out on that bike course and you just remind yourself, you know what? You’ve come this far, you can do another 30km, it’s just 30km. In my mind I always tell myself, that’s shorter than the 5150, it’s not even a 5150 left, so you can do this, you can do this.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Favorite workout on the bike, what do you enjoy doing?

 

EULALI GOUWS:  I must say I love bike sets on my indoor trainer. I’ve got a coach who is quite creative, so I’ve got one of these fancy Wahoo KICKRs and he works out these incredible difficult sets for us to do on a bike. I just love sitting on the bike and doing some of them. They involve, they keep your mind busy. He’ll put in some one minute sprints, some 30 second sprints, then some hill climbs, three minutes at your FTP, mixing it up and that’s some of my favorite sets. Going out on a Saturday, riding 160-170km is not always my favorite thing.

 

BRAD BROWN:  Eulali it’s been great catching up once again, I look forward to talking a little bit about your run next time out and what makes it so strong, but we’ll save that for next week. Thanks for your time today.

 

EULALI GOUWS:  Thank you Brad, nice chatting to you.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.

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