Jackie Foley chats to The Kona Edge about how she avoids injuries in her Ironman run training.
She shares how splitting her long run into 2 shorter runs helps her maintain the distance and chats about her favourite Ironman run gear.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s chat some Ironman running now. Jackie Foley joins us once again, based in Sydney, Australia. Jackie welcome on to The Kona Edge.
Tell me a little bit about your running background. You mentioned during your swim training some of the land work you did was running. I found a lot of swimmers who come into triathlon who just purely swam, struggled with the run but you seem to have embraced it.
Strengthen your Ironman run with stair running
JACKIE FOLEY: Yes, I actually really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I did anything special through high school. We started doing a lot of stair running when I was in college as some of our cross training to strengthen us. I really started enjoying that aspect. We would run the whole football stadium stairs and I just really started to enjoy it.
I think I liked going out running alone and having kind of a peaceful me time. We lived in Nevada at the time and it was sunny and I enjoyed starting my day that way.
BRAD BROWN: You mentioned in our chat about cycling, hill repeats and the role that has played in developing you as a cyclist. Have you found the same with running? Have hills been your go to sort of to really get better?
Finding that escape in your Ironman run
JACKIE FOLEY: They haven’t been. I probably should do more of them. Every once in a while I think I should do them and then I go find a hill and do some.
Running is something I’ve always enjoyed just going out and getting lost in my thoughts and being alone. Kind of the escape for a while is what running has been for me. I started off not having any fancy watch or even knowing I was fast or anything until I signed up for a race and it was oh ok, that’s about how fast I am.
BRAD BROWN: A lot of swimmers have also struggled with injuries, particularly when they’ve transitioned into Ironman. Have you been injury prone or have you been pretty lucky that you’ve been able to avoid anything serious?
Split your Ironman long runs to avoid injury
JACKIE FOLEY: Unfortunately I am quite injury prone when it comes to the running and having all that impact on my body. I don’t have stable joints so as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to be very careful with that. How I’ve managed a lot of it is I don’t do as long run blocks anymore.
A long run day will be 2 shorter runs. So I’ll wake up and do a run and then I’ll come home and it’s all recovery. Cold packs on the couch, do some foam rolling, rest my legs. And then before the school pickup I’ll go do another hour run.
BRAD BROWN: I find that interesting. I know guys who are training for ultra’s who do that. They split up their long runs morning and evening. Have you found that’s really made a big difference to you in avoiding injury and staying fresh on the run?
Short Ironman runs keep you focused on form
JACKIE FOLEY: It does help because your body doesn’t get so beat up that you get horrible form. That’s part of when you get fatigued your form just falls apart and then you become more prone to injury. So having the 2 runs, you’re able to stay focused on that form and keeping yourself together a lot better.
BRAD BROWN: Quality versus quantity. You talk about just running and switching off and zoning out. Do you do lots of those sorts of runs or do you do more high intensity stuff?
JACKIE FOLEY: As I got more into Ironman the runs did become more focused. I try to do at least 1 interval run a week. That will just be 1km hard and then maybe a half km to 1km easy. Then try to do some over-unders on goal Ironman pacing.
Speed work and interval training is critical to improved Ironman run
BRAD BROWN: Is it those sorts of workouts that you think have moved the needle for you on the run and got you better over time?
JACKIE FOLEY: I think so because initially when I started running I never did any interval training. So I think being able to add that speed work is going to help improve my run.
BRAD BROWN: You also mentioned when you got into running you ran a marathon before you’d even done a half marathon. Do you run many stand-alone races? I know a lot of triathletes, the only marathon they ever run is in an Ironman. Do you do much stand-alone stuff?
JACKIE FOLEY: Not so much anymore. I did initially, post college, before I was into triathlon because I just enjoyed running. So I’d sign up for whatever the local run was. We never did any big travelling for running. But I would sign up for the local races.
Get your Ironman run into the right gear for you
BRAD BROWN: And as far as shoes and gear and that sort of thing goes. I think you said you’ve got a Garmin. Shoes wise, what do you run in?
JACKIE FOLEY: I have Hoka’s right now.
BRAD BROWN: What do you love about them?
JACKIE FOLEY: I ran in Sketchers for the first Ironman I did and my feet felt more tired and sore in them. In the Hoka’s my feet aren’t aching at the end of runs.
BRAD BROWN: Which is always a win.
Jackie thank you so much for your time today on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. Look forward to chatting about your nutrition next time out.
JACKIE FOLEY: Great, thanks Brad.
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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