LISBETH KENYON: Thanks for having me.
Time in the saddle makes you a bike junkie
BRAD BROWN: Lisbeth, you are a self-confessed bike junkie. Out of the 3 disciplines it’s probably your strongest, which helps. It’s the discipline out of the 3 that you spend the most time on, unless the wheels come off in the run. But generally, people spend more time on the bike and it helps if it is your strength.
LISBETH KENYON: Yes. It is my strength and I don’t know why that is because I was never a competitive biker. I just biked a whole lot growing up.
BRAD BROWN: That’s the secret though, isn’t it? It’s time in the saddle.
Racing the bus to school
LISBETH KENYON: I think so, yes. I used to race the bus. I wouldn’t take the bus to school, but would take my bike and race the school bus.
BRAD BROWN: How little did you know that it would be playing a part in your sporting prowess now. But let’s talk about the bike. You have mentioned that you have been riding a lot. Is there a couple of things that you feel have really improved your Ironman bike over time?
Tips to improve your Ironman biking skills
LISBETH KENYON: I think you need to do a lot of variable speed. So, it’s easy to get into biking just one speed. I think that’s important doing the very comfortable intervals. For me, the best thing I’ve done for myself is to ride with bikers. Pure bikers. It’s something I like to do because it gives you good bike handling skills.
So, if you have a very hilly bike course, which I like to do, you won’t be so afraid of descending and cornering. It could save you a lot depending on the course, and being comfortable on your bike. Knowing that you have the skills.
Cut the junk miles on your Ironman bike sessions
BRAD BROWN: You also mentioned that you’re pressed for time. And you have been over your triathlon career. It’s easy to get lulled into ‘you know what, we’re going to go out on a 6-hour ride and just ride for the sake of riding’.
But when you’re pressed for time you can’t do that often. You’ve got to make those sessions count. You talk about the variable speeds. That’s something you do a lot of. No junk miles on the bike I’m sure. You make every session count.
Have fun on your Ironman bike with a set plan
LISBETH KENYON: Yes. Absolutely. I don’t ever really sit on my bike for 6-hours. I rather do 4-hours and I incorporate a lot of 20-minute interval sessions and different things. The 4-hours go away fast when you have a plan.
So, none of that variable speed, not until closer to my race do I even go race pace. Everything is either slower or faster. When you have a plan it’s more fun.
BRAD BROWN: Lisbeth, you also spoke in our first chat about your coach. When you first joined the coach, you said ‘you take care of my swim and my run, and I will take care of my bike’.
Let go: Trust your Ironman Coach
How difficult was it surrendering your strength, essentially, to someone else? I don’t want to say giving them the power, but taking a step back and almost saying, I know this is my strength and I feel like I’m in control, but it’s up to you. Was that difficult to let that go, difficult for the ego?
LISBETH KENYON: Oh absolutely. It was difficult but you decide to give it a try and see what it does. It worked tremendously for my run. When you start seeing your results then it gets easier. But in the beginning, it was terrible.
BRAD BROWN: Gadgets wise, are you big into your gadgets?
Learn to feel your Ironman bike
LISBETH KENYON: No, I’m not. But I do have a power meter now. And that’s just good for the coach. And of course, we run this indoor thing so power is everything at this point. I don’t look at my power. But I’ve always trained with it, but I don’t look at it during races much because I trained by feel for a long time. I just think learning what it feels like is very important.
There’s so much going on in an Ironman, so much you must think about and all these numbers is just too much to think about. If you can learn to feel it, then that’s better for me.
BRAD BROWN: That is such an important point. Especially the guys and girls coming into the sport now. They’re spending money, and I’m not knocking Power, don’t get me wrong. I think there’s great value in using a power meter. But I think there’s probably more value in learning your body and knowing what 200 watts, or 300 watts feels like.
Focus on how you feel in your Ironman bike racing
LISBETH KENYON: Yes, and even the heart rate. Learning what this heart rate feels like. So, yes, if you’re training with it a lot, then in a race you can be in control, rather than looking at numbers.
Then you can focus on nutrition, it’s very important. So, you can focus more on other things. You can focus on concentrating on how you feel.
BRAD BROWN: Your favourite Ironman bike workout, what do you love doing?
Love/Hate your Ironman bike on the indoor trainer
LISBETH KENYON: I love interval sessions. Not because I love doing them, I hate doing them. But I love how I know how it’s going to make me feel afterwards. Sort of a love/hate relationship. For example, I do intervals indoor because you’re trying to go so fast and it’s unsafe out there. It’s not worth it. So, I do it on the indoor trainer.
One favourite of mine is a Hunter Allen session. I do 5 sets. And I do 5 sets of this 6 x 40 seconds at 130% of your FTP. So, you’re going all out for 40 seconds and then you only get a 20 second rest between the intervals.
You do 6 of those 40 x 20’s then you get a rest, and you do 5 sets of them. When you’re done with that, you do 10 minutes of 90%. And suddenly, this 90% feels nice. I just love this workout. It only takes an hour. It’s beautiful.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable on your Ironman bike
BRAD BROWN: I’m starting to think you need to be a bit of a masochist to get to the Big Island. The more I chat to athletes who have been there a few times, the more I believe that with my soul to be honest.
LISBETH KENYON: I suppose that’s true.
BRAD BROWN: You must be comfortable with getting uncomfortable, I think.
Lisbeth Kenyon, thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. Look forward to chatting about your run next time out.
LISBETH KENYON: Thank you.
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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