Ironman run hacks: How to bounce back when injuries strike
Ironman run hacks: How to bounce back when injuries strike

Ironman run hacks: How to bounce back when injuries strike

Ironman run hacks: How to bounce back when injuries strike

We all get injured at some stage of our Ironman triathlon career. Tim Rea shares his strategies to deal with injury treatment and prevention when it impacts your Ironman run.

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BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge. It’s brilliant to have you with us. Time to chat some Ironman running now. And we head back to just outside Sydney in Australia to catch up with Tim Rea.

Tim, welcome back. It’s good to catch up.

TIM REA: Thanks for having me back on. Good to catch up for another chat.

BRAD BROWN:  Tim, the run. You mentioned in your chat about the swim that no one has ever won an Ironman because of their swim, but they sure have lost it. The run is the business end, that’s what it all comes down to. How would you rate your run?

Use your run to work in your favour

TIM REA: It’s something that developed and it’s been something that has worked well in my favour. I’ve done a bit of running before I got into triathlon and managed to do a couple of half marathons and ran a pitiful marathon, but it was more just ticking the distance off.

It was something from day 1, I knew, it was never something that was going to blow out and I guess then since my first Ironman 70.3 distance in late 2014, it’s been something that I’ve worked on.

Work on your run and achieve pro status

And I’ve taken my run from 1:30 off the bike down to just under 1:20. I guess it’s something that’s still not where I want it. I know there’s still lots of room to work there and it’s something that I’m going to have to work on this year as I’m moving to the pro range as we discussed earlier. But I know what’s in the mix and it’s been where it needs to be or thereabouts, in age group racing, but I’ve got lots to work on.

BRAD BROWN:  You’ve obviously made great strides. Those times have come down significantly. What are you currently working on now? What are some of the things you’re focusing on?

TIM REA: I’ve only just got back into it. Earlier this year I had about 6-weeks off running. I changed the cleats on my bike shoes and it ended up causing me a bit of grief in my left ITB which turned into an ITB bursitis, so I couldn’t run for too long. I’ve only been back running for 3 solid weeks now. So, I’m back running pain free which is a big relief.

Build up your mileage after injury

I’m just working on building up some mileage again. The last 3-weeks I’ve run about 30 to 35km. Sort of still taking it to run a day, take a day off, which has been good. Getting some extra work done with the physio as well. But in a normal week, in a normal training block, I focus on 1 to 2 speed workouts which will be a variety of probably 1km repeats on the track. I might have an hour, a 1-hour-10 run which will be 20-minutes warm up, get in and run 8 or 9 x 1km’s at probably around 70.3 pace, and then a warm down.

That’s also in the week and probably have a couple of general 45 to 1-hour runs which is just aerobic conditioning. So, that’s quite a lower heart rate than what I’m racing at, obviously. Then also, I would have a brick run off the bike on Saturday. After a long ride, usually a longer run on Sunday which can at times, heading into a race, have some specifics built into it. I might incorporate a bit of the build run over 80-minutes. So, a real variety.

BRAD BROWN:  It sounds like you’re on top of everything though. Injuries? You’ve obviously been plagued with them even before triathlon in your rugby days. You’ve done a couple of knees and a couple of shoulders.

Build your Ironman run slowly after injury

Bouncing back from injury is frustrating, particularly around the run. Because once you’ve been around the sport for a while it’s so easy to try and rush yourself back. But that’s essentially the worst thing you can do. You need to build up slowly, don’t you?

TIM REA: Yes. Apart from my injuries prior to triathlon, I’ve been lucky, touch wood. I’ve not had major injuries that have knocked me out for a period. I have had, and do have, a bit of an ongoing plantar fasciitis in both feet. But at times it’s quite manageable and drops right off and I only notice it when I peak up to some big run weeks. But it is in a manageable position.

Having recently had this ITB issue. Being able to go for long runs and able to knock out 30 km at a decent pace leading into an Ironman build. I was at a point not long ago, when I was going out for test runs and I tried to run 6km at 6:30 on grass. I got 1km in and the pain was excruciating and I had to stop. That hit home that I have a problem and I must do something about it. This is time off running. That was where I used it to my advantage.

Ironman run injuries force you to treat the cause

Lucky with this sport there are other disciplines, so I used it to get a lot of time in the pool. I was still riding a fair bit but I found that it kept up a bit of inflammation in my knee so I had to drop that off as well for a couple of weeks. I picked up the swimming. You can rush back after injury and it might be good for a little bit of time. It’s one thing treating a problem but it’s more about figuring out why the problem is a reason in the first place. How to get rid of it and make sure that it’s not going to come back.

BRAD BROWN:  Absolutely. Tim, what are some of the workouts you love doing on the run?

Choose your Ironman run training time

TIM REA: I love my long runs on Sundays. I do them at different times of the day. If it’s a day on Sunday where I do need to sleep in and catch up on some sleep, I will do that and head out later in the   day. Or even late afternoon into dusk at night. I think that’s an awesome time to run. But then again, I do love getting up early and starting the run in the dark. It’s nice to come home and you’ve got an hour and a half run in the bank and you’re heading home and there’s still people rolling in from the night before. So, yes. I love Sunday long runs.

Back end of last year I was doing some double run days. Usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday which would be a swim first then get in a hard track run of about 80-minutes. As I said before it would involve the 8 to 9 x 1km’s somewhere between 70.3 to Olympic distance pace with a quick turnaround.

Easy runs after high threshold sessions

So, high threshold work and a tough session. Then I’d back that up and head out for a nice easy aerobic run. 5 to 5:30 pace in the afternoons and get another 10 to 12 km in. So, the turnaround could be at times up to a 25km run day, but just such a variance of intensity and mixing it up. As hard as it was at the time doing the 1 km’s. Also to get yourself up and get back out for that 2nd run, it was a good day and a couple of sessions that I enjoyed.

BRAD BROWN:  Tim, thank you so much for that. Much appreciated. Loved chatting to you on this edition of The Kona Edge. Look forward to finding out a little bit more about your nutrition strategy, the next time we touch base. Thanks for your time.

TIM REA: 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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