Arlene Ayoub shares her secret to mixing things up in her Ironman run training. Even though she doesn’t do long hills, the variety she adds helps her improve and strengthen her Ironman run.
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Arlene, welcome onto The Kona Edge. Thanks for joining us today. The run is your favorite of the 3 disciplines. You really do enjoy it. For people who hate the run, what do you have to do to get to the point where you absolutely love it.
Your Ironman run gets faster, but not easier
ARLENE AYOUB: I wish I could give you advice on that. Time, I guess. There’s a great quote by Greg Lemond, of course it’s talking about the biking. You get faster but it doesn’t get easier. In all the sports, if you work out you do get faster but it doesn’t mean that you’ve got any magic formula.
I enjoy the running because I can get to a point when I’m running, where I just get into my own bubble and everything seems to be working right. And I can hold that pace and hold my breathing, and the miles just get eaten up. It’s a lovely place to be if I can get there, and I get there all the time but overall, running’s been a great experience for me.
BRAD BROWN: It’s pretty special when you do get in that zone. Often you think, gee, I’d love to bottle that. If I could take that with me all the time it would be amazing.
ARLENE AYOUB: Yes. Wouldn’t that be amazing.
Why you have to do the work on your Ironman run
BRAD BROWN: There’s no short cuts when it comes to running. You’ve got to do the work. Unfortunately, if it was easy everyone would do it. From a training perspective, what are some of the things that you love doing on the run?
ARLENE AYOUB: With the limited amount of time that we can run outdoors, we live very close to a bike path along the canal in downtown Montreal. So, it’s very easy for us to get long runs in, down there. We can see a great part of the city. For the long steady runs, that’s where we do them.
If I want to do a hill run, what I normally do is run out far enough that I know when I come back I’m going up and down the hills in my neighbourhood. So, I’ll run out, maybe 20-minutes, do the hills up and down a few times, run a short distance back, do the next hill.
Run hills to improve your pace
I can get a 15k run in with some good hill repeats. Probably 8 – 10% hills and it’s an hour, 15 or 20. It’s mixed up enough so you’re not fed up of doing the hills. You get some flat in there. But I find that valuable for me.
BRAD BROWN: That sounds brilliant. As far as working on the run, is the discipline at a point where you’re in this steady state? You’re just ticking over and there aren’t too many major gains to get? Or are there things you’re struggling with right now and things that you have to work on?
ARLENE AYOUB: For the first time in my life I have an injury which was caused by a dog bite. I’ve been struggling with that a bit. But getting through the injury has made me more aware of having to massage my muscles. Taking advantage of the physiotherapist and it’s made me appreciate my running so much more.
Taking advantage of treatment during injuries
If I had to give up anything tomorrow, the biking and the swimming could go. But I do hope that I can run for the rest of my life. I’ve got to make my mind up to keep my body in good shape.
BRAD BROWN: Yes. Particularly with the run because out of the 3 disciplines, it’s the discipline that takes the most out of you and can do the most damage. As you get older it’s something you have to be very cognisant of.
ARLENE AYOUB: Yes. And like you said before, you have to do the work. You can’t just stay on the flat. You’ve got to put yourself out there in trail running, put yourself out on the hills and on speed work. 80% of it is the steady but you’ve got to commit to that 20% of muscle work and hill work.
BRAD BROWN: Yes. Absolutely. Arlene, thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. I look forward to chatting about your nutrition. But, we’ll save that for another day. Thanks for your time.
ARLENE AYOUB: 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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