BRAD BROWN: Onto your Ironman run now. You mentioned it’s not your strongest. Do you think it’s stronger than your swim? Or is your run your weakest at the moment?
Make the biggest impact on your Ironman run
KEVIN PORTMANN: The run is definitely where I could make the biggest impact I think in my racing. It showed some good signs and in my training I’m showing some really good numbers and good progress.
It hasn’t materialised during a race and again, I have to be patient. But I’m frustrated. Not to be able to produce what I do in training. I think if I can gain a minute and a half on the swim that would be fantastic for me.
On the run I think my fastest split for half Ironman was Oceanside at 1:19 but that’s nowhere near competitive. I think you need to be at 1:15 or faster these days, and your fellow compatriot Rich Murray decides to join in the fun and breaks the 1:10 at every single race.
Room for improvement gives you confidence for your Ironman run
But for now if you’re not running a 1:15 or faster at a very competitive race it’s just very difficult to compete. I don’t know if I can get 1:15 but I’d like to be at 1:17/1:16, that would be great.
BRAD BROWN: As much as it’s frustrating, it must be knowing that there is still time to be made up there. That must fill you with a bit of confidence knowing, it would be a different story if you were on the edge and there was no gains to be made there. But there is lots of room for improvement.
KEVIN PORTMANN: Yes, you’re absolutely right but what’s even more motivating is that I see those numbers in training. Not all the time, but I see those numbers coming in sometimes. And just seeing that I’m there and trying to find what is missing for me to be able to do it.
Believe in your Ironman run abilities and see your numbers grow
It’s definitely exciting, it’s very motivating. I guess it just needs to click one day on a race where things work out in my favour and I can actually prove to myself that I can do it.
It ties back to how much do I believe in myself and the mental strength. But you are right. The work has been paying off. It hasn’t necessarily shown in my run abilities but if I keep the focus and the commitment I think I will be able to see some progress in the coming years. Going 1:17 is not going to happen tomorrow but I’m working towards it for sure.
BRAD BROWN: And I think that’s an important lesson, particularly for age groupers. Yes there are some age groupers who burst onto the scene and they’re phenomenal to start with. Often those guys then fade away and 2 or 3 years later they’re no longer in the sport but for the vast majority of age groupers, it’s a work in progress.
The realities of your Ironman run performance
It takes years to put in performances and it might mean jumping up to another age group or moving on before you do start getting those results. It’s a consistency thing and it’s a patience thing as you said.
KEVIN PORTMANN: Yes, and you hear some age groupers thinking that for them to qualify for Kona they need to run a sub-3 marathon. And when you see results out there and what’s published in the media and social media, yes, you see the splits of young Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle which are incredible, 2:42, 2:45, 2:44. That’s amazing but that’s not the norm. Those guys are beasts but some age groupers think it’s the norm.
You start hearing people say that if they run a 3:15 or a 3:30 it’s bad, it’s slow. But let’s face it a 3:30 marathon in itself is fairly fast at a 7:30 pace. So a 3:30 off 112 mile bike, that’s pretty impressive.
I think people are in this virtual reality where they think this 3 hour marathon is the norm to go to Kona. There are a few age groupers that do it but there are not that many. And there are not that many pros that can run a 3 hour marathon. It’s interesting to see where people’s heads and mind-sets are.
I wish I could do a 3-hour marathon. That would be amazing.
Using comfortable Ironman run gear is part of your success
BRAD BROWN: We spoke about my Zurich Ironman. I was quite happy with the 3-hour first half of my marathon that day. But that’s a whole other story. Let’s talk gear wise, what do you run in shoes wise, what do you use?
KEVIN PORTMANN: I love my On running shoes. I discovered them 3 years ago and I just wanted to switch things around a little bit, just to try a new brand. And I tried Asics and it just wasn’t for me so I switched back to On.
I don’t know what the sports do but they did it right. At least for me it works. It’s such a comfortable shoe. I use the CloudSurfer for training and I use the new CloudFlow for my racing and no blisters whatsoever. No pain in the feet and I love it. I can’t think of anything bad to say about the shoe and love the brand and love the shoes.
BRAD BROWN: And once you get in something that works don’t change it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
KEVIN PORTMANN: Yes and I’m not sponsored by On’s. I’m not paid to say good things about the brand. I haven’t tried other brands like Saucony and those brands so I can’t really speak for other brands. But On has worked for me and is still working for me. I have no plans of changing that unless someone wants to pay me to change.
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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