Ironman Run - The secret to loving it
Ironman Run - The secret to loving it

Love, patience and variety – Jen Koester’s tri-factor Ironman run improver

Ironman Run - The secret to loving it

Learning to love your Ironman run is one of Jen Koester’s secrets to performing well in the sport of triathlon. Jen also shares how patience and variety have played an integral part in her success.

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BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge and it’s time to chat some Ironman running today. We head back to California to catch up with Jen Koester. Jen, welcome back.

The run, out of the 3 disciplines, is your strongest. Is it your favourite as well? Is it the one you love the most?

JEN KOESTER: Oh yes. For sure. I love the run. It’s awesome, it’s the best, I love it.

BRAD BROWN: What do you have to do to get to that point? There’s lots of people who hate the run. What’s the secret to loving it?

Ironman run training – a good place to clear your mind

JEN KOESTER: I think the secret is just, as awful as this is going to sound, just clearing the mind and thinking of nothing. When I run, there’s not much going on in my head. Trying not to think about the pain. You just try and go off the feel and if you feel like you’re flying then you’re having a good run. Lately that’s how it’s felt. So, with that feeling the love comes for it.

BRAD BROWN: You said you ran a bit as a youngster as well. Over time, your run has improved. What are some of the things you’ve done to get faster, and get better and stronger?

Patience gets you faster and stronger in your Ironman run

JEN KOESTER: I don’t have any weight regiments or anything to help me with strength on the run. It’s mainly just hitting the road. And I think what’s helped me over time is again, and I hate to sound like a broken record, it’s just patience. Realising that I’m not going to hit a 7-minute marathon time in a race. It took 2 years of running and training hard, to finally break 7 minutes on a brick workout which was exciting. I did that 2 weeks ago, I was freaking out with excitement over it. But I think again it’s just patience. Doing the long workouts that can sometimes get boring and frustrating where you literally run out of road in your home town and you don’t know where to go. But it’s fun.

Take your Ironman run into the nature

I think also changing it up. Getting on the trails. Just getting to be in nature and see a deer instead of cars just whizzing by you. It’s so humbling to get out and run, and realise how quick you are or how slow you are.

BRAD BROWN: Yes, absolutely. Workouts wise, what do you love doing?

Rise to the challenge in your Ironman run workouts

JEN KOESTER: There’s this workout, that it hurts so bad but I love it. I’ll get on the track, and I’m not a huge track person. Put me on the trail, put me on the road and I’m happy. But don’t put me on the track. This workout is on the track and it is 2 sets of 8 x 1km. And every time you run it’s all out. So, you’re trying to max out every time but you’re running 16 sets at the end of the day.

Pulling yourself out of dark holes on your Ironman run

It’s so hard and it’s so challenging. After the first one you want to puke. It’s terrible, but at the same time it’s so much fun because you’re feeling that hard work. Like you’re feeling the burn in your legs. Your lungs are burning the first minute into the first 1km. You’re like oh crap, I’m not going to be able to finish this but that workout is, without a doubt, my favourite. Because it hurts so much, and it’s that pain where you feel like you accomplished something. It’s my least favourite and my favourite at the same time.

BRAD BROWN: You think to yourself, I can’t do this. We all have those stages in an Ironman, particularly on the run, and it probably comes at about 30km in the marathon. For some of us it comes a lot earlier. What are some of the things you do to get yourself out of those holes and out of those dark places.

JEN KOESTER: Those are the worst. Every time, at mile 18, that is the death of me. For me, the way I think about it is I’ve already come so far and I have 6 or 8 miles left, I’m going to finish.

Mental workouts get you over the finish line

And, how many people have I told I’m doing this race? I’m not coming back going; I didn’t finish with only x miles to go. How embarrassing. I never would live that down. It’s just a matter of thinking I’ve come so far, I’m in so much pain right now, why give up when I’m more in pain? I can go another hour to hour and a half. Just finish it. Kill this sucker. Get out of the dark place and get over the mountain. Then it’s onto the next one. That’s just what I think.

I’m terrible at math, just terrible. So, great waste of time is trying to figure out if I run this pace per mile, how long is it going to take me to finish. That kind of distracts me because again, I suck at math and then by the time I figure the problem out, the race is over. So, it’s great.

BRAD BROWN: Either that or the pain’s gone. One of the two, so it’s all good.

Jen, thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. Look forward to chatting a little bit about your nutrition in the next edition.

JEN KOESTER: Awesome. Can’t wait.


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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