Transcription & Resources:
The Coach Parry Online Training Club
The Coach Parry Training Club is the essential resource for anyone, at any stage of their triathlon journey. Whether you’re just starting out in the sport and are training for your first sprint distance race or if you’ve been around the block a few times and are looking to take your Ironman performance to the next level, then the Coach Parry Training Club can help you.
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BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto this edition of The Kona Edge, time to chat some running as we head back to Stockholm in Sweden to catch up with Rasmus Svenningsson. Rasmus, welcome back onto The Kona Edge, thanks for talking to us today.
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: Thank you very much.
BRAD BROWN: I’m having a quiet chuckle to myself here, because you said it to me a couple of times in our previous chats that you’ve said, I think your exact words were, ‘I’m not the strongest of runners,’ that’s what you said to me. Coming off a 3:05 marathon in Kona, it might not be your strongest of the three disciplines, but I don’t believe that you’re not a strong runner, you’re a machine.
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: Yeah, maybe, especially in the longer distances, the longer the better I would say.
BRAD BROWN: You spoke about last season as well and breaking through the belief barrier, you’ve always believed that you’re, not overweight, but you’re a bigger guy, you’re quite muscular and you always believed that because of that you weren’t a great runner. Tell me a little bit about the breakthrough moment where you realized, I can actually do this thing.
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: Yeah, I think it was in both South Africa when I ran a 3:04 off the bike in an Ironman marathon. I had felt it on training that I should be able to keep this kind of pace but when you get there on an Ironman and you’re really exhausted after seven hours or so, then everything gets much harder. Then I really started to believe that yes, I can actually do a pretty decent run in an Ironman. The real breakthrough was at the Ironman 70.3 in [** 0.45.56] where I ran 1:14 half marathon speed and I didn’t think I was capable of running so fast in a half marathon ever. Then after that I felt like there’s actually no limits or I don’t know, because that was a limit that I had been setting for myself, that you shouldn’t be able to run faster than 1:15, I didn’t think that was possible. Now I try that and then I can try myself another time, I guess. That was really a crazy moment. I think my watch died and I met my father at the finish line and I knew it was a fast run split; I was just, what was my run split? He was like checking the track [** 0.47.01] and it was like 1:14 and I think I was just screaming because I didn’t believe it.
BRAD BROWN: That’s amazing and now that that has been broken and there’s a lot more belief in your run, how fast do you think you can go? You did you said a 3:04 Ironman South Africa, 3:05 in Kona, sub three is just four or five minutes on a marathon at that pace is quite a bit, but you must believe you can go well under three hours?
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: Yeah, for sure, I think that in training I go very comfortably at four minutes per kilometer, so I think a sub 2:50, it shouldn’t be impossible and I definitely think I can pull that off, we’ll see when it will be and if I will be doing that. That’s what I’m aiming for right now, to average around four minutes per kilometer in an Ironman.
BRAD BROWN: In your opinion, what’s the secret to running well off a hard bike because you have to be biking hard to be going 4:30 on an Ironman bike course?
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: Yeah, I think for Ironman, I think it’s actually very important to run a lot at your goal Ironman race pace or even slightly over that and you need to really adapt your legs and to do long distances quite fast. For instance I’m going to, leading up to my next Ironman I’m going to, the month prior to the event I’m going to go 30-40km maybe three, four, five times and then go in four minutes a km, that’s my goal pace or maybe even faster than that. When I get on race day, it’s like I’ve been doing this, it’s the mental aspect again, I’ve been doing this before, it’s not a problem, I can do this and it also feels much easier if your legs are used to that.
This is what you’re supposed to do, just execute it, but of course it’s not that simple. I also think it’s really important to have a rather high maximum capacity in your run as well because even if you can [** 0.49.53] a long time at a certain pace, but if that is too close to your maximum, then it’s going to be too hard on the Ironman. You actually need to aim for, when you’re out and around and you’re running your goal pace, this should feel very, very easy, if you haven’t been biking before for a very long time. I think that you cannot trick yourself and think that you don’t need the maximum or like a high speed because you need those [margins] because in Ironman everything gets so much harder after six/seven/eight hours.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about the toughness of it. You said to me in our first chat that you like Ironman because you feel that it’s harder than the cross country skiing and the Nordic skiing you were doing. We all go through patches, particularly on the run where we question our sanity. I always say, one of the reasons I love it is you get to hang out in dark places, you go to places you never ordinarily do, what are some of the things that you do to get yourself through those patches? Are there strategies that you employ on the run?
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: I think it could be different from race to race. In some races it’s like your stomach really refuses to take any nutrition and you feel ill and nauseous and you need to find a strategy to work with that. Then in South Africa, it was my legs, they were the worst, they hurt every step so much, the muscles were completely damaged I guess. In Kona it was the heat for sure and so I think you need to be creative during the race and find how am I going to cope upward with the kind of pain or what you’re feeling at the moment. In Kona for instance, my strategy was to go to every aid station and stop for 15 seconds and really cool myself down with a cold water bottle or dip my head into an ice bucket. That was a strategy that worked very well in Kona. I think I’ve been pushing myself really hard for almost my entire life, so it’s kind of natural to me. I know how to sort of deal with those situations without really knowing how.
BRAD BROWN: It’s almost by instinct, by the sounds of it.
RASMUS SVENNINGSSON: I think so.
BRAD BROWN: Rasmus, that was amazing, I look forward to touching on your nutrition, but we’ll save that for next time out, thanks for your time on The Kona Edge today.
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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