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BRAD BROWN: Let’s chat some running here on The Kona Edge today. We head back to the United States to North Carolina and it’s a huge pleasure to welcome Meghan Fillnow back onto the podcast. Meghan, out of the 3 disciplines, your run is definitely your strongest. You came from a Marathoning background before you really got into triathlon in a big way. It helps when your strongest and favourite of the 3 disciplines is your run.
Create happiness on your Ironman run
MEGHAN FILLNOW: Definitely. The run is for sure my favourite. I love to do it. Training and then racing. The swim is just not my background. Then the biking always makes me angst because I don’t know what’s going to happen; if I’m going to have a mechanical issue or something and so when I get to the run I’m so happy and I love it. So, that’s definitely my favourite.
BRAD BROWN: Meghan, one thing that you did mention to me is that over time you’ve obviously had to work a lot on your swim and your bike to get better on those 2 disciplines. But your run has been strong. And you almost, I don’t want to say you feel like you’ve neglected your run, but you haven’t got as big gains on the run as you have on the other 2 disciplines. Is that a case of focusing on your weakness and almost neglecting your strength a bit? Do you think that’s the right way to go about it? Or should you build on that strength as much as you can.
Build on your Ironman run to enhance performance
MEGHAN FILLNOW: Yes. I think I definitely need to enhance my strength and keep practicing that. So that’s going to be the goal this summer. I’m going to have to talk to my sister who trains me that I really want to focus on the run. Because when you can enhance your strength that makes a huge difference. Especially the closer you get to a race. In the off season you get time to work on your weaknesses, so I think improving that run will be really helpful for me.
BRAD BROWN: As far as the run goes, and the workouts that count towards an Ironman and to put in the performances that you need to put in, what do you love doing? What are some of your favourite workouts?
Easy endurance Ironman run training is fun
MEGHAN FILLNOW: I love easy endurance runs, whether it’s listening to a podcast or music. Or chitchatting with a friend. I love doing those workouts. It’s good training for Ironman. And then at the beginning of the season when I’m starting to try to get fit, or trying some fartlek runs, I love those. I think that’s from my sport background with the fast twitch muscles. Those are always fun.
I really despise lactic threshold workouts. I think those are so helpful. My sister had me do a big block of those and I think that really helped prepare me for Texas this year. And also, a key workout that I think I really benefitted from this season was the double long runs. This wasn’t all the time, I think I did it twice.
Double Ironman runs prepare mental and physical strength
I woke up and did an easy endurance run before church and then I would recover, go to lunch, hang out. And then in the heat of the day, because we surprisingly did have some warm days in the spring, I would do a longer run at race pace. That was good mental and physical prep.
Sometimes you seriously have to go workout again. Or maybe you’re tired. I was just really good and it’s supposed to help with getting you tough when your body is a little fatigued. Maybe I did a brick on Saturday and I already ran that day and then I have to go out in the heat of the day and do a run at race pace. That I think was a really pivotal workout for me for this block.
BRAD BROWN: And from a mental perspective, that having to go out for a second run on a Sunday, like you say you’ve had a Sunday lunch, you’ve spent some time with the family, that’s tough to motivate yourself to get out the front door.
MEGHAN FILLNOW: Yes. So I think it was good for the mental side of things too.
BRAD BROWN: Meghan, as far as your run gains wise, how much do you think you can improve your marathon time by? Currently what’s your Ironman marathon PR and what’s the goal? What do you want to get it down to?
Get more specific in your Ironman run pace
MEGHAN FILLNOW: That’s a good question. I’m so bad with numbers, but I’m usually in the 3:20’s. My all out marathon is sub-3. So I would like to be in the teams. If I could be in the low teams that would be great. I felt pretty good. I ran by feel the whole race in Texas and I didn’t have my GPS on. If I can be a little more specific with the pacing on my GPS that could help, for sure.
BRAD BROWN: What’s the secret to running a fast Ironman marathon?
MEGHAN FILLNOW: I think it’s a lot about durability and just mental tenacity. And I think you have to be strong because you’ve had so much going on during the day.
Self-control on your Ironman run gets you through the day
People aren’t smart when they’re racing Ironman. They go out way too fast and I have a lot of self-control when it comes to racing. I’m not racing the person right next to me. I just stay in my own zone and I’m not over pacing. I think that really helps and I think having the strength is key because that makes you durable and that makes you get through the day.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant. Well Meghan, 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 next time out.
MEGHAN FILLNOW: Awesome Brad. Thank you.
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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