Today on The Kona Edge we chat to Aida Wasilewski and find out what makes her a strong runner. The greatest advice we get from her is knowing and accepting the fact that it’s going to hurt when you run. You can’t run without the pain. She chats about speed, time, pace and heart rate and gives us a glimpse into the magic world of running.

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BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto another edition of The Kona Edge. My name is Brad Brown it’s good to have you with us and time to talk some running now and this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak and we’re joined by a returning guest Aida Wasilewski.

Aida, welcome back thanks for joining us today. You come from a running background. You’re a very strong runner and you also said to me in our first chat that it’s your happy place. You’re always smiling on the run. A sport like triathlon, to have that sort of feeling it’s amazing isn’t it.

My happy place

AIDA WASILEWSKI: Yes. I truly look forward to getting onto my 2 feet and going for the run. I feel by then the hard stuff is behind me.

BRAD BROWN: It’s a great place to be. Not that I’m a great runner but I, out of the 3 disciplines I  think I prefer the run the most and I feel exactly the same way when I get off the bike and from a mental perspective it just makes such a big difference as opposed to going the other way where possibly your bike’s the best and your run’s the worst knowing that you’ve got 42k’s that you’ve got to get through this thing and you’re not going to enjoy it. But when it’s your wheelhouse it makes it a lot easier.

AIDA WASILEWSKI: Yes definitely. Definitely easier. I think in no time this day’s going to be over. The race is going to be over so enjoy this. This is your moment. This is the time. Have fun.

BRAD BROWN: What is it that you think has given you the edge on the run? Obviously, you’ve done lots of miles throughout your life coming from a running background. Do you think it’s just that having lots of time on your legs?

You can’t run without the pain

AIDA WASILEWSKI: Definitely it helps. It definitely does but it’s also, you asked me during the bike what made you love it. I think you have to learn to love it because once you learn to love running I think mentally then you have a huge edge. Knowing, accepting the fact that it hurts when you run is another one. It’s just part of it. You can’t run without the pain. I don’t think even the pros, I’m positive if you ask them, it’s not easy. They’re going at a 5-minute mile pace but it hurts. I think it’s the pain that makes people not like running. I think if you can accept the pain that comes with running it’s a huge breakthrough.

BRAD BROWN: I’m so glad you said that and I had an experience in my first Ironman where we were on the final lap of the run there were probably about, I’m guessing,  8 miles to go and I was walking. I was absolutely shattered, as you’re supposed to be in your first one. This guy came running past myself and the woman that I was walking with and she said to him gee, how can you be running this far into the race? He said to her go and run comrades which is a pretty brutal ultra marathon here in South Africa, it’s 56 miles, he said go and run comrades it will teach you to run with broken legs. That was his exact words.

I ran comrades 6 weeks after that, came back the following year Ironman and that exact stretch on the road on the run I was running and I thought to myself this is exactly what that guy meant. I know you’ve run some pretty tough races too and that’s where you learn that. Where it’s a case of you know what, you’re tired, your legs are sore, they might feel like they’re broken but you can still run. The best place to learn that is probably by running ultra’s.

AIDA WASILEWSKI: Yes. I think that’s great advice honestly. I think that’s where I learnt mentally to be able to know that I can still run with the pain and it was in my very first ultra, called Avalon 50, California that’s on Catalina Island. Early in the run I met with a gentleman that is a seasoned ultra runner. Has done several 100 milers and we started chatting and he asked me, so how many of these have you done? I said oh it’s my first. He says and you’re up here in the front? I said I don’t even know where I am but I’m loving it, and he said good.

To make a long story short he said you know what’s coming, right? I said yes you mean the pain? He said yes, if you can accept that you will do very well. I said I welcome it. Because there’s no way you can go into an ultra not accepting and not knowing that that’s what’s in store for you and if you can get through that and accept it and know that it’s going to be there, it’s magic.

BRAD BROWN: And then when you have to run 26 miles after that it’s a walk in the park so to speak.


BRAD BROWN: I think that’s great advice and I’ve learnt some valuable lessons and I think that’s one of the things that take me back to running ultras. I’m not saying if you want to qualify for Kona you have to go and run ultras but you learn some big lessons in those dark places. You get into some dark places in an Ironman, but gee there’s some very dark places in an ultra marathon.

Just run – nothing else

AIDA WASILEWSKI: Yes, but I love being on trails and I think that’s what I get out of my head there. I do wear my watch but I never look at speed or time, pace is irrelevant, heart rate’s irrelevant. I just go run. I love being outdoors and I think that’s another thing with ultras, you just go out there and do it.

BRAD BROWN: All bets are off and you doing it because you love it, that’s one of those things. Aida, what’s your favorite run workout now? What do you absolutely love doing?

AIDA WASILEWSKI: I love tempo runs, I really do. I think to me doing long runs is great but what really gets you strong is, to me, tempo runs. One of the things that my coach had me do was do 40, 30, 20, 10. That’s 40 minutes leading to a 30 minute and with each section going faster. So, we’d finish with a 10 minute really strong run. Then go home, eat, take a nap, stretch, do whatever, come back in the afternoon and run another 45 minutes’ steady.

BRAD BROWN: That sounds tough. I’m not going to lie that sounds hard.

AIDA WASILEWSKI: But I felt those gave me the confidence about my body that I could actually do it. To run faster and faster after I’d fininshed doing a 100-mile bike ride the day before that I could go out and actually do 2 runs and do them faster and faster and faster. It gives you that confidence but to do the 20 minutes on, 5 minutes off, 20 minutes on, 5 minutes off, I love those tempo runs. They’re hard yes, but you finish those workouts and it gives you that confidence that you’re good. You’re good at putting in a good days’ work.

BRAD BROWN: Well Aida, I’m going to leave it there if that’s good. thank you so much for your time here on The Kona Edge today. I look forward to chatting a little bit about your nutrition the next time out if that’s good but we’ll save that for another day. Thanks for your time today.

AIDA WASILEWSKI: Sounds wonderful. Thank you for having me again.