On this edition of The Kona Edge we chat to Doug Guthrie and find out the secret behind his success on his Ironman run. Doug reveals the type of workout he loves the most and feels gives him the most benefit while reducing the risk of injury.
BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge and we’re going to chat some running today. We head back to the United States to the South East, Florida and Doug Guthrie joins us. Doug, welcome back, nice to touch base once again.
DOUG GUTHRIE: Thanks for having me Brad.
BRAD BROWN: Doug, the run in a tri is vital, it’s often the difference between winning and losing or getting that slot for Kona or not. On a scale of 1-10, how important would you rate the run?
DOUG GUTHRIE: 9.8, it always comes down to the run.
BRAD BROWN: Too true. You came from a bit of a track background, before you went off to college, you ran competitively, do you think it helps coming from that sort of background?
DOUG GUTHRIE: I do, I ran the quarter mile in high school, was pretty good at it. It doesn’t really prepare you for Ironman running but the fact that you spent time developing your running skills, even in your teens, does come back, it’s like riding a bike, you never really forget right?
BRAD BROWN: Yip. How many pairs of shoes do you reckon you’ve gone through in your life?
DOUG GUTHRIE: Hundreds! Maybe ten a year!
BRAD BROWN: Fantastic. Let’s talk about specific workouts and what you love doing. What do you reckon has given you the biggest benefit, training-wise on the run? What do you put it down to?
DOUG GUTHRIE: The biggest benefit, definitely hill repeats. I love running hills. I think they provide more benefit than doing maybe track workouts because they really stress the muscle strength and at the end they make you fast, they take you good form because you’re having to push, drive off the balls of your feet, with good running form to attack the hills and that really benefits on race day.
BRAD BROWN: I think you make an important point there Doug. A good mate of mine here in South Africa is the High Performance Coach for Triathlon South Africa and it’s not that he’s against track sessions, but he reckons, unless you’re a really elite athlete, for the average athlete, you want to stay away from speed sessions as much as possible because your risk of getting injured is so much higher. He says if you want to get faster, you want to get stronger, hill repeats are the way to do it.
DOUG GUTHRIE: I totally agree, I love hill repeats, in addition because they’re hard and if it’s hard, I figure it’s probably something you need to be doing.
BRAD BROWN: One thing I pick up chatting to a lot of age groupers who qualified for Kona is there is a bit of masochist in each and every one of them. They love the hard sessions, the more it hurts in training, the better it is for them. Do you have that in you as well, that you really enjoy hurting in training?
DOUG GUTHRIE: I do, I enjoy putting myself in that hole and then trying to come back and do it again.
BRAD BROWN: As far as workouts go, what is your favourite, what’s the toughest but most favourite workout that you love doing?
DOUG GUTHRIE: It’s a brick session I do, it’s out on the West Side of town in Claremont and it’s a hill run and I can do a 7 mile loop and I can add another little loop inside there that makes it an 11 mile loop and it’s just under 900 feet of climbing for that loop and there’s no shade and it’s normally done in the heat of summer, so it really puts a ton of pressure on every part of your body, your nutrition, your hydration, the hills, heat, and it really prepares you for, race day is not that tough. It doesn’t matter where you’re racing and so once you’ve done that, you can bring yourself back to that spot on race day and think, you know what, I’ve gotten through that brick session, this isn’t so bad.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about those dark places cause we often get them on the run, if you haven’t had one, you’re just not pushing hard enough, I guess. In race conditions, when you’re going through a really tough patch, what do you do, what do you say to yourself to get yourself out of it?
DOUG GUTHRIE: There’s two things: This too shall pass and Run Today, Walk Tomorrow.
BRAD BROWN: Run today, walk tomorrow, I’m going to use that next time out. Doug, it’s been awesome catching up once again, I look forward to doing it again soon, thanks for your time today.
DOUG GUTHRIE: Thanks for having me Brad.