Brilliant off season hack to improve your Ironman Swim

Brilliant off season hack to improve your Ironman Swim

Brilliant off season hack to improve your Ironman Swim
Brilliant off season hack to improve your Ironman Swim

Brilliant off season hack to improve your Ironman Swim

Brilliant off season hack to improve your Ironman Swim

As an adult onset swimmer Kristian Hindkjaer reveals how he became a student of swimming technique. Kristian also tells us about the brilliant off season hack he uses to get better in the off season.

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Swim faster without spending more time in the water

Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.

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Transcription:

BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge. We head back to Denmark now and a great pleasure to welcome Kristian Hindkjaer onto the podcast.

Kristian, welcome back. Nice to touch base.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Thank you. Nice to be here.

BRAD BROWN: Kristian let’s talk about your Ironman swim. In our first chat you mentioned when you first got into triathlon, that you didn’t come from a swimming background. It was pretty much through your studying of Sports Science that you were forced to do it as part of the curriculum.

Did you grow up swimming or have you picked it up much later in life?

Swimming just enough to save yourself?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I didn’t grow up swimming at all. I could swim; I think I could maybe save myself if I fell off a ship or something, but nothing more than that.

When I started in 2013/14, I actually started from scratch. It’s hard to compete in triathlon when you are new to swimming.

BRAD BROWN: I find that incredible because your swim times are pretty good. You’re swimming about an hour and that for me is probably like the guideline that you can get to Kona. Slightly slower but you don’t want to be too far off that hour mark. For someone who doesn’t have a swimming background, who literally took up swimming as a student and took it seriously then.

You have to swim a lot to improve

What are some of the things you’ve worked on? You must have worked really hard on it to get your swim where it is now. Or you’re just naturally gifted.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think maybe a little bit of talent in there. But also just a lot of hard work and focus on technique with a lot of hours put in. Once I asked one of my swim coaches, we have a lot of good swim coaches in my triathlon club, and I asked one of them how do I get really, really good at swimming? And he said to me you just have to swim a lot.

BRAD BROWN: Yes, I think a lot of people are looking for the secret to swimming and swimming better. And sadly it’s that. You’ve just got to put lots of time in the water.

Being in good shape but having bad technique

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes I think there’s not that many short cuts you can take in swimming. It’s just learning the technique, learning it correctly and just put a lot of hours into it.

I think it’s not as much aerobic conditions as it is just pure technique. If you are in really good shape and you have bad technique it’s not going to work. So the technique is all important.

BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting you say that Kristian because I don’t want to say you’ve got a bit of an advantage. A lot of people say if you want to be a good swimmer, start swimming at 6. But there are a lot of triathletes out there that did start swimming at 6 but they’ve picked up lots of bad habits with their technique along the way.

Can you unlearn those bad swim habits?

It’s so difficult once you hit 30, 40, 50, to unlearn those bad habits to get your technique better. For someone like you who became a student of the swim technique and you did it right from the start, that makes a big difference.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes I think that really helped me. From the beginning I was very curious how to do the technique correctly. All the time I was asking what I was doing, is it correct or if I needed to correct it in any way they have to tell me right away. So I was really trying to learn the technique correctly right from the start so yes, you are right about that.

BRAD BROWN: I think that’s a great tip because I hear from lots of athletes who say “I wish I had started when I was 6. I only picked up swimming as an adult”. But really become a student of swimming technique and you can really learn the basics and as difficult as it is, it’s probably not necessarily a bad thing.

Kristian, as far as workouts go, what do you love doing in the pool?

Spice up your Ironman swim training sessions

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think that as I said; just huge focus on the technique. Maybe one third to half of your training should just be pure technique training. Then spice it up a bit. In terms of Ironman training I think it should just be mixed up with longer aerobic sessions like 2 to 400m x 5 and just really clocking it at the same time every time. Finding your Ironman pace and being comfortable with it.

Of course I think you should do a lot of high intensity swimming as well. But I think a lot of swimmers tend to lose their technique when they go at high intensities. I think that my favourites are just to focus on technique and do low intensity aerobic sessions.

I like to do sets with a band around my ankles so I’m forced to do a little bit of higher frequency which makes it easier for open water swimming.

BRAD BROWN: I know I’m going to get asked this from a volume and time perspective, how many times a week do you swim? What sort of volumes do you do particularly when you’re building up to a big race?

Winter is a good time to improve your Ironman swim

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Normally I swim 5 to 6 days a week. When training for an Ironman competition and maybe in the off season even more. So, something like maybe 8 hours of swimming a week and almost every day just being in the pool.

BRAD BROWN: I find it interesting that you are doing more in the off season. Tell me the thinking behind that.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think it’s just because the weather in Denmark is really awful in the winter. So if you had to put your training hours in one place I think swimming, at least in Denmark, it’s a very good time of the year to get better on your swim and focusing on technique. Not rushing anything and just laying the hours of work in there.

BRAD BROWN: Well you heard it here first. If you want to become a better swimmer, move to Denmark. Spend winters in Denmark and you’ll become a much better swimmer. There you go.

Kristian, thank you very much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. We look forward to chatting about your bike next time out.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, thank you.

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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Heavy Metal bass player turns Ironman – The Kristian Hindkjaer Ironman Kona Story

Heavy Metal bass player turns Ironman – The Kristian Hindkjaer Ironman Kona Story

Heavy Metal bass player turns Ironman – The Kristian Hindkjaer Ironman Kona Story
Heavy Metal bass player turns Ironman – The Kristian Hindkjaer Ironman Kona Story

Heavy Metal bass player turns Ironman – The Kristian Hindkjaer Ironman Kona Story

Heavy Metal bass player turns Ironman – The Kristian Hindkjaer Ironman Kona Story

We head to Denmark for the first time on the podcast to catch up with a heavy metal base player from Denmark who turned Ironman . This is Kristian Hindkjaer’s Ironman story.

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Swim faster without spending more time in the water

Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.

Resources:

If you’re looking for a triathlon coach, check out our Coaches Corner

Win a half Ironman entry

Support The Kona Edge by becoming a Patron

Transcription:

BRAD BROWN: We head to Denmark now and catch up with our next guest and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome him onto the podcast. Last week we had our first Italian on the show, this week we’ve got our first Dane and we head to Denmark now, Kristian Hindkjaer.

Welcome onto the podcast Kristian. Thanks for joining us.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER: Thank you very much.

BRAD BROWN:  Kristian, I know there’s a couple of big races, but how big is triathlon in Denmark? Is it fairly big, is it growing?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think it has been growing for a couple of years and maybe still is. It’s very big and when you see around the world Denmark is very good and it’s well represented. Also, it is well represented in Kona as the biggest country citizens. We’re not really many people in Denmark but we are really well represented around the world.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s interesting. There’s a pretty decent Ironman race as well in Copenhagen. I believe it’s a stunning race.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, Copenhagen is known for being one of the fastest Ironman races in the world. It’s also inside the city walls of Copenhagen so it’s a really exciting race.

BRAD BROWN:  And it’s a beautiful city as well. I think anybody who wants to do a race in Europe that should definitely be high up on the list of ones that you want to do.

Kristian as far as your athletic background goes;  you have only been around the sport for about 3 or 4 years now. What athletic background have you got? Have you always been sporty growing up?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Not exactly. When I was little I was playing a lot of computer and skating around on my skateboard but not really an athletic background. Triathlon was the first real training that I did.

From playing heavy metal to Ironman training

BRAD BROWN:  You say you’re on computers but I know you’ve also got a bit of a musical background as well. Tell us a little bit about that.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  For a couple of years I played base in a death metal band here in Denmark so that was a lot of fun and I still enjoy a lot of that music when I train. It’s really good for energy and hard intervals.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s funny, I come from, not a musical background, but I come from a DJ background and I used to do a lot of gigs and that sort of thing as well. Those 2 worlds are so far apart; the gigs if you’re in a band or a DJ, to triathlon. It’s almost on 2 different planets.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, the one place you drink as many beers as you can and the other place you run as many k’s as you can.

BRAD BROWN:  They’re definitely not two that go hand in hand. But where did the interest in triathlon come from? How did you get introduced to the sport, where did it start?

Studying Sports Science opens doors into triathlon

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  In 2013 I started studying Sports Science here in Holm and I was lucky that swimming was one of the subjects that was taught. Every person who studies Sports Science has to go through some kind of swimming program.

I was already just running and cycling a little bit and then some good friends of mine from our studies introduced me to triathlon. I got really excited about that. In 2014 I think it was, I did my first half Ironman, and it was very nice.

BRAD BROWN:  What was it that attracted you to triathlon? You mention that you had run a little bit but nothing serious, you had cycled a little bit but again nothing serious. What really attracted you to the sport of triathlon?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think it is as many hours that you put in, it gives back to you. So if you’re training a lot you are going to get good results.  If you are 20 plus years, if you start in a sport you are pretty much a beginner. But in triathlon you can put a lot of hours in and you will become pretty decent at it. I think the less technical parts than we would see in something like football or tennis. I think it’s really good that if you put a lot of hours into it, you become pretty decent.

BRAD BROWN:  Did you take it seriously from the start? You talk about that first Ironman, did you sort of do it just for fun? Or did you say “I want to be good at this from the beginning”?

Having fun because you’re in a good space

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I was in a really good training environment so I was just having a lot of fun with it. When I did my first half I did it in something like 4 hours 37 minutes. And I thought that was pretty good for just a beginner.

In 2015 I signed up for my first Ironman, actually in Copenhagen, and did a lot of training with a good friend who is also my training partner now. If you train 15 or 20 hours a week things become a little bit more serious, but still just to have fun.

BRAD BROWN:  How important has it been to have a training partner? Often I hear from people all around the world and they’re trying to train particularly for an Ironman, on their own. But having someone to train with and keep you motivated, it can make a big difference.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, I think that’s the thing that has made me as good as I am now and I think it has been the most important thing that pushed me to Kona. It’s really important and when it’s hard you have somebody just in front of you or just behind you that keeps pushing and you have to go on.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as the build up to that first Ironman in Copenhagen, you talk about being in a good training environment, did you get help? Did you get a coach? You obviously had your training partner. What sort of help did you get along the way?

Passing up a Kona slot to gain more Ironman experience

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Actually the first couple of years I didn’t have a coach. I was more or less self-coached and I was a really good help for myself because I was studying Sports Science, which I still am. I knew a few things about good training and also I had my training partner who was in good form. He had a coach so I could just take a few tips from there. But as I said until 2016 it was mostly to have fun.

BRAD BROWN:  Can you remember when you decided you wanted to take this thing seriously? That first Ironman, Copenhagen, results wise how did you go? Was it there that you decided you wanted to get good at this?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, I was actually in the youngest age group, 18-24 and when we got off the bike in Copenhagen my training partner was something like 12 minutes ahead of me but I was number 2 off the bike in our age group.

Unfortunately he had to take a DNF and I took the first place and won my age group in Copenhagen in my first Ironman. That was quite a surprise. I got a Kona slot and at first said I didn’t want to take it but thought I might get a chance another year. I was still just a beginner and I don’t think it’s nice to go to Hawaii just as a beginner.

BRAD BROWN:  So did you pass that first slot up and didn’t take it?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  No I didn’t take it.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s a big decision to make. Nothing is certain, ever. And you’re never guaranteed of anything. Particularly when it comes to Kona slots. Was it a difficult decision to make?

Letting go of that Kona slot when it’s in your hands

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, a little bit. As I said I was still just a beginner and I thought that if I was ever going to Kona, I would try to do well. Kona and Copenhagen is really close. It’s in late August so it’s pretty close to Kona and I thought I was just really tired and I would go for Kona another time. But it was kind of hard just having it between your hands and letting it go.

BRAD BROWN:  Everyone remembers their first Ironman. Your first one, it obviously was a memorable one with winning your age group, but that finish in your first Ironman is very special.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes indeed and Copenhagen is just fantastic. The audience is so big. It’s loud, it’s big and you can’t imagine how it is until you’ve tried it.

BRAD BROWN:  And time wise, do you remember your splits and times in that first one?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think my swim was 1 hour and 30 seconds, something like that. Cycling was 4:42 I think, so a decent bike split and my running was 3 hours and 27 minutes.

BRAD BROWN:  Your overall finish time?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think it was 9:13.

BRAD BROWN:  Wow, that’s incredible for an Ironman debut, that’s phenomenal. And even like you say, Copenhagen is fast but still a 9:13 is nothing to scoff at. Was it after that race that you decided you want to get a Kona slot but you want to come back and do it the way you want to do it? What was the process after that first Ironman?

Get serious about Ironman training

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  When I talked with my training partner afterwards, in 2015 he was in Copenhagen where he had a DNF, he was going for a Kona slot which I actually got and did not take. So he asked me if I wanted to try because 2016 he would be in the 25-29 age group and I would be in the 18-24 age group. So we would be in different age groups the year after. And he asked me if I wanted to go to Frankfurt, the European Championships the year after.

We decided that was the place to do it and we would both go for Kona slots at the European Championships the year after, in 2016. So that was when we decided to do something serious about it.

BRAD BROWN:  From a training perspective did you change much compared to that first Ironman? What are some of the things you changed? Knowing what you knew after finishing your first Ironman, you could go back and see what  worked and what didn’t work. What were some of the changes that you made?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  From 2015 to 2016 I did a lot more training. A lot more focus training. I got a coach and just a lot more hours of training and attention to detail also.

BRAD BROWN:  Tell me about that attention to detail. Explain that a bit more.

Attention to detail will boost your Ironman performance

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I think that studying Sports Science is really helping me here. Something like fluid loss, sweat rate, energy intake and so on. If you just calculate all those things I think you’re off to a good Ironman because Ironman is a long day. Everything has to go your way to make it a good one. If you take all the things that you can actually control and have the attention to detail in those places, I think that you can really do well.

BRAD BROWN:  You obviously experiment on a lot of things on yourself. You talk about the sweat rate and fluid loss. In training, do you test things all the time to get it better or have you figured out what works for you and you’re sticking to that?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  When it comes to sweat rate and fluid loss it was very much up to Hawaii last year. Me and my training partner, we did something like 4 to 5 hours on the turbo trainer with closed doors, and very hot. Then we would weigh in just before and after and calculate the sweat rate. The workouts were done at Ironman intensity.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you think that’s been helpful to you? Would you suggest that everyone figures out what that is and try and get that dialled in?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I wouldn’t recommend everybody to go 4 to 5 hours on a turbo trainer. But I think it’s a good idea that everyone races in hot environments, just to figure out if you are a light sweater or a heavy sweater.

Simulate heat conditions on a turbo trainer

It’s really a matter of finishing the race. If you are a heavy sweater I think you’re really going to mess yourself up on the bike already. There’s a big individual difference in sweat loss, so I can really recommend that.

BRAD BROWN:  The European Championships and that race trying to qualify for Kona, did that go according to plan? Obviously you had set goals. Tell me a little bit about that race and how it went.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Frankfurt being a really tough field in all the age groups, most of the participants going there are going to see if they achieve a good result in the European Championships. It’s really hard and there are about 2 spots in my age group so the plan was actually to finish in the top 2 or of course winning. But that’s not easy in the European Championships.

Based on earlier years, I figured out that I have to go under 9 hours which unfortunately didn’t work out for me. I went just over 9 hours on a course being just a little tougher and a little longer than Copenhagen the year before. I was not completely satisfied but I would like to go under 9 hours there.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s an incredible goal. Then as far as Kona itself, Denmark conditions wise is very different to racing on the big island. You mention spending 4 to 5 hours on indoor trainers, closed doors, in the heat.

Were there other things you did to get yourself ready for those conditions? It’s one thing training for the distance but the conditions are vastly different to what you are used to all the time.

Preparing your body for Kona

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes. I think we did a lot of turbo trainer sessions leading up to Hawaii. My training partner also qualified at the European Championships. We had our last training going on up to Hawaii Ironman. We were very lucky that the Danish summer was very hot at the time that we were training.

Our running we could kind of simulate being hot conditions but a lot of turbo trainer sessions and sometimes swimming in wet suits. But you can only do so much when you are in Denmark. I think that going to Hawaii, minimum 10 days before was really crucial for us to get our bodies right before the race.

BRAD BROWN:  Tell me a little bit about that moment when you step off the plane. Everyone talks about the way the heat hits you when you arrive in Kona. Was that surprising to you?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, it was. We arrived late in the evening but it was still very hot and humid. It was kind of surprising but I think we knew what we were going to face. It was alright but it was really hot, nothing like Denmark.

BRAD BROWN:  I’m sure. And then the experience of Kona itself is pretty special. If I say the word Kona what do you think of?

Kona – One week party for triathletes

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  It’s just a one week long party for triathletes. It’s so cool I think everyone interested in triathlon has to go to Kona someday. It’s just fantastic to see all the other people really fit and ready to go. It’s just amazing.

Also being a fan of the sport, looking at all the pros training around you when you go to the Kona Aquatic Centre. Jan Frodeno and Mirinda Carfrae; Jason Thomas and guys like that who is training in the lane beside you, that’s just amazing.

BRAD BROWN:  Kristian, as far as the race itself goes; you had a pretty decent day out.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes, I guess you can say that. The swim was not too much trouble. I swam something like 58 minutes, or just under an hour. There are a lot of guys swimming under an hour so there were a lot of guys in T1 when I came out.

It was really hectic so when I got on the bike I had to go to the red zone for a while to get rid of some of the other guys. There was a bit of drafting. You know when about 600 people come out of T1 at the same time you can’t really avoid that.

Stay with your plan and podium at Kona

So coming to the Queen K, I was trying to put the hammer down and get rid of some of those guys and find my own pace. Coming back from Hawi at the turning point, I was nearly starting to distance some of the others and I actually was number 1 in my age group when I came off the bike. But there are a couple of strong guys coming in behind me.

So, on the run I just decided to stick to my plan. I’m a bit of a slow, heavy runner. That’s not my strongest discipline. So sticking to my own plan and surviving till after the Energy Lab, the very hot Energy Lab was just crucial for me. I decided to really stick to my plan until I was done in the Energy Lab. With 10km’s to go I could just go from there.

BRAD BROWN:  Finishing your first Ironman is pretty special but finishing Kona, that must be something else and we talk about your results. A podium, you must be pretty chuffed with that?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  I’m really happy with the results. I knew going to Kona wouldn’t be easy to be among the top participants but that was also part of the whole plan. So to qualify at the European Championships I knew that I would kind of be in the mix. But I didn’t even hope to come in the top 5 so when I was off the bike as the first guy in my age group, I was really satisfied. I got to the finish line as 2nd place in my age group and that was really just amazing.

The race after Ironman to get to McDonalds

BRAD BROWN:  What do you do to unwind after a race like Kona, or another Ironman? Are you one to really let loose?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  In terms of parties or something like that?

BRAD BROWN:  Yes, I’ve heard dancing is the best way to ease stiff legs after an Ironman.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Actually me and my family, and my training partner with his family, we were all together. I think we won the race as being the fastest participants getting to McDonalds afterwards. Getting some real nasty food and relaxing.

We were actually planning a party in the evening but we were just dead tired and our family and friends were also dead tired. The days after were really good and really cosy. But the evening after Ironman we were just too tired to do anything.

BRAD BROWN:  I’m sure. Kristian, looking at that 2nd place result, does that make you even hungrier to want to go back and win your age group?

Racing in the profield at Kona

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes. This year I thought that if I had to somehow find the next level for me I have to try and go a little faster on the run. I have to try and race more and if you’ve raced the full Ironman distance, it’s just a lot of long and slow training and a little less speed work.

Actually this year it’s just about half distance races. Yesterday I raced in the National Championship of the half distance in the lead of the profield. It was a really good experience for me. I think also comparing myself to the leader of the profield is really motivating for me right now. I don’t know if I will return to Kona right now or in the next couple of years. But definitely I want to go back to Kona someday.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you want to go back as an age grouper or would you like to turn pro? I chat to a lot of age groupers, particularly in your age group, that 18-24 who perform well. I just look at the list of athletes that we’ve spoken to over the years and many of them have turned pro. Is that something that you would possibly like to do?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Yes of course I’m dreaming about going pro but I’m also realistic about it. I think if I turn pro, or when I turn pro one day, I think that I will be maybe not a top 10 contender in most pro races.

The key to get to Kona

So there’s a lot of work to do but it’s very motivating to race in a pro field and it’s also one of the things that can push me a little further. I think I will try to go pro if it makes sense but no matter what, I will stay in the sport because it’s an amazing sport.

BRAD BROWN:  Kristian, then looking at qualifying for Kona. I get emails from athletes from all over the world that are, I don’t want to say they are marginal qualifiers but they do struggle. They’ve been racing for years and they’re desperate to get to Kona. What is the secret? What is the key to getting to Kona? Give us some advice.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  That’s a tough question. I think you have to choose your qualifying race that suits you very well. And also I think that you have to work with your strategy and energy and fluid and all that. Everything just has to work if you’re going to qualify.

It’s very difficult to qualify if you have a bad day or if you can’t control something like energy and fluid.

Choose your qualifier based on your strength

BRAD BROWN:  It’s interesting you say choose your races because you mentioned the 2 races where you essentially qualified, at Copenhagen and European Championships in Frankfurt, and they’re 2 very different races. What would you say, do you like the fast and flat or do you prefer the slightly harder ones?

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Being a stronger biker, I think for me it would be very good to choose a race where the bike leg is pretty tough and maybe a bit technical. Then I’ll maybe have a bit of an advantage on the strong runners. If you compare the strong runners on the bike then they are not that strong on the run.

A strong biker will always run decently afterwards and not lose too much on the run. I think the strong runners are less strong bikers. I think that they will suffer a lot on a hard bike course and then maybe lose more time than people like me could do.

BRAD BROWN:  Well Kristian that was awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your journey with us here on The Kona Edge today. Much appreciated. I look forward to talking a little bit about your individual disciplines. The swim, bike, run and nutrition but we’ll save that for another day. Thanks for your time today.

KRISTIAN HINDKJAER:  Thank you.

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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Support Us

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Patron of The Kona Edge, click here.

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Coping mechanisms when injury strikes your Ironman run

Coping mechanisms when injury strikes your Ironman run

On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with Robyn Hardage once again and chat about her Ironman run.  We find out what some of her coping mechanisms have been during her injury period which has left her depressed and frustrated.  Robyn reveals what she does in the gym to get stronger on the run and we also get a good dose of advice on what to do to get better on the run.

Transcription:

BRAD BROWN:  Welcome onto another edition of The Kona Edge, welcome back and it’s time to talk some running, we head back to Canada, returning guest, Robyn Hardage joins us now. Robyn welcome back, thanks for joining us.

ROBYN HARDAGE:  Thank you.

BRAD BROWN:  Robyn, you’ve been struggling with a bit of a niggle and it’s frustrating because your run, as you told me, was your favourite and best of the three disciplines. But you haven’t been able to do as much and as well as you would have liked on the run. It’s frustrating isn’t it?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  Yeah, it’s something I’ve been dealing with, but sort of getting used to it by now. But the frustration is there.

Coping mechanisms when your Ironman run is put on hold

BRAD BROWN:  It’s one of those things, at some stage all of us go through a patch like this where whatever discipline it is, and I think it’s even harder when it’s your favourite discipline. How do you deal with it from a mental perspective, knowing that you really want to get out there, but just physically you can’t do what you’d like to do?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  Yeah, when I first got diagnosed with the injury, I was depressed. I was frustrated, I just wanted to, when someone tells you you can’t do it, you want to do it even more. There was a point in the spring where I was told not to run and that sort of made me realize how much running gave me. Like a therapy. It was my outlet. So yeah, I learnt some coping mechanisms and whether it was turning to swimming or biking, to kind of get that release, then that’s what I learnt to do. It’s easier now.

BRAD BROWN:  Did you listen to the advice 100% or did you take it out to see if it would feel any better?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  I wasn’t the best patient! I snuck a couple of runs in there.

BRAD BROWN:  What is it with us? I had that today funnily enough on my run. My knee is a little bit sore and I think I need new shoes and I started, I was about 2km in and I was like no, I shouldn’t do the run. I was like, let me take it out for another 4km and see how it feels. And it definitely didn’t feel better after those 4km. We as runners are an interesting breed I’m sure.

Let’s talk about some of the stuff you love doing and especially when the run is your favourite discipline. Let’s talk when you’re not injured. What are some of the things that you absolutely love doing on the run?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  I’m sort of a creature of habit, I like tempo runs. I like just putting on my shoes and then pushing the pace for whatever it is, 10-12km. I’m lucky to live near the river and there’s a path that I can run along. A pedestrian pathway and there’s water, beautiful scenery, so that’s what I like. I’m distracted, the pace is up and yeah, that’s one of my favourites.

BRAD BROWN:  Are you a high volume type of girl or is it more about quality?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  I’ve changed. In my early running days it was all about the mileage and high volume. But then you start to struggle with injuries, whether it was IT band or plantar fasciitis, so then I turned to training smarter.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as the amount of quality you’ll do as opposed to the amount of quantity in a week. Break it percentage-wise, how much of it would be quality as opposed to quantity, if you get what I’m saying?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  Yeah, quantity, I run about 65km a week. I don’t know, it’s about 4-5 hours of running. It’s about a third of the total training, percentage-wise.

BRAD BROWN:  And within that running, what percentage of that would be high intensity, really hard stuff as opposed to the easier?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  I have never been one for speed work, so I don’t do that. Hills, I’ll throw them in there once in a while, but a lot of it I really just focus on tempo. So an easy warm up, tempo intervals or an entire tempo run. There’s never really like any high intensity running, I find that’s worked for me.

How to get better on your Ironman run

BRAD BROWN:  Brilliant. Athletes like myself, our run is probably not our best discipline, but we’d love to get better. Give someone like me some advice on what I can do to get better on the run. What sort of stuff would you suggest?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  To me it’s about being consistent. Just getting out there. Not doing junk miles and then just building on your base pace or your foundation pace and bringing that down. So if you were to go out for an aerobic 10km run, you want your average pace to come down over time. You can only do that with consistency and training. Getting out there 4-5 times a week.

BRAD BROWN:  You probably apply that to the bike as well. We chatted about the bike and you doing a little bit extra now because you’re injured. The same sort of principle applies there too I’m sure.

ROBYN HARDAGE:  For sure. You can’t see improvement or gains if you’re not consistent and it’s like anything. It’s like any skill in life, you have to practice at it.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as stuff, non-running related, to improve your running, do you do any strength work, conditioning, that sort of stuff?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  I do some strength, it’s mostly bodyweight stuff. So lunges, squats, that type of stuff, just to work on your glutes, get them firing properly. I’m not the best at doing all that extra stuff.

BRAD BROWN:  You and me both! Robyn, thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge. Look forward to chatting a little bit about nutrition cause I know that’s one thing that you’ve focused on this year after your issues at Kona in 2015. But we’ll chat about that next time out if that’s good?

ROBYN HARDAGE:  All right, thanks.