Junk miles – we’re all guilty of running them. But do they harm you and impact your Ironman run performance? Should you just run for the sake of running or should there be an outcome for every run workout? It’s an interesting debate and we touch on that in today’s The Kona Edge podcast with Ironman World Championship qualifier and competitor Dean Edwards.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge, time to chat some running once again and we join Dean Edwards in Wolverhampton in the UK, Dean welcome, nice to chat once again, thanks for joining us.
DEAN EDWARDS: Thanks Brad.
BRAD BROWN: Dean, the run in an Ironman, particularly Ironman Kona, is vital, if you overcook it on the bike you’re in for a long, long difficult time on the run. How would you rate your run out of the three disciplines? You mentioned swim is probably your weakest, would you say it’s stronger than your bike or is your bike stronger?
DEAN EDWARDS: What tends to happen for me, I’ll get out the water quite a bit back and then I’ll gain a lot of place on the bike and then normally my run is just about strong enough to hold onto the position of where I was on the bike, but literally this year at Ironman Kona I was 193rd off the bike overall and I was 193rd after the run as well, more or less the same to be honest.
BRAD BROWN: That’s incredible to hang onto it like that, but as far as the run goes, a lot of people who really perform from an age group perspective come from a running background and they find it really easy. Have you found running at that pace pretty easy or do you find you have to work really hard at it?
DEAN EDWARDS: I found I have to work really hard at all the disciplines, to be honest. I’ve never felt like I’m a natural at any of them. I didn’t come from a running background, I’d only been doing it for 12 months before triathlon, so I’m not massively experienced at any of the disciplines. I definitely have to work hard at it.
BRAD BROWN: As far as staying injury-free, you mentioned in a previous chat that you’re not the smallest of age groupers, you’re probably on the upper level, what do you do from an off the running perspective, maybe strength training in the gym and that sort of thing, to avoid any over-use injuries on the run.
DEAN EDWARDS: The only work I’ll do in the gym is core work really, I don’t do any sort of strength work with weights. I used to do a lot of weight training before running a triathlon. I don’t do any of that sort of thing now. I just don’t think it’s necessary and it’s not time efficient, you can make better gains by doing more specific strength training for each discipline.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about specific gains, can you pin it down to one thing that you’ve done in your Ironman career that’s made a big difference and improved your run performance?
DEAN EDWARDS: It’s a difficult one really. I think some of my speed intervals has helped a lot in my last 12 months, some people try and not do it saying it can cause injuries and stuff but I haven’t found that. I do think that it can increase your leg turnover, that’s one thing I’ve noticed and my times have gone down a bit, so it’s all good.
BRAD BROWN: As far as workouts and the stuff that you really thrive and enjoy doing, what’s your favourite type of run workout?
DEAN EDWARDS: Probably hill repeats really would be the most effective in my opinion. You can go out and have a run with some hill repeats in the middle of it, come home, you know you’ve really had a good workout whereas before I used to do a lot of junk miles, I just used to go out and just run, would build up loads of fatigue and not really get any better.
BRAD BROWN: I love that, it’s a term that comes up fairly often here on The Kona Edge, ‘junk miles’ and it doesn’t really just apply to the run does it? It applies to all three disciplines.
DEAN EDWARDS: Yeah, I mean I’m not saying that if you go out and just ride or just run that it’s all junk miles, you do need some steadier sessions as well, especially on the bike, but you don’t need as many steady miles as what people think [or else it just becomes?] junk mileage.
BRAD BROWN: Yeah, and particularly as an age grouper, for someone like you who works full time, you’ve got a family, you’ve got to be really specific about what you’re doing because you don’t have time to waste, you’ve got to make every session count.
DEAN EDWARDS: Yeah, 100%, I mean I can probably, 20 hours a week when I’m getting close to my Ironman and in my peak weeks, probably 15 hours a week the other weeks and if I just did steady sessions or easy sessions 15-20 hours a week, I don’t think I would qualify for Kona.
BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting indeed. Dean, thank you so much for your time here on The Kona Edge today, looking forward to catching up again soon, much appreciated and take care.
DEAN EDWARDS: Thanks Brad, thank you.