If swimming is your strongest discipline and the bike your weakest then what should you do when it comes to the run? That is exactly what we chat to Reece Barclay about on this episode of The Kona Edge.


BRAD BROWN: Welcome back to this edition of the Kona Edge. I’m Brad Brown and it’s time to talk some running today. We head back to London for returning guest, Reece Barclay, Reece welcome back on, nice to catch up once again.

REECE BARCLAY: Nice to be back.

BRAD BROWN: Reece, let’s talk running. You’ve told me swimming was the strongest of the three disciplines, biking was your worst. Were you an okay runner starting or did you have to do a lot of work on your run as well to get competitive?

REECE BARCLAY: I think I would say that I was okay at running. I wasn’t you know, by all means good. I still don’t consider myself good at running but I was okay. I’ve always been okay at running.

BRAD BROWN: What would you say is the thing you’ve done that’s given you the biggest benefit on your run?

REECE BARCLAY: That’s a good question really. Running’s something I’ve not really touched on too much in my training yet. I’ve still kind of been working on the bike and I’m only just starting to move towards looking at how I can improve my run but very recently we started doing some track sessions and I instantly noticed a big improvement in my performance from running on the track. As I say it’s still very early days for that so I’m not entirely sure the answer to that question yet.

BRAD BROWN: Reece, one thing I’ve picked up in chatting to you, you’re very analytical with regards to how you do things, particularly the way you approach the various disciplines, that you almost pick it apart and you decide, you know what, I’m going to master this thing and you pick one and you go for it and you try and get better at that and then once you’re satisfied with what you’ve done there you move onto the next one.

REECE BARCLAY: Yeah, definitely. I like to, as you say I focus on sort of one thing at a time and I keep the other two ticking over, like the swim and the run when I’m focusing on the bike but I feel like if you’re going to do one thing, you’ve got to do it properly and you need to respect the time that it takes to improve each of those disciplines individually. I think you can you know, almost over train if you try and improve all three at the same time.

BRAD BROWN: In our first chat you were talking about qualifying for Kona at your second bite at Ironman UK where Aled Smith was sort of chasing you down. Obviously on a run we all go through bad patches and I’m guessing in that one too you were hurting but you were able to sort of flick the switch and get that other gear. From a mental perspective, what are some of the tricks that you use to sort of keep yourself going on the run because it’s so easy to get stuck in one of those dark sort of patches and really struggle to get out of it?

REECE BARCLAY: Well, first one is if I don’t run then Lucy will probably end up beating me, so that’s the quick, easy answer but I don’t know. Sometimes I recall some of the really, really hard training sessions I’ve done, particularly the ones in the heart of winter with the club and yeah I normally, we get a big turnout, 40 , 50 people but on that occasion there was only about five or six of us and it was absolutely hailing it down. I just remember vividly that session, sometimes I call upon that when I’m running and think well, if I can get through that and get through this and likewise I had some really, really tough, my coach gave me some really tough track sessions before Kona. So recalling them was quite good for the memory bank and pushing you through even when your feet are failing you.

You don’t have to love running, you have to love the process

BRAD BROWN: Is it important to love running to be able to qualify and do well in Kona?

REECE BARCLAY: Not so much love running. I think obviously people who have come from a running background, the running levels that they can do compared to people who haven’t, it seems quite extraordinary what they can put their bodies through and not get injured, especially like me looking on as a swimmer. I’ve got a few running friends and they can run every single day and it doesn’t phase them whereas if I go out for a run I can normally feel it the next day. So yeah, you don’t have to love running but I think you have to kind of have to enjoy the process of getting better at running.

BRAD BROWN: Do you do the same on the run as you do on the bike, that there’s no wasted sessions, every session has an outcome?

REECE BARCLAY: Not so much on the run. As I say before, I wasn’t focusing on it totally so running, I do a few structured sessions a week and then the other sessions I do, I quite enjoy running, especially round where I live I’ve got quite a lot of muddy hills and I quite like cross country and stuff so yeah, I do quite a lot of random slow runs and not so much focused.

BRAD BROWN: When you are focusing, what’s your favourite run workout?

REECE BARCLAY: I like doing track repeats, sort of ten, 1km repeats something like that. I find that you know really, really tough but rewarding.

BRAD BROWN: See, it’s that whole mental thing again.

REECE BARCLAY: Yeah, it is.

BRAD BROWN: Reece, that’s fantastic, I’m really looking forward to sort of delving into your and Lucy’s nutrition strategy and the changes that you made in the build up to Kona but we’ll save that for next time and I look forward to chatting then.

REECE BARCLAY: Great, thanks.

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