On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with Dr Daniel Plews and find out what he does in his training to give him a strong Ironman run.  He shares with us the importance of remaining injury free and how we should be doing the LSD runs really slow and the shorter bursts as hard as possible.


BRAD BROWN:  You’re listening to The Kona Edge. It’s good to have you back, I’m Brad Brown and we head back to Auckland in New Zealand, returning guest once again, Dr Daniel Plews, Doc welcome back.

Let’s talk your run, as much as you love the bike, running’s also quite a big part of what you do, and you’re really good at it. You must love heading a run off the bike because your times really show that you obviously aren’t adverse to it.

Preparing your Ironman run on the bike

DANIEL PLEWS:  No. Yes, I think running off the bike’s actually easier than running straight out normal running race actually, it seems to hurt less a lot of the time.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s so funny you say that because I feel exactly the same way and I tend to run better off the bike than I run normally.

DANIEL PLEWS:  Yes, I think a lot of people find that for some reason. I find my times don’t really drop too much when I run off the bike compared to a standard run, that’s for sure.

BRAD BROWN:  How scientific do you delve into your run. Are you pretty analytical with what you do?

DANIEL PLEWS:  Yes, I think I apply many of the same principles to my cycling as I do for running as I do with cycling, I’ll work off a realistic pace that I think I might be able to hold for a half marathon or a marathon and then I’ll base my sessions around that. So whatever, it might be four 10 minute km through a marathon. Again, I’ll be training to achieve that, but looking to achieve it at specific heartrate in the end by doing that, so yes, I take a very similar approach to pace as I would with Power.

BRAD BROWN:  All right, fantastic and as far as gains that you’ve made on the run, is there anything that you’ve done that you think has given you big gains?

Training your easy stuff too hard and hard stuff not hard enough?

DANIEL PLEWS:  Not being injured is a big one. I think the biggest thing with running, I think in fact, I shouldn’t even say, the biggest thing of any training is being consistent and keeping on training, so being injury free and not sick is really important, but for me I really do like tempo running. I do quite a lot of tempo running and quite a lot of solid sessions off the bike like 3 x 3km on the track.

So I’ll do a good hard bike session and then maybe 3 x 3km or 5 x 2km, but more like the 70.3 race pace rather than Ironman race pace, so a little bit harder. And then just one long run of the week, which should be between 2 and 3 hours and with that, I find it’s really important to be really, really slow, so I’ll be running that. I would do that in close to 5 minute km, that’s how slow and it’s really about just getting time on the feet. Even Tim Berkel who’s a 2:45 marathon man, he’ll do his long runs at close to 5 minute per km which sounds ridiculous, but it’s something that’s really important.

BRAD BROWN:  Is that something you find often, that age groupers particularly do their longer slower stuff way too hard?

DANIEL PLEWS:  Yes, I think it’s very, with age group triathletes, it’s a mistake that they make a lot of the time is they do their easy stuff too hard and their hard stuff not hard enough, the hard training not hard enough, so the further you can have that gap, the better and it’s called polarised training, so you really want to have that polarised model where apart from obviously your Ironman and your specific pace stuff, if you’re doing just a long run it needs to be easy and if you’re doing something that’s like 5 x 3 minutes or 8 x 4 minutes, and it’s really hard, you want to be doing it as hard as you possibly can.

BRAD BROWN:  Yes, I love that. We did a long session funnily enough on that here at The Kona Edge. It’s probably been one of the most popular podcasts we’ve done, but it makes so much sense and like you say, I think it is one of the big mistakes that age groupers do make.

Doc, I want to get you back on to talk a little bit about nutrition because I know you’re a huge fan of the LCHF, the low carb, high fat diet, but we’ll save that for another day and we look forward to sort of really delving deep into that if that’s good.

DANIEL PLEWS:  Yes, all good, excellent, thank you.