In this episode of The Kona Edge we catch up with Eulali Gouws and talk about the transition from cycling to running and find out how she ‘trains to her body’ which helps her to avoid getting injured. (Read the transcription of our chat here)
Transcription & Resources:
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BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge and it’s time to chat some running on today’s podcast and we head back to Johannesburg in South Africa to catch up with our next guest, a returning guest, Eulali Gouws, Eulali, welcome back.
EULALI GOUWS: Thank you so much, nice to be back Brad.
BRAD BROWN: Eulali, let’s talk about your run; out of the three disciplines you’ve confessed it is your strongest. You come from a bit of a running background, which is an advantage, coming into the sport of triathlon, but why do you think you’re such a strong runner and particularly in an Ironman? Everyone is knackered by the time they get off the bike and you see to find your straps. If you look at your race splits, Kona last year is a good example, I don’t think anybody passed you? You made up great ground on that run. What’s the secret to running well off the bike?
EULALI GOUWS: Fitness! I must say fitness and just brick runs. I almost do a brick run every Saturday after a long ride, I do a brick run, just to get the muscles used to running after cycling. I’ve seen so many people, strong runners getting off the bike and they just can’t run. I’m just lucky, it’s like my legs love running once they’ve warmed up. It’s like they warmed up on the bike, they’re now into that cadence and I’m just lucky, I can run off the bike very well. I actually run better off the bike than just going out on a Sunday morning and just running without cycling beforehand.
BRAD BROWN: Talk to me about those brick runs, are they fairly long runs or is it just a case to get used to that feeling, that you do a long bike ride and you end up doing a 10-20 minute run, just to get your body used to that feeling of where it doesn’t feel like it’s your legs, it’s someone else’s legs.
EULALI GOUWS: Exactly that feeling! No, it’s short runs, it’s 30-40 minutes, just to get your body into that gear. The most difficult part of a brick run is the first 1-2km, so once you’ve settled into that rhythm you can keep on going, that’s where the fitness kicks in. The brick runs are literally just there to remind your legs, hey, this is what it feels like when you run after a bike.
BRAD BROWN: As far as run training goes, coming into the sport from a running background, do you feel like your running has taken a bit of a backseat in training to get the other two disciplines up to speed or are you doing pretty much the same sort of mileage?
EULALI GOUWS: Pretty much doing the same sort of mileage. I do track sessions with my triathlon group twice a week, which has really helped. I must say, doing some faster fartlek’s, 400s, 800s has really improved my running significantly. Doing focused running training two or three times a week has actually improved my running. Cycling and getting strong on the bike also help with my running a lot.
BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting, you talk about being able to run a good marathon off the bike, a lot of it, the groundwork is laid on the bike and in the water, is feeling good enough to run a strong marathon. Those high intensity sessions, it sounds like you’re doing quite a few, what would the breakup be from a easier session, lower intensity to those high intensity sessions. How many of those would you typically do a week? How many of the lower intensity sessions would you do a week?
EULALI GOUWS: I would do just about two high intensity sessions a week and then the rest would be more, I love doing my long runs alone, because then I’m one of those people who really train to my body. If I don’t feel good that day, I won’t push it. I think that’s also what helped me not to get injured. If I wake up in the morning and I don’t want to run at five minutes per km, my body feels not up to it, I run at an average pace of 5:15 or whatever and that’s how I don’t get injured. I can keep on going. I’ve seen a lot of guys, their ego comes in and then they want to outrun the rest and they don’t feel well and that’s when they get injured whereas I’m one of those people that really listen to my body. I’ll try and push hard in my track sessions but then when the day comes to do a slow, long run, I’ll stick to my slow pace and it actually helps.
BRAD BROWN: As far as favorite workouts, what do you love doing?
EULALI GOUWS: I actually love fartlek sessions where you go hard for a minute, easy for a minute, hard for two minutes, easy for two minutes. Those are one of my favorite sets.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant. Eulali, it’s been amazing catching up once again, I look forward to talking a little bit about your nutrition strategy and how you piece that together, but we’ll save that for another time, thanks for your time on The Kona Edge today.
EULALI GOUWS: Thanks Brad.
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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