Today on The Kona Edge, Tom Ward talks running. Tom shares two things that he has done to improve his performance on the Ironman run and reveals a run workout that will put you in the hurt box (But will make you extremely mentally tough!)
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto this edition of The Kona Edge, time to chat some running today and Tom Ward joins us once again, all the way in England. Tom, welcome back, nice to catch up, Cheltenham well today?
TOM WARD: Yeah, it’s great here today Brad, it’s great to be back talking to you again.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk running, you come from an interesting background, we spoke about it the first time we touched base. You came from a pretty competitive field hockey base, so running was a necessary evil for the sport you played, but it was a very different type of running to the endurance stuff that you do, would you say running is one of your favourite of the three disciplines, do you enjoy it or is it, again, a necessary evil?
TOM WARD: No, I do enjoy it Brad, I enjoy swimming a lot, but I do like the run, again, being not the strongest cyclist in the world, and being a strong runner, generally the run is an enjoyable part of the race cause it does mean that I’m often overtaking people, which having spent five hours getting overtaken, to then start overtaking people is good, I do love the run.
BRAD BROWN: I guess from a psychological point of view that’s probably better to be overtaking than overtaken on the run, as often happens with me, no doubt.
TOM WARD: Absolutely and it’s a nice feeling and it can really spur you on in the race.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about getting better on the run and one thing that you’ve done that’s improved your run performance over the years?
Mix up your Ironman run training for improved run performance
TOM WARD: Okay, I guess for me there’s a couple of very basic things. One is make sure that you mix the training up. A lot of people can become very one paced on the run because everything that they do, they do single paced. People do lots of mileage and they do it all at one pace and I think for me it’s making sure that you do mix up those interval and long sessions.
For me personally Brad, I think two things that I’ve done that really made a difference, one is that I do one treadmill session every week where I really learn to force my pace, but last season, the thing that made the biggest difference to me and I think it would be one of my biggest bits of advice or biggest bits of learning around running, the one key thing is to make your long runs shorter.
There’s a lot of people out there that tell you to be running 3-4 hours and for the last 12 months I haven’t run over 2 and a quarter hours in, at Ironman Wales this year I put in probably my best ever run performance in terms of pacing, splits, position and that all came from sensible long runs in the buildup, not taking myself to a place where I was damaging my body too much.
Avoid injury in the build-up to racing at Kona
BRAD BROWN: Is that the thinking about it? Is it just self-preservation, making sure you’re getting in, in the best physical shape as you can?
TOM WARD: Yeah, so it’s about getting the best physiological gains without doing your body any damage that you can’t recover from, which means you can therefore train more regularly to a higher quality because you’re not having to recover so seriously, you put yourself at significantly less risk of injury and none of my long runs in the last 12 months have been more than 2 and a quarter hours and as I said, it really made a big different for me in Wales this year where I ran my best ever run, performance-wise.
BRAD BROWN: That’s incredible. You talk about mixing things up, what’s your favourite workout, what do you love doing?
TOM WARD: You know what, you guys are going to think I’m crazy because I probably gave the world’s most boring swimming workout when you asked me about swimming and I’m going to give you a similar answer now on the run. I absolutely love doing intervals on the treadmill and everybody hates the treadmill, they say it’s boring and I just love it, I love getting on the treadmill and doing a hard interval set. I don’t know why, I just love it.
BRAD BROWN: That’s phenomenal. You’re the first person that’s ever said that to me, just so you know.
TOM WARD: Yeah, and I’m probably the last as well.
BRAD BROWN: I love it, Tom, thank you so much for your time once again, we always love chatting to you here on The Kona Edge and we look forward to doing it again.
TOM WARD: No problem, my pleasure Brad, nice to speak to you.