On today’s edition of The Kona Edge we chat to Sydney Tervort about her running career. Being a strong runner with about 30 years experience she shares the change in run training with us. She chats to us about the consistency of her running schedule and the importance of listening to what your coach is telling you to run on easy days or shorter distances.


BRAD BROWN:  It’s time to chat some running here on The Kona Edge today and we welcome back onto the podcast, all the way out in Salt Lake City Sydney Tervort.

Sydney welcome, thank you for joining us today. You come from a very strong running background, you mentioned to me. I think you’ve run eight Boston Marathons, you’ve had a couple of really good runs in Chicago as well. Running has been a part of your life for a long time hasn’t it?

SYDNEY TERVORT:  It has, I started running distance back in 2000, but even when my kids were little I was running shorter distances, so that’s, wow, I’d have to say I’ve been running 30 years or maybe close to that.

The Ironman run – where the race is won or lost

BRAD BROWN:  Do you think it helps coming into a sport like triathlon where running does play such a big part in the sport and often that’s where it’s won and lost, coming from a running background as opposed to maybe coming from a swimming or a cycling background?

SYDNEY TERVORT:  I think they’re all important. I feel like the running background has helped me because like you said, it’s important and it’s at the end, so I do need to work on it, but I think the strength that I already had there has been helpful, I do want it to get better.

BRAD BROWN:  From an injury perspective, have you struggled with many injuries over your running career or have you been pretty lucky and blessed in that regard?

SYDNEY TERVORT:  No, that was one of the reasons why I got into triathlon. Running marathons is fun for me, it’s a passion, a love for me, but I do get injured. When you’re pushing for speed on that kind of distance, I’ve had issues with plantar fasciitis, I got put out of Boston one year where I actually went but I didn’t get to make it to the start line, which would have been my 9th Boston, but I get issues with piriformis, so I did get injured more marathoning than so far I have not, I know this can always change, but I have not suffered any type of injury in Ironman yet.

BRAD BROWN:  Talk to me about the diminishing speed as you get older and the frustration of that where your body possibly doesn’t react as well as it used to maybe 10-15 years ago?

Things that change as you get older as a runner

SYDNEY TERVORT:  You know, when I changed, I was actually, the last two years of marathons for me, because I was in my late 50’s, I didn’t start until 2000 when I was probably 40 or something, so I left before that happened. I actually PR’d the marathon the last two years that I ran, I did Chicago and St George and both of those were my two fastest and they were the last two years that I ran, but I knew that was coming, this diminishing speed and that it gets harder and I kind of made the switch over to triathlon about the same time that I felt that I wasn’t going to get any faster because it just does get harder and I’ve noticed it when I’m running in the marathons in the Ironman, that it just doesn’t come as fast anymore but you have to deal with it. I’ve had a hard time with realizing that I’m not going to improve at the rate of a 30 year old, but I have to deal with it.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s not easy but it is one of those things that you have to do, I guess?

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Yeah, cause you don’t have a choice.

BRAD BROWN:  Exactly.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  I’ve gone down kicking and screaming, believe me, I’ve been kicking and screaming.

BRAD BROWN:  Sydney, as far as something you’ve done that you think has given you the biggest gains on the run, can you pin it down to maybe one or two things?

Being consistent in keeping easy runs easy

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Consistency, not skipping them and also doing, one thing I had to learn when I switched from running to triathlon is listening to my coaches and doing the actual, not running too fast on the days that are supposed to be your easy days. Keeping easy days easy and doing the actual run workouts that they set out and not trying to change it. I’ve done what they asked me to do, but that was harder for me mentally to switch over the type of workouts that I was doing to, like when you say nine one and they say, walk a minute after every nine minutes, in marathoning training you don’t really do that, but in Ironman training that has worked really well for our training group.

BRAD BROWN:  I was going to say, I’m glad you said that in marathon training you don’t do that, but that is probably one of the biggest struggles that someone coming from a running background into triathlon really battles with, where you were running at the peak of your career, you were probably running 5-6 days a week and I don’t know what your training schedule looks like, but I’m guessing you’re not doing the same amount of volume, training for an Ironman and often you feel like you’re not doing enough, is that a fair assessment?

SYDNEY TERVORT:  That’s a very fair assessment. When you first come in and you’re used to thinking, okay, I still have to run a marathon and when you’re putting in close to 50 miles a week, between 40-50 miles a week on running, when you come into triathlon, that’s not going to work. You just don’t do that. Trying to do the shorter, that’s why doing the actual set workouts, the running workouts that make up the difference, but they’re shorter, but they are set up to make a difference and make you stronger, so that has helped, I mean I switched my running, the different running workouts are all very different now than they were in marathon.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s where listening to the coaches really comes into play too because the coach might be saying to you: Run three or four times a week and you feel like you should be running six times a week, it’s easy to go and second guess and get those two sneaky runs in the rest of the week, but you actually do more damage than you are doing good.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Absolutely. That’s one thing and then the other thing is the type of workout. It was hard for me to learn to keep my easy runs easy.

BRAD BROWN:  That’s vital and it’s interesting, we did an Ironman Summit earlier on this year here on The Kona Edge and if people want to find out more about it, theimsummit.com, but one of the most popular sessions in that summit was exactly around that, where age groupers, most age groupers are doing their harder stuff not hard enough and their easy stuff too hard. So you need to almost go even to the further extremes to get the bigger benefit out of it.

SYDNEY TERVORT:  Yeah and that’s something that we talk about too, our coaches know and that we have to work on as well and that’s been one of my struggles, is trying to stay out of that middle ground and either be hard or easy on those runs.

BRAD BROWN:  Absolutely, Sydney, thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge, much appreciated, we look forward to touching base about your nutrition next time out. Thanks for your time.