Today on The Kona Edge we catch up with Julia Slyer to discover why her Ironman run is her strongest discipline. Julia reveals what she has done on the bike to improve her run and some of the strategies she employs when things get tough on the run.
BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge. I’m Brad Brown, thank you so much for joining us once again today and we’re going to chat some running and we head to upstate New York to catch up with Julia Slyer. Julia welcome back, nice to chat again.
JULIA SLYER: Thank you.
BRAD BROWN: Julia, when you first started out in triathlon your run was your strongest discipline. Your bike has caught up to it a bit now. It really helps, it makes life a lot easier if the run is your strongest discipline because it fills you with a lot of confidence. Getting off the bike knowing that you’re pretty good at the last thing, when you’re feeling fatigued, you know this is your wheelhouse.
Strong Ironman run can get you first place
JULIA SLYER: Yeah, it really helps, that’s actually how I qualified for Kona. Ironman Lake Placid 2015, I came off the bike with a pretty substantial gap to close, not even knowing it, and I just ran my way into first, so it was pretty awesome.
BRAD BROWN: You also mentioned in a previous chat that now that you’ve been working on your bike it’s given you confidence to go a bit harder on the bike. But there is a bit of a risk there because one of the things that sets you up for a good run is a good bike. And if you push too hard on the bike, you might have a fantastic bike and do a PR, but the wheels are going to come off at some stage during the run.
It’s pretty important to temper yourself and almost hold yourself back a bit on the bike, to ensure that you put together a good run performance.
JULIA SLYER: Yeah, it really is a balancing act. Pushing hard enough on the bike so that you’re set up well and you feel good coming off of it. But making sure you don’t push too hard and don’t have any energy left for the run.
BRAD BROWN: What do you love about running?
JULIA SLYER: Well, when I train at home with my dad, I really enjoy running with him, just because we get to talk, we get to hang out with each other, but when I run alone I just like the alone time. I like being able to be in my own head, think about things and just enjoy being by myself for a little bit.
BRAD BROWN: It’s almost a form of meditation isn’t it?
Remind yourself why you love your Ironman run when you hit a rough patch
JULIA SLYER: It really is. My dad actually uses mantras all the time and is always trying to get me to use them. I usually just think about whatever is on my mind instead of using a mantra, but it really is like meditation.
BRAD BROWN: Mantras in rough patches in races really do help, what do you do when you are going, some of us love hanging out in those dark spots, but what do you do when you’re going through a really rough patch in a run, what do you do to get out of it?
JULIA SLYER: I take some glucose tablets first and then I definitely just try to get in my own head again, instead of in whatever dark place I’m in. I try to remind myself why I love running in triathlon and Ironman so much and usually that helps.
BRAD BROWN: As far as run workouts go, what do you love doing, what’s your favourite run workout?
JULIA SLYER: I really love doing middle distance runs, like 10-14 miles at a good low tempo pace. It’s nice cause you don’t kill yourself, but you are definitely getting stuff done and you can still breathe.
BRAD BROWN: As far as big gains that you’ve made on the run can you pinpoint anything that you think you’ve done that’s really improved your run performance?
JULIA SLYER: I think what’s really improved my run performance is just consistency and building on my own endurance. I’m pretty young, so when I first started two years ago, I had almost no run endurance and since I’ve been training consistently for a good two, two and a half years now, my endurance has really just kind of built on top of itself. A 15 mile run doesn’t seem so hard now, but two years ago it was really difficult.
BRAD BROWN: What shoes are you running in at the moment?
JULIA SLYER: At the moment I am running in Mizuno’s. I got them on a whim this spring and I love them.
BRAD BROWN: How many pairs of running shoes do you think you’ve gone through in your life?
JULIA SLYER: Oh gee, I’ve been running competitively since I was 9, so at least 50.
BRAD BROWN: I’m sure your dad doesn’t want to think about that question!
JULIA SLYER: Yeah, well my dad actually has more shoes than I do, so he can’t make fun of me too much.
BRAD BROWN: I love it, brilliant Julia, thank you so much for joining us on this episode of The Kona Edge. We look forward to getting you back on and I think we’re going to delve deep into nutrition because it’s something you’ve struggled with recently. We’ll find out what you’re doing to fix it and what you’ve learnt from it. So we’ll save that for next time out, thank you.
JULIA SLYER: Thanks.