On this episode of The Kona Edge we catch up with Natalie Gaskin and chat about the part of the sport she loves – the Ironman run. Natalie shares with us how her running career began and we look at her quantity vs quality Ironman training following her return from injury and we discuss her favourite ironman run workout.


BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back to The Kona Edge, time to chat some running today and we head back to Wellington in New Zealand and we’re joined by Natalie Gaskin. Natalie, welcome, thanks for taking the time to join us once again. Coming from a running background, it’s arguable, people always says it’s a running sport, people who come from a cycling background might beg to differ but for you, it’s right up your alley?

NATALIE GASKIN:  Yeah, I’m certainly pretty happy when I get off my bike usually and it’s always just down to me and I’ve just got to keep going and yeah, I do love it.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s a good place to be. To get off the bike and know that this is your wheelhouse, it makes a big difference mentally when the last 20-30km on the bike, when things are getting tough, you’re going, you know what, the next little bit I’m actually looking forward to.

Stick to your Ironman run plan once you’re off the bike

NATALIE GASKIN:  Yeah, absolutely. You do feel the sense of relief. I know what I have to do when I get off the bike and I just know, if I stick to my plan, that I can really execute it.

BRAD BROWN:  You’ve run extensively over your life, you raced and ran cross country and track growing up, is there one thing that you can pinpoint over your running career that you feel has made a huge difference and improved your performance dramatically?

NATALIE GASKIN:  I think with me, I started off with the track background and then sort of started to move into the longer distances once I was in my mid 20’s and with running it’s really just being able to consistently get out there and do your training.

You really do get rewarded for being able to get out there, staying fit and well and if you’re able to do that, obviously you need to focus a little bit on your technique, so you are looking after your body, but if you’re able to get out there week in and week out, then you can certainly make some really positive gains with it.

Quality vs Quantity – which should it be?

BRAD BROWN:  Consistency is key. For you, is it more quality or quantity?

NATALIE GASKIN:  It used to be quantity, I was able, while training for an Ironman, I could still run 100km a week, so I certainly used to get through some pretty big mileage, but yeah, coming back from injury, my mileage has been dramatically reduced, so it’s really about quality for me now. I do still believe at some point you do need to have that, to build up that base and then you can come down from it a little bit. It’s a bit of both, but for me it’s all about quality now.

BRAD BROWN:  Are you struggling to make that switch, particularly coming from someone who has run their whole life and done lots of quantity, to make that switch, do you find you’re second guessing yourself going into races thinking, gee, I really haven’t done enough on the run, even though you have done lots of quality?

NATALIE GASKIN:  Yeah, I always ask my coach Bevan, when is the big run block going to come, it’s something I always want to know, I want to see where it’s going to be in my program and hopefully it’ll be coming before Kona.

Yeah, I’ve had to mentally make that shift, that it isn’t about the quantity of running, that I’m able to get through. It wasn’t necessarily an easy shift for me to get through and before Ironman New Zealand, I didn’t probably quite back my run enough, even though I’d got through some good benchmark workouts that I’d previously done and my performance in those workouts was just as good, some of them were better than I’d previously been able to execute, but I did still doubt myself a little, because I hadn’t done the same volume. Yeah, I have worked quite hard to get my head around it’s not about the volume for me now, but it’s a work in progress.

BRAD BROWN:  Workout-wise, what do you just love doing, what really fires you up from a run perspective?

Why I love my run

NATALIE GASKIN:  I have a run that I do, which is in Wellington, we have a beautiful harbor and if it’s a fantastic day in Wellington with not a lot of wind, which is not that often, but if we do get one of those days, I do have a tempo workout that I love to do, so it’s a warm-up, then it’s 15 minutes at your tempo pace and then 5 minutes easy and then another 20 minutes and I know if I can execute that workout and hold my pace and heart rate zones, then I’m in good form. All up, the whole workout, including warm-up and cool down, it’s a good 20km workout, but it’s one of those workouts which gives me a lot of confidence, if I can execute it well.

BRAD BROWN:  And shoes, what shoes do you run in?

NATALIE GASKIN:  I’m running in HOKA’s, since I’ve been back from injury I’ve been running in them and they’ve come onboard and been looking after me as well, so yeah, I love them.

BRAD BROWN:  Nice and it might be scary to think, but how many pairs of running shoes do you reckon you’ve been through in your life?

NATALIE GASKIN:  Oh, that’s a scary question. I probably go through a pair every, I didn’t go through very many pairs last year when I was injured, but yeah, I probably go through a pair every 2-3 months. I try and have a few pairs on the go now, so I’m not wearing through them too quickly, but yeah, I’ve been through a lot of pairs of running shoes in my life.

BRAD BROWN:  Awesome stuff. Natalie, thank you so much for joining us here once again on The Kona Edge, we look forward to touching base once again in the near future, until then, cheers.

NATALIE GASKIN:  Great, thanks Brad.

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