Today on The Kona Edge we look at the reasons why Keri Delport loves her Ironman run as much as she does. Keri also reveals how she deals with the mental toughness of training for her Ironman run.


BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back to this edition of The Kona Edge and we’re going to chat some running today with a returning guest, Keri Delport, welcome back Keri, nice to chat.

KERI DELPORT:  Thanks Brad, great to chat again.

BRAD BROWN:  Just around the corner from me here in Cape Town, it’s not often that we have two South African voices on the podcast, but it makes for a nice change.

Keri, your story is an incredible one and one of the things that got you into triathlon was medical doctors telling you that you’re never going to run again, and you decided to prove them wrong.

Running is a big part of your life and it was before you had that medical procedure and everything that happened to you. You love running, don’t you?

KERI DELPORT:  Yes, that’s it, I just enjoy it.

Can the Ironman run make or break your race?

BRAD BROWN:  Do you think that’s the key to one of your successes, as much as we want to say triathlon is a three discipline, and if you take nutrition, a four discipline sport. But it all comes down to the run.

KERI DELPORT:  It does. Triathlon in general, Ironman specifically, it doesn’t matter what you do, the swim and bike are going to help put you in a certain position, but it’s the run that’s going to make or break your race.

I’ve seen that in standard distance and I’ve seen it even more in Ironman distance.

BRAD BROWN:  What do you love about running? It’s one of those things, particularly when people start out and they don’t come from a running background, it’s probably the discipline they struggle with the most. But what do you really love about it?

Enjoy your ‘me’ time

KERI DELPORT:  I enjoy the rhythm of it, I enjoy the head space that running gives me and similar to cycling, just being able to find beautiful places to go run in. I enjoy the rhythm of running and just the alone time it provides.

BRAD BROWN:  It’s funny, I’ve never actually asked anyone this question on The Kona Edge podcast, but do you run much trail?

Obviously where you live there’s trails for miles, do you do most of your stuff on the road or do you do quite a bit of trail as well?

KERI DELPORT:  I do most of my stuff on the road. I find, I used to do trail running before my triathlon days, but with my back condition, it’s not happy. Just going downhill on a trail doesn’t do my back any good, so I kind of stick to the road as much as possible.

BRAD BROWN:  Keri, as far as performance goes and improving your run and your performance on the run, is there one thing you can go, you know what, that’s what it is, that’s what’s helped me improve big time when it comes to the run.

Focus on improvement

KERI DELPORT:  I suppose focusing on my interval training quite regularly. The one thing I started introducing a year and a half, two years ago is consistent interval training, so working on longer intervals of between 3-5km. Working up to 8km intervals and then shorter speed work, building up to, from 400m, 800m and kilometer sprints and doing those consistently.

That has made a huge difference in improving the speed work, which then obviously helps over a marathon as well.

BRAD BROWN:  We’ve touched on it quite often here on this podcast too, with regards to junk miles and just running for the sake of running.

You could possibly do junk miles in the pool or on the bike, but doing that on the run, you’re doing damage to your body and the recovery time. Particularly when it comes to running recovery is a lot longer.

You don’t run just for the sake of running, you’ve got an outcome on every single session you do?

KERI DELPORT:  Absolutely, every single session is a goal.

BRAD BROWN:  Let’s talk about track work, do you do anything on the track?

Being safety conscious

KERI DELPORT:  Not particularly on the track. But where I live I have kind of a 600m loop, a 2km loop and a 1km loop and so if I’ve got specific interval training, I’ll kind of track around that, per se. In a neighborhood where I’m friendly with the security guard so that I know I’m safe, and friendly with the local people who kind of just are walking around the area, I quite enjoy that.

But no, I don’t have any tracks near where I stay and so it’s unfortunately a luxury I haven’t been able to experience. I’d love to because the ground always feels a bit bouncier on a track.

BRAD BROWN:  Let’s talk about the workouts you love doing. One thing I’ve picked up, in order to qualify for Kona, you do need to be a bit of a masochist, are you one of those? Do you love flogging yourself on the run?

KERI DELPORT:  Absolutely! Absolutely! I love those sessions that just completely and utterly break me! Again, like I’ve mentioned a few times, it just helps with mental training because we’re going to get there on Ironman. Where even if you’re doing the Ironman shuffle, you’re going to feel like you would be feeling doing a 5km sprint, so no, it’s good to get that kind of mental prep over with in training.

BRAD BROWN:  Give me an example of a session that absolutely breaks you, but you absolutely love.

Doing your mental training is as important as your Ironman run training

KERI DELPORT:  I would say, probably one of my mentally tough ones is where I have to do 6 sets. It’s 6 sets and each set is 3 x one minute hill sprints, then coming down from the hill, followed by a 1.2km sprint at 4 minutes ten a K and then working back to the hill to repeat that six times.

That session I absolutely love!

BRAD BROWN:  I’m not going to say anything! Keri, thank you very much for that, it makes me feel like such an under-achiever, thank you.

KERI DELPORT:  No, you’re doing fine Brad!

BRAD BROWN:  I’m looking forward to finding out what you do from a nutrition point of view because we haven’t touched on that at all in our previous chats. But we’ll save that for the next time around if that’s good with you.

KERI DELPORT:  Awesome, thanks Brad.

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