We discover how he structured his Ironman run training to improve his stride and intensity. He also touches on the importance of recovery and nutrition to improve your Ironman run.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back onto this edition of The Kona Edge. Time to chat some running form now and we head back to Norway to catch up with Hans Christian Tungesvik. Hans Christian welcome back. Thanks for taking the time to chat to us.
HANS CHRISTIAN: Thanks for having me.
Your run time has improved a hell of a lot, what are some of the things you’ve been doing to get better?
Improved running form improves your Ironman run
HC: I think a really, really important thing I did was I started, well as a former cross-country skier we loved to just run out in the woods, and may be quite a lot of climbs and things like that.
But during the past year I’ve started running a lot more flat courses which enables me to run technically good and open up my stride even on the easy sessions. They don’t demand that much recovery and that has really helped me get an efficient stride and improve my running form.
So, I think that’s helped me a lot because my stride and running form wasn’t that good. But being able to really work on the technique even on the easy long runs, has been a huge advantage for me.
BB: I find that interesting you say that, because obviously you talk about running in the woods and the cross-country skiing, physically you must be really strong as a runner. But you talk about that flat, but when you running lots of ups and downs your stride does shorten, do you find that that has hampered you? As you say this is something you’ve done that’s really opened you up and speeded you up.
HC: Yes, and also if you run in the woods of course you can open up your stride and you can run quite fast, but then the intensity goes up quite a bit and suddenly it’s quite a tough session.
So, that’s the idea behind it to be able to work with the technical stuff even on the easy session. That’s been great for me.
Rest your body when it’s possible
BB: You mentioned the recovery, because that’s one of the things I think a lot of athletes make that mistake is they go too hard too often, and particularly on the run.
It’s easy to get caught up in that mass volume training cycle. For you how important is recovery? What are some of the things you do to ensure that you’re coming back to your next session as fresh and as recovered as you can?
HC: Yes of course I try to focus on good nutrition. Eat normal, healthy good food. A great variety of food and also hydration, I drink a lot.
I try to also have some recovery sessions as well. Maybe as we mentioned talking about the swims, maybe some of the swim sessions, shorter swim session can be like a recovery session. I like to do that.
And also try to, if it’s possible when you’re not working out, rest your legs, rest your body because everything else of course takes some energy out of you.
BB: Absolutely. Your favorite run workout, what do you love doing?
The best workouts to improve your Ironman run
HC: I really like it when I’m in good shape, it’s quite a tough, it’s a long session. I like the long sessions as you probably can understand.
It’s the 3 x 10k progressive pace. The first one is at 4:30 per km and the next one 4:15. The last one at 4 per km. It’s a great session.
It builds endurance for the long races. I had some sessions like that before Ironman Kona this year and it worked out really good for my run shape.
What do you do to get yourself through those?
Patience cultivates mental toughness on your Ironman run
HC: As I said it’s much about just being patient. Just keep on going, take 1km after the other. Don’t bite off the whole distance until the finish line. Set small goals during a longer distance so you’re able to get to the finish line.
It for sure helps to think of all the other guys out there suffering as well. If it’s hard for you then you know it’s really hard for the others.
BB: Talk to me about finishing. Crossing the line as an Ironman Age Group World Champion. Were you aware at Ironman Kona 2016, coming down that carpet that you had it in the bag? Or weren’t you sure where everyone was around you?
HC: Yes, I was quite sure. I got some information from my support team and my family. They told me I overtook the leader about 3km before the finish line. It was an amazing feeling but it was surreal as well.
I didn’t think it was an option before I started so it was kind of surreal but it was the coolest feeling ever.
BB: How soon do you want to go back to get that feeling again?
HC: Yes, if I had the money I’d go right now.
BB: I love it! If you could bottle it you would. Hans Christian thank you so much for your time once again. We’re going to get you back on next time to chat a little bit about your Ironman nutrition strategy and what you do from that point of view but thanks for your time today.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
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