Today on The Kona Edge we chat to Don Oswalt about how his love for running developed. He tells how it started out for recreation and developed into something bigger because he came to love it. Don shares his secret with us on how to split up those long runs and use them to his advantage of getting used to running on tired legs.
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BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge. Thanks so much for downloading and listening to the podcast. Don’t forget if you haven’t left us a review or rating on iTunes please do. It’s almost like our virtual tip jar. It’s just your way of giving something back to us here at The Kona Edge. It really helps us grow the podcast and get in front of more people through the platform of iTunes so if you wouldn’t mind, I would appreciate it massively. Let’s head back to South Carolina now to chat some running with Don Oswalt. Don, welcome back nice to touch base once again.
DON OSWALT: Yes. you go Brad. Thanks for having me back on.
Delivering and qualifying at Kona
BRAD BROWN: Don, you’re a machine when it comes to the run. Your times are pretty solid. You had a good run in Kona 2016, sub 3:30 marathon, you’ve qualified for Boston. You’ve qualified again because of Kona, but you’re a pretty solid runner. You must love running.
DON OSWALT: I really do yes. It definitely is the part of triathlon that I do the most, have been the most improved in and love the most I guess, definitely.
BRAD BROWN: Having run at Boston, we spoke about it in the first chat with regards to lessons you’ve learnt and it was in that race where you learnt a couple of valuable nutrition lessons. As far as running over the years, is there one or two things that you feel you’ve done that you can pinpoint that’s given you the biggest gains that’s helped improve your run over time?
DON OSWALT: I think the biggest thing that has really helped me, when I first started out, even before triathlon, I was just kind of in a running group. They would meet weekly and run 5/6 miles and it wasn’t any kind of racing, it was just running for recreation and it really helped me to improve because on 10 points we would actually do kind of like a little tempo, a 3 mile tempo run or we’d do half mile TT or quarter mile TT, and just to see the improvement of getting in at the end of speed. It gets you excited you know, and best of all it was fun. I run a lot now kind of by myself but in the beginning, it was all with people and that kind of made it fun and made it challenging and you really pushed yourself harder around people than you would by yourself. I think everyone knows that’s important.
Group running is exciting and motivating
BRAD BROWN: And also from a motivation point of view, I know for myself when I started out, knowing that there were people out there waiting for me, whether it’s a 5 in the morning or if it’s a late afternoon run, knowing that it’s not just up to me, if I don’t feel like going out, I’m letting someone else down. That also comes into play, doesn’t it?
DON OSWALT: Yes, you’re totally right, it really does. And it kind of motivates everybody to be there and to be part of the group, let’s all have fun.
BRAD BROWN: As far as your sort of favorite run workout, you mentioned on the bike you love suffering. Are you pretty much the same on the run, the harder the better?
DON OSWALT: Yes, pretty much. This year, I talked to my coach about doing double run days. So, I would run kind of Ironman pace 8/9 miles in the morning, a 7:30; 7:40 pace and then I would run after work another 8/9 miles. We tried to push up the pace to 7:05, 7:10 pace. That was actually, we started long runs not saying it, but didn’t do any long 18/20 milers but those double run days were kind of fun.
Just to be able to get out there and know that you’re not out there for 2 hours, 3 hours. You just out for an hour, an hour 15 minutes, an hour and 20. Then come back 7/8 hours later and do it again. That was a lot of fun. I think even my coach had mentioned that she learned from that it was okay to split it up and I think she will incorporate that into other athletes training as well.
BRAD BROWN: I find that interesting, and I’d love to dig a bit deeper there. What was your thinking behind splitting those runs? Was it a case of allowing you to recover better? What was the thinking behind doing it?
Can double run days improve your performance?
DON OSWALT: Honestly, I followed Jeff Thomas, he’s a pro-triathlete. He lives in Bangalore and he was quoting those from his coach Matt Dixon, and he said how he really liked them and he used that, he had a back problem, so he used that as injury prevention. I think that’s an important key cause you can do your 18/20 mile runs but it all takes a toll on your body. So, to be able to run 8 miles, 10 miles, 12 miles run, give your body some rest then come back and do it again, I think it really helps in the injury prevention. And I think mentally it actually brings you a little bit more toughness cause I kind of switch it up. Run hard in the morning and then kind of a 10/20 second less a mile pace in the afternoon. Then do the opposite the next week. There wasn’t any kind of strategy, I just heard that Jeff was doing it and thought I would give it a try and I actually really liked it.
BRAD BROWN: I’m sure it also gets you used to running on tired legs?
DON OSWALT: Yes definitely. It really does. It’s really different from running off the bike. You’ve got your long bike workout, you’re running but it was rare that I ran off the bike in 10/12 miles in my training. That gave me a chance to run hard in the morning, get my legs tired then hard in the afternoons. It definitely did, it really helped.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant. Well Don thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge, much appreciated. Look forward to talking nutrition with you next time out. Thanks for your time today.
DON OSWALT: Okay, thanks a lot Brad.