On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with a phenomenal runner, Jacqui Giuliano. We chatted to her about the injuries she has been battling with this year and she shares with us what she did to change her Ironman run training. We discover how she feels about junk miles and how her performance has improved due to less run training.
BRAD BROWN: You’re listening to The Kona Edge. I’m Brad Brown, we’re going to chat some running today with someone who is a phenomenal runner. She’s been struggling with a bit of an injury early on this year, it seems to have come right, which is great news. Jacqui Giuliano, welcome back onto The Kona Edge. Thanks for joining us.
JACQUI GIULIANO: Thanks for having me.
Introduce strength training to your Ironman run
BRAD BROWN: Jacqui, something you mentioned to me early on in our first chat is that growing up you struggled with some injury too. Obviously this last year has been particularly challenging for you with the plantar fasciitis, but you’re no stranger to injury, unfortunately, it’s something that’s plagued your running career over the years.
JACQUI GIULIANO: Yeah, it definitely has.
BRAD BROWN: We spoke about the frustrations, but what have you done over the years to avoid it, cause I think that’s one thing that a lot of people struggle with, they want to do as much volume as possible, but often it’s the volume that does cause those injuries, what are some of the things you’ve done to avoid injury generally?
JACQUI GIULIANO: I think a big component is doing strength training. Now that I’m only running four days a week versus the 6-7 that I was before, I have a lot more time for strength training and I think that that’s huge because really, all three of our sports, you’re really just going in a forward direction the whole time. There’s always muscles going laterally that you really need to work to help that forward movement. I think that has been huge. I think also really focusing on getting massages for my body and sitting in recovery booths and using all these little tools, like the R8, the foam roller, all of those things, I think those have been very helpful in keeping me injury free.
BRAD BROWN: Jacqui, since dialing back to four days a week, have you seen a difference in your run performance? Do you feel you’re running as well as you were when you were possibly running 6-7 days a week or has there been a dip in your performance?
JACQUI GIULIANO: Especially now since I’m finally starting to find my groove again, now I’m hitting times that I’m happy with and I think yeah, a big part of that is because since I’m only running 4 days a week, I’m really focusing on those days and really trying to get the most out of my body on those days.
BRAD BROWN: It’s something that comes up quite often, you talk about focusing on those days, junk miles, what’s your thought on junk miles, particularly with the run, if you’re injury prone?
Are junk miles the cause of your injuries?
JACQUI GIULIANO: Oh my gosh, I think that’s what kept me injury prone. I loved junk miles, just because I love the feeling of going out for a run. I think a lot of people feel it’s a stress reliever and you can just push everything off your brain and go out and enjoy yourself, but I really think if you’re an injury prone person, doing junk miles is so bad.
BRAD BROWN: As far as workouts, what do you love doing from a run perspective?
JACQUI GIULIANO: I love going on the track, those pain sessions, those are a lot of fun for me.
BRAD BROWN: Talk to me about those pain sessions, talk me through one of the tough ones that at the time maybe you don’t love that much, but the feeling afterwards is amazing.
JACQUI GIULIANO: Anything including either 400 repeats or 800 repeats, those are my favourite because you just have to go so much harder. You just have to really dig deep, like mile repeats, yeah, those are hard, but usually you can make it if you have a little window, but going hard for a short amount of time, at a higher intensity is even more challenging for me personally.
BRAD BROWN: How do you break your week up, of those four runs, talk to me from a long run perspective or a track work perspective, how’s that week broken up and what do you do in those four runs?
JACQUI GIULIANO: Usually Tuesday are more my speed type and then Thursday are more, kind of just a little bit faster than Ironman pace, more a threshold type run. Saturday are my run off the bike, usually just around marathon pace, or Ironman marathon pace, or just slightly lower and then Sunday are my long runs that usually have like a two mile warm up, two mile cool down and then Ironman pace work in between.
BRAD BROWN: You talk long runs, in the buildup to an Ironman, let’s say your peak week, what’s the longest long run you would do in a buildup to an Ironman?
JACQUI GIULIANO: Normally I would get into, probably have two 20 milers or an 18 and a 20 miler, but because my season has been a little bit shorter and I’ve come back from injury twice already this season, I think Ryan said my longest long run is only going to be 16, which again, I have a base of running, so it’s not a super big deal, but mentally I’m like only 16 miles, that’s ten more until a marathon. That’s more mentally I have to handle that.
BRAD BROWN: We all know, once you get to mile 16 of a marathon, everything is hurting anyway, it just hurts for longer. It’s not that it hurts worse, it just hurts for longer, that’s all it is. Jacqui, thanks so much for joining us here on The Kona Edge today, much appreciated. I look forward to delving into your nutrition strategy, but we’ll save that for another day, thanks for chatting to us.
JACQUI GIULIANO: All right, thank you.