On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with Robyn Hardage once again and chat about her Ironman run. We find out what some of her coping mechanisms have been during her injury period which has left her depressed and frustrated. Robyn reveals what she does in the gym to get stronger on the run and we also get a good dose of advice on what to do to get better on the run.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto another edition of The Kona Edge, welcome back and it’s time to talk some running, we head back to Canada, returning guest, Robyn Hardage joins us now. Robyn welcome back, thanks for joining us.
ROBYN HARDAGE: Thank you.
BRAD BROWN: Robyn, you’ve been struggling with a bit of a niggle and it’s frustrating because your run, as you told me, was your favourite and best of the three disciplines. But you haven’t been able to do as much and as well as you would have liked on the run. It’s frustrating isn’t it?
ROBYN HARDAGE: Yeah, it’s something I’ve been dealing with, but sort of getting used to it by now. But the frustration is there.
Coping mechanisms when your Ironman run is put on hold
BRAD BROWN: It’s one of those things, at some stage all of us go through a patch like this where whatever discipline it is, and I think it’s even harder when it’s your favourite discipline. How do you deal with it from a mental perspective, knowing that you really want to get out there, but just physically you can’t do what you’d like to do?
ROBYN HARDAGE: Yeah, when I first got diagnosed with the injury, I was depressed. I was frustrated, I just wanted to, when someone tells you you can’t do it, you want to do it even more. There was a point in the spring where I was told not to run and that sort of made me realize how much running gave me. Like a therapy. It was my outlet. So yeah, I learnt some coping mechanisms and whether it was turning to swimming or biking, to kind of get that release, then that’s what I learnt to do. It’s easier now.
BRAD BROWN: Did you listen to the advice 100% or did you take it out to see if it would feel any better?
ROBYN HARDAGE: I wasn’t the best patient! I snuck a couple of runs in there.
BRAD BROWN: What is it with us? I had that today funnily enough on my run. My knee is a little bit sore and I think I need new shoes and I started, I was about 2km in and I was like no, I shouldn’t do the run. I was like, let me take it out for another 4km and see how it feels. And it definitely didn’t feel better after those 4km. We as runners are an interesting breed I’m sure.
Let’s talk about some of the stuff you love doing and especially when the run is your favourite discipline. Let’s talk when you’re not injured. What are some of the things that you absolutely love doing on the run?
ROBYN HARDAGE: I’m sort of a creature of habit, I like tempo runs. I like just putting on my shoes and then pushing the pace for whatever it is, 10-12km. I’m lucky to live near the river and there’s a path that I can run along. A pedestrian pathway and there’s water, beautiful scenery, so that’s what I like. I’m distracted, the pace is up and yeah, that’s one of my favourites.
BRAD BROWN: Are you a high volume type of girl or is it more about quality?
ROBYN HARDAGE: I’ve changed. In my early running days it was all about the mileage and high volume. But then you start to struggle with injuries, whether it was IT band or plantar fasciitis, so then I turned to training smarter.
BRAD BROWN: As far as the amount of quality you’ll do as opposed to the amount of quantity in a week. Break it percentage-wise, how much of it would be quality as opposed to quantity, if you get what I’m saying?
ROBYN HARDAGE: Yeah, quantity, I run about 65km a week. I don’t know, it’s about 4-5 hours of running. It’s about a third of the total training, percentage-wise.
BRAD BROWN: And within that running, what percentage of that would be high intensity, really hard stuff as opposed to the easier?
ROBYN HARDAGE: I have never been one for speed work, so I don’t do that. Hills, I’ll throw them in there once in a while, but a lot of it I really just focus on tempo. So an easy warm up, tempo intervals or an entire tempo run. There’s never really like any high intensity running, I find that’s worked for me.
How to get better on your Ironman run
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant. Athletes like myself, our run is probably not our best discipline, but we’d love to get better. Give someone like me some advice on what I can do to get better on the run. What sort of stuff would you suggest?
ROBYN HARDAGE: To me it’s about being consistent. Just getting out there. Not doing junk miles and then just building on your base pace or your foundation pace and bringing that down. So if you were to go out for an aerobic 10km run, you want your average pace to come down over time. You can only do that with consistency and training. Getting out there 4-5 times a week.
BRAD BROWN: You probably apply that to the bike as well. We chatted about the bike and you doing a little bit extra now because you’re injured. The same sort of principle applies there too I’m sure.
ROBYN HARDAGE: For sure. You can’t see improvement or gains if you’re not consistent and it’s like anything. It’s like any skill in life, you have to practice at it.
ROBYN HARDAGE: I do some strength, it’s mostly bodyweight stuff. So lunges, squats, that type of stuff, just to work on your glutes, get them firing properly. I’m not the best at doing all that extra stuff.
BRAD BROWN: You and me both! Robyn, thank you so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge. Look forward to chatting a little bit about nutrition cause I know that’s one thing that you’ve focused on this year after your issues at Kona in 2015. But we’ll chat about that next time out if that’s good?
ROBYN HARDAGE: All right, thanks.