On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with Roger Canham once again and find out why he loves the Ironman run as he does. We look at running strategy and consistency and how he feels about doing his Ironman marathon. He shares with us what his favourite workout is and the reasons behind it.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back to The Kona Edge, it’s good to have you with us and we’re going to chat some running today as we head back to the United Kingdom, Roger Canham joins us. Roger, welcome back, nice to have you. From a run perspective, would you say the run is your strength out of the three disciplines?
ROGER CANHAM: It’s certainly proved to be a strength and certainly the discipline I enjoy the most.
BRAD BROWN: It helps that you enjoy it. I chat to a lot of athletes and many come from cycling backgrounds, many come from running backgrounds and I find the ones that come from a running background or that enjoy the run more than the cycle tend to, not perform better, but it just makes it a bit easier knowing that after a 180km bike, you’re sitting in T2 going, hey, you know what, I don’t really mind this as opposed to having your strength just gone and you go, oh, I’ve got to run a marathon. It does make life a bit easier.
Having the right mindset to tackle your Ironman run
ROGER CANHAM: Oh gosh, yes, if I was to set off on the marathon thinking, goodness me, I’ve got a marathon to run now, I guess I’d probably go back to T2 to be honest! Certainly the mindset, the swim will be what it will be and the bike, stuff can happen on the bike that’s out of your control and so I very much think, once you’re off the bike and in T2, then it’s just down to you. There’s no mechanicals, no chain snapping, no punctures, it’s just straightforward, it’s just you and the next 26.3 miles and that’s a challenge that I relish.
BRAD BROWN: You mentioned in an earlier chat that you sort of run to halfway within yourself and then it’s race on and chasing slots, do you believe that halfway in a marathon, halfway in an Ironman is pretty much halfway in a marathon, there’s still a long way to go in that final 21?
ROGER CANHAM: Yeah, there is, but it is about metering out your efforts and as you said, I enjoy the run, I’m always guilty sometimes of going out of T2 a little bit quickly, so it’s very much, I’m watching my K splits, I’m making sure that I haven’t gone too crazy because I’m excited to get out there and run, but yes, it’s just cranking through the first few K’s, loop courses like PE are great, you can get around the first lap, get that done, second lap you’re conservative and then you’ve got a third lap where you can open up, so it’s very much breaking the course up into chunks that you can then execute your race plan as you see fit really and that’s different.
In Hawaii, until you’re up Palani and really out on the Queen K, the race hasn’t really started, but that’s only 12 miles in Hawaii, so until you get to the Energy Lab, you’re still probably not all out. Coming back from the Energy Lab, you’ve got 10km to go and that’s when you’ve got the hammer down and you’re putting everything into it. I guess for each course, perhaps, you’re thinking about how you might race the marathon side of it. Looped courses are nice, but nevertheless you’ve just got to find some landmarks to say okay, at this point I’m going to go a bit harder or I’m going to be conservative or I’m going to refuel or whatever. You do have to think about the course a little as well, it’s not a binary, always at 13 miles you can relax and open up a bit.
BRAD BROWN: Are you a negative splits type of guy?
Is there a scientific formula behind negative splits in your Ironman run?
ROGER CANHAM: I’d love to be, but I guess the first half or the first part of the marathon, I’ll just run how it feels good. If I feel comfortable, I don’t worry too much about how fast it is, just as long as I’m running within myself and then the second lap or the second half, you know what, everybody goes through a difficult time between 20-30km, we all have that and we all slow down, there are not many people that are negative split and the last 10km, obviously it’s just a fight and I’d love to run that a bit quicker and at times I’ve run a reasonable 10km at the end, but inevitably you’re battling through that. Yes, I don’t think I’ve yet cracked a negative split Ironman Marathon.
BRAD BROWN: As far as if you had to pin down your run performance to one thing you’ve done over the years that’s given you the most benefits, could you pin it down to one thing?
ROGER CANHAM: Yeah, run a lot, I’m afraid. It’s not very scientific. There’s lots of sessions with intervals and pace work and all those sorts of things and to be honest, for me, it’s just toughening up your legs by running often, on hard surfaces because ultimately running a marathon in an Ironman shreds your legs and the tougher you can make them through running on them, frequently, the better place, certainly that’s what works for me and it may work differently for other people, but in training, I’ll try and negative split my longer runs if I can, but it really is just logging the miles and just toughening up.
BRAD BROWN: And consistency, you touched on it there, but consistency is key.
ROGER CANHAM: Absolutely, really trying to manage any potential injuries, whether that means that at some point doing some run/walks on your longer sort of mid-week run, if that gives your legs a bit of a break, making sure you keep on top of any niggles, so I probably have a sports massage every other week, whether I feel I need it or not, just to make sure that there are no knots in there because you’re absolutely right, consistency trumps pretty much everything else when it comes to run training.
BRAD BROWN: As far as workouts that you love doing, what’s your favourite run workout?
You know you love what you’re doing when the long one is your favourite workout
ROGER CANHAM: Yeah, I’m afraid it’s the long one. There’s two loops that I’ve got from home, one is 25km and one is 38km and I love just doing those. They’re out in the country and I enjoy running, I can lose myself in a run, I can get to that state of flow that people talk about where I can just be jogging along, just thinking about other things, not really in the moment, but just really enjoying being outdoors and there really aren’t conditions that I won’t be outdoors, whether it’s snow, hail, as in Texas, or whether it’s hot sunshine, I can never really find any conditions that I’m not happy to be outside and running.
BRAD BROWN: That’s brilliant. Roger, thanks so much for your time once again here on The Kona Edge, I’m very keen to chat about your nutrition and how you’ve dialed that in over the years. But we’ll save that for another time, thanks for your time today.
ROGER CANHAM: Thanks Brad.