Today on The Kona Edge we chat about Rachel Hallam‘s Ironman run preference and how she manages her training strategy being a sheep farmer. She shares her opinions on running injuries and tells us how she deals with them. We also learn about her favourite Ironman run workout.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge, it’s good to have you join us, thanks for downloading this podcast. I’m Brad Brown and we have a returning guest on once again, we head back to the UK, Rachel Hallam joins us. Rachel, welcome, thanks for joining us today.
RACHEL HALLAM: Hey Brad, good to speak to you again.
BRAD BROWN: Rachel, let’s talk about the run. I don’t think I’ve asked you this question, out of the three disciplines, what would you say is your strongest?
Being in a good space will do you good in your Ironman run
RACHEL HALLAM: That’s a good question, I’d say that I’m lucky in the fact that I’m fairly even across all three. I think obviously it’s a real, yeah, running is decent, swim/bike are good, so I’m pretty lucky really.
BRAD BROWN: Which one do you love the most?
RACHEL HALLAM: It depends what mood I’m in.
BRAD BROWN: It depends if it’s raining or not.
RACHEL HALLAM: I do enjoy the bike, I must admit.
BRAD BROWN: Cool and the run, being the same strength across all three, it’s not that you have a bike that’s way stronger than your run so when you get off the bike in an Ironman you go oh, I’ve got 26 miles to get through this, you feel pretty comfortable getting off the bike, knowing that, you know what, 26 miles, I’ve got this.
RACHEL HALLAM: Yeah, absolutely, it’s always motivating to know that you’re not daunted by one of the disciplines and it’s confident thinking. If you’re in a good place, coming off the bike, you can probably look to do well in the run.
BRAD BROWN: Coming from a rugby background, a marathon and particularly a marathon at the back end of an Ironman, after 180km on the bike, it’s a very different mindset to 80 minutes of rugby, has that been a challenge to make that playing competitive rugby to going into competitive Ironman?
How to get mentally tough and enjoy your run
RACHEL HALLAM: I guess, there again, being a farmer, you are mentally tough and you’ve got to get through a day’s work and that’s that. You know the end is the end, so you’ve just got to switch your brain off and just battle through it really. I guess I use that mentality in the triathlon really, it’s sort of, you get to the start of the run it’s like right, switch off brain and now just run.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about the run itself and what you love about it, are there parts on that Ironman run that you really look forward to, do you like going into those dark place and hanging out in the pain cave?
RACHEL HALLAM: Yeah, you know, I guess the last, obviously when you get to the last 10km, that’s when you can really start to enjoy it, you’ve done the hard work and then you know you’re on the way home really, obviously I haven’t done that many Ironman’s myself, yet, but yeah, that’s always the bit I’ve looked to get to, that 10km to go and then you can really start to enjoy it, hopefully.
BRAD BROWN: What do you love about running?
RACHEL HALLAM: I guess it’s the freedom really. I don’t run with any music or any headphones, I just love to go out there and just, I guess, be a country girl, I just love to be outside and enjoy the environment, the freedom of running.
BRAD BROWN: What do you hate about it?
Listen to your body when injury strikes
RACHEL HALLAM: Not being able to run, being injured and not being able to run is the worst thing, seeing people out running.
BRAD BROWN: That is frustrating, and lots of people do have constant niggles, particularly running injuries and for various reasons, it’s something, by the sounds of it, you’ve struggled with as well. How do you keep yourself mentally in that space that you want to be running, but you’re injured and you have to hold back? It’s a tough balancing act to have to juggle.
RACHEL HALLAM: It is Brad, but at the end of the day, if you want to race well in an Ironman or whatever, you’ve got to listen to your body and you’ve got to not push it through injuries and get the recovery. If you’ve got a niggle, you’ve got to listen to your body and rest and then know you can recover and get back out running again. Too many people try and think they can run through injuries and then have issues, I think is a big thing, it’s learning to listen to your body.
BRAD BROWN: Is there one thing you’ve done in your triathlon career that’s given you huge benefits on the run, is there anything you can really pinpoint it to?
RACHEL HALLAM: Like I say, you’ve got to be strong as well, I think, doing the S&C stuff, over the winter, especially, to try and help with the injuries I think really helps as well. Mark’s a big advocate of doing the strength and conditioning work, which I think has helped me this year. Also, obviously, it’s running is where you pick up the injuries, so it’s making sure you don’t do too much hard running at one point and make sure you recover from a session before you go running hard again.
BRAD BROWN: You’ve mentioned in our previous two chats about the swim and the bike that consistency has been key to getting better in those two. Would you say it’s the same when it comes to running?
RACHEL HALLAM: I think it is Brad, I think it’s across the board, as I say, with endurance sport, it’s keeping the muscle memory, it’s keeping those muscles used to the running as well, cause when you’ve had a break or if you’re inconsistent with your training, it’s very difficult then to sort of keep on top of it really. I think it’s a funny one really because you don’t want to run too much where you get the injuries, but then you need to be running enough, so it’s finding that balance really and only you know it, it’s your body at the end of the day, so you’ve got to learn to listen to it.
BRAD BROWN: What’s your favourite run workout?
RACHEL HALLAM: You’ll laugh, I love hill reps. I guess it’s the challenge of the hill really, it’s sort of, you can’t be beaten by it, so a good set of hill reps is a good blow out in my opinion.
Running once the body has warmed up
BRAD BROWN: That’s awesome. As far as running morning or evening, which do you prefer?
RACHEL HALLAM: That’s a good question, personally I like running later in the day because your body is warmed up for it. I think running first thing in the morning, personally opens me up to more niggles because your body is not really awake so much yet and I guess the joints and the muscles, they aren’t fully lubricated, really warmed up for it, so running later in the day is my choice.
BRAD BROWN: How many pairs of running shoes do you reckon you’ve gone through in your life?
RACHEL HALLAM: Oh my goodness me, hundred, thousands probably, still too many kicking around the house now.
BRAD BROWN: Rachel, it’s been awesome catching up with you once again, I look forward to chatting about your nutrition strategy and how you approach that when it comes to Ironman and particularly Kona, but we’ll save that for next time out. Thanks for your time today.
RACHEL HALLAM: Cheers Brad.