We’ve spoken at length on The Kona Edge about training indoors if the weather is miserable. But what if you choose to do your Ironman run training on a treadmill? Will it actually help you improve your Ironman run? We chat to Jane Hansom on this edition of the Kona Edge and discover that using a treadmill is one of her secret weapons to running better.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back to this edition of The Kona Edge, time to talk some running and we head back to the UK, to London, to be precise. Jane Hansom joins us, Jane, welcome back, thanks for joining us today.
JANE HANSOM: Hi Brad, thanks for having me.
BRAD BROWN: Jane, I was amazed, in our first chat when we looked back at where it all started and you started running, you ran the London Marathon and you ended up running a few other marathons and you ended up taking literally an hour off in the first year on your run, you went sub 3 hours, you’ve got to be a pretty decent runner to run a sub 3 hour marathon, so you’ve obviously got some ability. Those sorts of gains and improvements are phenomenal.
JANE HANSOM: Thank you, I was just so thrilled to have found running, I guess, after such a long time and I completely fell in love with it. Yeah, I did run a lot back then, I have to say, I did run every day and it does make a difference when you’re running every day and when you don’t need to swim and bike, so although I’m not, I don’t think I’m as fast as I was back then, well I’m not because I still haven’t managed to do a sub 3 off the bike yet.
BRAD BROWN: What’s wrong with you Jane, what’s wrong with you?
JANE HANSOM: I must work on that!
BRAD BROWN: That’s just crazy, those times are phenomenal but we all joke about it all the time and we say you can’t win or lose an Ironman in the swim, but at the end of the day, whether you like it or not, it boils down to the sport really being a running sport. You can be as good as you want in the water and on the bike, but if you’re a rubbish runners, you’re never going to win a race. You’ve got to be able to hold your own on the run, do you think that’s a bit of an advantage to you, that you do come from a bit of a running background and you’re pretty strong on the run?
JANE HANSOM: I think so. I really look forward to running, so in the last 40km on the bike, it’s maybe getting a bit uncomfortable then and when I get off the bike and transition, I’m desperate to get my running shoes on and I really look forward to the run because I know I’m going to enjoy it and it’s just, it’s the bit that I like the most. I usually like to think that I can make inroads and catch people on the run leg, that’s certainly what happened in Kona, certainly, because there were a few girls ahead of me on the bike and I did catch them in the first 10km of the run.
BRAD BROWN: It’s a nice feeling to have and a position to be in, to get off the bike going, hey, this is it, this is what I love doing, as opposed to having your best discipline done and you’re going, oh no, 42km, I’m not so sure about this.
JANE HANSOM: Oh yeah, definitely. It’s definitely the thing I look forward to the most, for sure.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about what you’ve done to improve. You mentioned the shorter stuff and getting faster on both the bike and in the water, do you feel exactly the same way about the run, even though it is a marathon, you still need to do shorter, sharper intensity sessions?
JANE HANSOM: Oh yeah, definitely. I think it’s really important. It’s something that I haven’t done as much of this year as I would have liked to, because I’ve just spent so much time focusing on the bike, I guess, but I’ll definitely be doing that, that’s what I’m going to focus on this year and I think it’s important to do the short stuff because it then makes the longer distance feel far more sustainable. If you’re used to running at a much harder pace, albeit over a shorter distance, then when you’re running at marathon pace, it feels like a breeze and I guess that’s the key because it should feel okay because in the last 10-15km it’s going to get a lot tougher, but yeah, for sure, I think the short, sharp stuff is important.
BRAD BROWN: Jane, is there one thing you’ve done in your triathlon career that’s made a big difference to your run, whether it be a certain session you do, is there something you’ve done that you can go, you know what, that’s really helped me a lot.
The one thing that helped Jane improve her Ironman run
JANE HANSOM: Yeah, it’s probably running on a treadmill and I never ever used to run on a treadmill and I do do a couples of sessions now on a treadmill because Brett loves using the treadmill and it took me a while to get my head around it because I do like running outside, but the good thing about doing treadmill sessions is that there’s no hiding place and you must run at the required speed, otherwise you’ll end up on the floor and it does encourage a quicker cadence, which I think is a good thing.
BRAD BROWN: Do you think running on the treadmill also builds mental strength, knowing that you can push that stop button at any time, you have to finish it, whereas if you were running out and back for instance, yes, you can turn around earlier, but you’re out there and once you get to the turnaround point you have to go back otherwise you’re not making it.
JANE HANSOM: Probably, it does actually, yeah, although I have to say, I’m not a mad fan of the treadmill, I don’t love it. I can see why it’s useful, but given the choice, I would always choose to run outside. It’s one of these things that you know is good for you, so you have to put up with it.
BRAD BROWN: Favourite set or favourite run session, what do you love doing?
JANE HANSOM: My favourite run session, probably an 8 mile run along the canal with a negative split, which is kind of my normal run. I live in the centre of London, so I do live near a canal which runs along, past Regents Park, so it’s fast and flat and it’s exactly, my house is exactly four miles from Regents Park, so I can run there, past the zoo, get to look at all of the giraffes and the animals and then as soon as I reach the end, then on the reverse, I’ll just try to do that more quickly. I do like a negative split run and as soon as I’ve reached the turn point, I know I’m going home, so as soon as I sniff home, it makes it easier to do the negative split.
BRAD BROWN: Do you try and do those negative splits in races as well?
JANE HANSOM: Wow, that’s a good question. Certainly in the marathons I’ve done, for sure, most of my marathons, I think, yeah, I think most of them have been a negative split because I’ve tried to go out fairly steady and then speed it up in the second half, but actually, I haven’t even looked at my split times for the marathons as part of the Ironman. Do you know what? I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a negative split – I better not look! No, do you know, I haven’t actually tried to do that in an Ironman yet. I guess it’s different in the Ironman, you’re on the run leg and you just need to, yeah, it’s a case of not slowing down as opposed to maybe trying to go faster in the second half. Maybe I’ll try that for the next one.
BRAD BROWN: For you it’s a case of not trying to slow down, for me it’s a case of not trying to die!
JANE HANSOM: You know what, I’m going to try that for Kona, I’m going to remember you, this conversation, on the Kona leg and I’m going to think, right, I need to do a negative split.
BRAD BROWN: If you don’t do a negative split, I’m going to come and burn your house down Jane.
JANE HANSOM: That’s a good incentive.
BRAD BROWN: No pressure! Jane, as always, it’s been great catching up. I want to touch base and chat a little bit about nutrition, but we’ll save that for next time. Much appreciated, we look forward to catching up then.
JANE HANSOM: All right, cheers Brad.