Race Tips from an Ironwoman

Harriet Brown, Ironwoman

Harriet Brown, Ironwoman

Gradually increase your running distance. 14km doesn’t seem too far if you slowly build up to the distance over a number of weeks.

Warm up and cool down by jogging slowly before and after each session. I like to do dynamic movement exercises before I run to warm up my muscles. 

Mix up the type of running sessions you do. Try a combination of long runs, short intervals at a high intensity and also longer interval sessions. Rest periods can be complete rest, a walk or a slow jog. Interval training helps improve your speed and fitness.

Progressively make your sessions a little more challenging each week and aim to increase the load by no more than 10%. This can be done by: 

  • Timing a distance and gradually aiming to run faster over this distance eg, 8 x 1km timed 
  • Running further for a certain time eg, 5 x 5 mins and monitor distance 
  • Increasing number of sets of intervals over the 

Focus on proper technique. Good technique can make your running feel effortless and smooth. 

  • Keep you running cadence high (leg turn over speed), rather than increasing your stride length as this will help to keep your strike foot closer to beneath your body which avoids deceleration
  • Lean forward slightly to keep your centre of mass in front of you. This helps propel you forward and means less of a ‘bouncing up and down’ style
  • Keep your hips stable and in the same plane and your elbows bent at 90 degrees and tucked in close with a slight swinging action 
  • Have a friend film you run and watch it in slow motion to understand and analyse your running 

Injury prevention and maintenance: if you start to feel any niggles or pain, stop running and book in to see a physio to avoid developing a serious injury.

Strength training, especially ankle stability and calf strength can improve your running performance and prevent the risk of injury. Simple calf raises are a great way to improve your endurance. Aiming for 30 single leg calf raises in the peak of your fitness is a good measure.

  • Monitor your training progress
  • Plan your training week, don’t just go and out run as this may mean you don’t have a good variety in your sessions or you may not stick to your distance or pace goals
  • Record your sessions and also write down how you feel 
  • If you can, record your speed, distance and heart rate. This can be done using a smart device or monitor and a training app like strava, map my run, run keeper, nike + run etc

Mix up your training and keep it interesting 

  • Try changing your running location and head to the beach, park, stairs, trail run or even hill runs. 
  • Run with a friend or join a running squad. As a surf athlete, I love training in a group and pushing myself again the other athletes. 
  • Add in some cross training like swimming, Pilates or even basic core exercises. This will work other muscle groups, still improve your fitness and balance your body out, minimizing your chance of injury.

Make sure you hydrate well and eat after running. I like to drink Hydraltye Sports drinks throughout my training to replace any lost electrolytes. This enables me to recover well before my next session. 

Use the City to Surf as your motivator. On the days where you don’t feel like heading out for a run, think about your goal time, a friend you would like to beat, or even just making the distance  and… go for it!