There was a time when I would interview runners regularly for this blog (click HERE to read past interviews). Recently, I decided to start doing them again. We all can learn a thing or two from the experience of other runners and draw inspiration from their achievements.
This week, I interviewed 15-time Ironman and 8th place Ultraman World Champ Dan Brown. Read on…
Name: Dan Brown
Years running: My whole life. Competitive running for 12 years
Years into triathlon: 10 years
Accomplishments: 15x Ironman Triathlon, 8th place Ultraman World Championships (Swim 10k, Bike 476k Run 84.4k), Australian Half Ironman (70.3) Champion
How and when did you get into running? Triathlon?
I have always had a passion for running. I love how free it makes you feel and how your body feels when you run. When I was young my grandpa called me the ‘running machine’. For triathlon I was particularly impressed by how ‘fit’ a few of my friends seemed who did tri’s and when I found out about the distances of 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42.2k run I was like ‘thats crazy! But at the same time I was thinking ‘I want to do it!’ From there my training got a bit more serious and then it got a LOT more serious! haha.
When did you start coaching athletes? Can you tell us about your background as a coach?
I worked as a P.E teacher in a school for 3 years and did a lot of athletics with children. I began coaching them at track and for cross country. I studied level 2 middle distance running and also did my Cert 3 strength and conditioning study and began working with athletes in the gym also (Yes I used to have a bigger upper body than I do now!). Later on when I got into tri’s I started my own studio called ‘The next step running and endurance coaching’ and worked with adult athletes doing running technique analysis on treadmills and also altitude training simulation. Around this time I started doing online coaching and programming for running and triathlon which I still continue today.
If I were to hire you as my running coach, how would you train me for a marathon?
I look to look into the way an athlete lives, their business commitments, sleep hours, family time, goals, etc and try to work out the best way to remove certain barriers they may have to success. If someone is under a lot of stress etc they will likely not absorb the training as effectively as someone else due to poorer recovery so they may need need less volume and more quality in their weekly programming.
I like to look at nutrition also. Often a big factor inhibiting growth as an athlete is poor nutrition. This often sabotages good running intentions and consistency.
In terms of training distances I generally don’t like really long runs and prefer more quality workouts in the week as opposed to covering extreme distances. No one says you have to run 35k before a marathon in order to run successfully. In Ironman triathlon you don’t go out and do a 9-16 hour training day just to prove to yourself that you can, save that for race day!
Often these long runs can lead to injury. The longer you run the more your form and position will fall apart and the more prone you are to injury. Also, if you train slow, then train slow, then train slow then you will race slow! In general I prefer more consistent, frequent quality runs to make up the volume required to excel.
I coach athletes primarily through online coaching and usually try to meet with each athlete or do a session with them every week or couple of weeks wherever possible. The programmes are specific to each individual as outlined above and change regularly depending on goal races etc. My athletes regularly email me questions, talk on the phone, or skype also to get the most out of it. From Jan, I will do a regular track session or road run each week.
You were based in Australia, what were the events that led you to making Manila now your home? How are you liking the running and triathlon community here?
I had been travelling a lot and competing in Asia and Europe in triathlon races and returned home to Australia to a very serious back injury which I carried for a long time. I tore the L5 S1 disk in my back and for the first 4 weeks I couldn’t walk, lie down and was being assisted even to the CR! At this time I realized I needed a change. I have travelled a lot to Asia and thought I may try getting a job as a national coach of a triathlon team. Things moved fast and I ended up as coach of the Philippine team for 2010 and 2011. The endurance sport community is growing fast here and it is exciting to be involved in coaching, competing, events and elite sport development at the moment.
While a lot of people know you are into triathlon, not too many know that you are into marathons and into ultramarathons. What is it that you love about marathons? Ultramarathons?
My first love is running, as I outlined above before so I really love all forms and distances. I ran an 84k ultramarathon on day 3 of the Ultraman race in Hawaii and loved it. I ran the first the marathon in 3.08 and ran the same pace for the next 10k before my ITB tore and I had to do a lot of walking/suffering for the last section! At the end my left quad was twice as big as my right! Anyway despite that I loved the experience, felt great throughout (the running part) and will likely move into doing some events like that in the next couple of years. The Ultramarathon is one of the toughest events mentally you can do and that is probably why I will be drawn to it further as time goes on.
Can you give us a glimpse of your weekly training schedule?
I will race as a professional in triathlon events in 2012 so I am already preparing my body for my first race of the season which is Ironman 70.3 Sri Lanka on Feb 18. My weekly training hours are usually between 22-32 hours. It could be more or less depending on the distance I am preparing for.
Without giving too much away a basic week may look like.
- Mon-AM easy bike PM easy swim
- Tues-AM Long run PM focus Swim
- Wed-Long Bike/Interval run off bike, PM gym
- Fri-AM Interval bike PM Swim
- Sat-Long bike/run off bike PM short run
- Sun Long run/interval PM rec swim
How’s married life with Ironwoman Ani de Leon and life as a new father to Dash?
I feel so lucky to come to this country and meet Ani. She is an amazing lady in so many ways! She and I just knew immediately that we were meant for each other so subsequently things have moved fast and now we have a beautiful little boy Dash Daniel Brown born on Nov 29, 2011.
COACH DAN BROWN
Facebook- Dan Brown