IM Philippines 2018

Ironman Philippines 2018 – Another podium result and one step closer to Kona!

The 2018 edition of IM Philippines was the first time they have run the full distance event in the region. With over 1600 athletes lining up over the weekend, everyone was gearing up to tackle the weather and conditions that Subic Bay can deliver. The forecast was for temps in the high 30’s and standard maximum humidity! The locals and organisers have great passion, and this shined through on race day with so much support and a very well run event.

Beach start – sprinting into the 30deg water. Pic : MultisportPH

Race morning was the typical warm and humid temperatures as predicted, and the swim course was flat and calm. The male pro’s started 30mins after the 70.3 event, and we soon caught the back markers and dodged our way around the first loop. I had a good start, and managed to get a small gap by the first buoy – around 400m in. This gap grew steadily and through out the rest of the 3.8km swim leg I managed to build a lead of around 4mins heading into T1. This earned me the quickest swim of the day clocking just over 51mins. The water was close to 30deg, so we all had to be cautious not to push too hard early on. I found the swim pace was comfortable, and it was nice to be in control of the effort and not having to concentrate on chasing others or surging.

Transtion 1 was a 1km run from the sand to our bikes, and half of this was straight uphill.

Starting the bike with a nice lead. Pic : Anthony Yu

Out onto the bike, I held a steady lead throughout the first 70kms, and around this point Nick Baldwin and Freddie Lampret were starting to close the gap. We came together at the 100km mark, I stopped to grab my special needs bottle and the 2 of them got away on the long descent. I was happy to stick to my steady plan, and eventually caught up and passed Freddie again around 120km. Nick was riding strong, and cruised into T2 with a 5min lead. Cameron Brown was about 3mins back from me starting the run, so the pressure was on.

The weather on the bike was crazy – the first half was quite warm and humid as the sun was coming up, and then some black clouds rolled in. It started pouring down causing some surface flooding and the winds picked up for a solid headwind slog back into town.

This settled down again as we arrived into transition 2, and you could tell it was going to get warm again as the marathon was about to start.

All done in 3rd place. Pic : Anthony Yu

Nick and I were running a similar pace for the first 10kms or so, and Cam bridged up and came by me around the 12km mark. He was hovering around 1-2mins ahead for the next hour and we were all separated by less than 1min 45sec at about the 25km mark! I was feeling good and picked it up a bit, although Nick and Cam managed to lift also (I think we all were slowing down, but the effort was lifting!). Cam almost caught Nick although the final 10km really heated up and we stayed as it was through to the finish. Some great close racing all day!

 

1st place – Nick Baldwin      –        8:50

2nd place – Cameron Brown   –     8:56

3rd place – Simon Cochrane   –     8:58

 

Once again, my race plan didn’t involve power or pace targets, although in the heat I had some heart rate zones to keep an eye on – Heart rate doesn’t lie, and it’s a fine line between just right, and slightly too hard when racing in the heat. I managed to not walk one step in the marathon which was a pre-race goal and plan, I focused on steady pacing and grabbing water at each aid station on the fly. I handled the heat a lot better at this race and put this down to a very focused heat prep build up. Fire me a message if you are keen to hear how I did this, and if you need any help building up to some hotter races this season!

Podium presentation. Pic : AsiaTRI.com

It was a great event to be a part of and it was good to see so many kiwis over there racing – a nice change from the cold weather setting in back home! A big thanks to the events team who made us feel welcome all week and organised all the transfers / meetings seamlessly!

 

My sponsors and supporters are great as always, and are a huge part of my team that I couldn’t do with out!

CEEPO BICYCLES / ORCHARD GOLD / ST PIERRE’S SUSHI / SMITH OPTICS

 

Its always exciting and motivating knowing that so many people and family are tracking the race back home.

Talk soon,

 

Simon.

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman New Zealand – 2018

Training and racing had been going great over the summer and I was looking forward to lining up for my 27th Ironman race. (9th race at Ironman Taupo). I knew my form in each discipline had taken a step up and I was looking forward to executing a race I knew I had in me. I had decided prior to the race that I wouldn’t use a bike computer or run watch at all, as over the last couple of years of racing in the Professional field, it is a lot more clear that it is more about reacting to the race and other athletes, and less about a steady Time Trial effort. I knew my bike and run were good and that my internal pacing is usually spot on. Time to trust my body and the hard work form the previous months of training!

This year the weather was great, just some light winds and looking like a warm afternoon – we were set for a quick day!

Set for a nice fast day!

 

Goal for the swim : Strong start – nail the first 400m, make the front pack, and swim on feet to conserve energy.

This year I decided to start over to the left to have some clear water at the start. Dylan McNeice, Braden Currie and Callum Millward had a similar idea, although it was still well spaced out for us with most other Pro men cramped over by the right hand buoy. Had a strong start and after 200m or so we drifted right and ‘met up’ with the other quick swimmers who joined to make the front pack. I could see all of the swimmers I wanted to be with were there, and settled in for a great swim.

49min 11sec – 1:16/m pace

 

Goal for T1 : Hard running and quick out on to the bike.

Great transition, legs felt good and raced up the stairs, dumped wetsuit in the bag and off to bike, helmet on and out!  (2min 52sec)

Powering home over the last 20km. Pic by Bevan McKinnon

 

Goal for the bike : Start strong, and don’t be afraid to push the pace and follow some early moves. Position myself well in the front pack to make sure I don’t get dropped. 

This year the first section of the bike wasn’t quick at all, I was behind Mike Phillips and Braden, and no one was really looking to push too hard. The pace rolled on as we were caught by Cam Brown and Joe Skipper at the 45km turn and from there the tempo had definitely lifted. There were a few surges and I got strung off the back of the group a couple of times and hard to really fight to get back on. This is where I decided to go to the front and not drop back more than a couple of guys. Terenzo, Joe and Mike got away from the front group around 75km and managed to build a solid gap on the 2nd lap. I stayed near the front and felt great, lifting the effort during the last 20kms when I could tell everyone was getting a bit tired. I lead the group into T2 and was looking forward to the run. Great first race on my new Ceepo Viper-R, very comfortable position and could stay aero all day!

4hrs 31mins – 39.9km/h average. 

 

 

Goal for T2 : Smooth and controlled. 

Far from it! Ran into T2 and collected bag from the volunteer.. emptied bag and realized they had given me the wrong bag (cams bright orange shoes fell out instead of my green Sauconys). Had to run back and find my bag in the line up and then back to business. (1min 42sec)

 

Heading out on the run. Pic by Korupt Vision for Australian Triathlete Magazine

 

Goal for the run : Start strong and run the first lap by feel, dig deep during the last lap.

I found my self exiting transition just in front of Cam Brown, Callum Millward, and Dylan McNeice. Cam quickly bridged up to me and as he went to go past I decided to go with him and see how the pace felt. We were running around 3:40/km for the first 10km, and this was feeling great. The headwind back into town started to take its toll and around 11km I decided to ease back slightly and Cam carried on. (running a 2:41!) The second lap was tough but I just focused on getting some nutrition in and holding good form. As I turned in town for the final time (28km) I could see Dylan and Callum only a couple of mins back and looking strong. I really wanted to finish strong so decided to keep pushing and not look back. I got back into a good rhythm, and picked the pace up slightly for a strong finish.

2hrs 56mins – 4:11/km pace

Final push for home. Great shot from Mitch Buckley

 

 

Overall – 8hrs 21mins – 7th Professional Male. 

 

Massive thanks to my sponsors, family and supporters.  I couldn’t do this sport with out you. And to my wife Larisa, who at the time of me writing this is 6 days over due with our first child. Your support over the Ironman weekend was amazing and I am excited for the next big event!

My athletes looking nice and relaxed the day before the race!

My Coached athletes also had a great day out, and it was awesome to be able to get out on course after I was done to cheer them home! Its been great watching them all progress in the build up and I really enjoy the process of customising the specific plan for each athletes goals!

I have a few spots left for coaching new athletes, so get in touch via my contact form or email simon@simoncochrane.net to chat about some options!

Happy training, and talk soon!

 

2018 Port of Tauranga Half Ironman

 

The Tauranga Half Ironman is a favourite race for many kiwi athletes to kick off the new year with. It is usually a nice warm summers day with great crowd support, a fast bike, and a challenging run!

 

Pilot Bay – Swim course with Mount Maunganui in the background

 

The forecast this year was for wind and rain, although as race day dawned the sun was out and we were in for a scorcher, along with some stiff winds out on the course.

The start went well for me, but I found my self in no-mans land behind the quick front pack of 6 guys (including eventual 1st and 2nd place finishers Dylan McNeice and Mike Phillips), but well ahead of the main group behind. Exiting 1min down from the front, it was going to be a tough task to reel in the group of 6 on my own.

(Swim split – 26:35) – 1:20/100m pace

 

Swim exit caught by Mark Robotham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got settled in to a solid rhythm on my bike and was joined by Cam Brown and Dan Plews around the 30km mark. The pace was on as we pushed hard right back to T2. The front group had splintered, and guys were dropping off over the final stages into the headwind.

(Bike split – 2:11) – 41km/h Average

Flying out of T2 trying to keep Cam Brown in sight

 

 

 

A brutal pace set by Cam Brown out onto the run course had Dan and I on the ropes, although we had now moved up into 4th and 5th place on the road. A battle with Dan around the base track and newly installed stair section each lap was where I managed to gain a bit of time and run in for a strong finish in 4th place. Very happy with my form leading into Ironman NZ in 6 weeks time.

(Run split – 1:21) – 3:47/km Average

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman New Zealand + Ironman Australia

 

These two Iconic races are the longest running Ironman events down this end of the world, with each of them having had their 30th anniversaries within the last couple of years – there is a lot of history and that is why they have such a great turnout of competitors and spectators come race day! They both have very passionate communities with locals who embrace the event and show massive support on the day!

 

The swim courses couldn’t be more different  – Taupo with the crisp crystal clear lake and straight forward course, to Port Macquarie’s warm murky salt water zigzagging its way through the yachts and with an interesting mid swim exit climb up over some stairs and a weir – but the bike and run have a lot of similarities – a rough rolling bike course and a multi-lap flat run with a few short hills. This year both of the Professional fields were stacked full of very quick guys and multiple Ironman Champions, as the Asia Pacific Champs at Melbourne had been cancelled – these were the 2 races that were the next closest in the schedule and location wise.

Lake Taupo on a mint day!
Lake Taupo on a mint day!

 

Below is a brief rundown of how both of these races went and the progression in my training and racing over the last season!

 

Ironman New Zealand.

I have made great gains in my swim over the last year and was looking forward to positioning myself right in the mix, rather than chasing from the word go! – this showed through with a personal best swim of 48:30 and I was comfortable leading out the chase pack.

You always know you are in good company and setting up a solid race when you are no further than 50m away from the legend himself Cam Brown for the first 4.5hrs of the race! We worked bloody hard in the first 45 kms and managed to bridge right up to the guys at the front of the race who had exited the water a few minutes ahead of us. The ride was another personal best for me – clocking 4hr 32mins. Just shy of a 40km/hr average on those Taupo roads is quick going by any ones standards – Unless your name is Dougal Allen who posted an impressive new bike course record of 4hr 22mins!

Mr and Mrs Cochrane's bikes ready to go!
Mr and Mrs Cochrane’s bikes ready to go at IMNZ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ScottieTPhoto - great shot out on course!
#ScottieTPhoto – great shot out on course!

Getting off the bike after the big effort for 180kms, I was pleased to still be able to execute a well paced marathon of 3hr 3mins and run my way in to 9th place with a time of 8hrs 28mins.

 

The recovery after a big race is now getting better and quicker after each one – I think the body is now used to backing up the big training blocks and the Ironman race day isn’t too much of a shock to the system. The week after Ironman New Zealand was spent in Rarotonga for our honeymoon and was such good timing to enjoy some downtime in the sun and nice food!

Epic week in Rarotonga for our honeymoon!
Epic week in Rarotonga for our honeymoon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman Port Macquarie was next on the cards and training ramped right back up to get ready for this one.

 

 

Ironman Port Macquarie

I knew the swim pace at the front of this race was going to be furious as the level and depth of top notch swimmers even out did the one’s at Taupo. Once again – after the initial 500m max sprint, I had found myself at the front of the first chase pack and was quite comfortable and happy to lead the way through the inlet and canal swim. Sighting was very important and I stuck to my line and this helped pick up a couple of others who had drifted off the back of the fish up the front. Exiting in 46:50, this was a new PB although was still 2:30 back from the front of the race – showing how important the swim in an Ironman race is.

Swim exit at IM Port Mac
Swim exit at IM Port Mac

 

 

I had made the decision to ride slightly less aggressive than at Taupo, as the 2nd lap of the bike is where guys really feel the pinch as the wind picks up and the rough roads start to take their toll. I managed to negative split the 2nd lap of the bike by 20seconds although in hindsight I probably should have attacked the first lap a bit harder. Off the bike in 4hr 45mins but this was a bit too far back to make decent inroads to the guys heading on to the run.

Posting one of the quickest marathons of the day – 3rs flat – was enough to bridge up and pass a few guys, but I didn’t execute the run I know I am capable of.  I crossed the line in 6th place in a time of  8hrs 36mins  

 

 

IM OZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This season has given me a lot more confidence. Each and every race has stepped up and the consistent improvement is still heading in the right direction. Each discipline is even across the board and now I am only a small percentage off the front of some big races and am looking forward to challenging the podium in the upcoming events as I continue to build and lay down the blocks in the long term plan. I am still learning at each and every race and now feel like I can RACE the full 8.5hrs right at threshold, and will keep pushing the boundaries – its exciting to see how far the body, and MIND can go!

 

 

A massive thanks must go out to my team of sponsors and supporters! Every one of you make a huge difference and keep me striving to perform week in and week out – and to my athletes that I coach, I am still learning something each race to give back the knowledge and experience that I have absorbed through out the last 22 Ironman races.

 

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 Instagram – @CochraneSimon

Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

 

Embrace the winter of training – Consistency is key!

Cheers,

Simon.

 

P.S – fire me a message if you want to talk about some coaching options – now is the perfect time to get committed for the summer season…. not 2 weeks before it starts 🙂

Sponsors

 

 

 

Ironman Japan 2015 – 3rd Place

 

‘Climate’ & ‘Climb-it’ are the 2 main themes for Ironman Japan!

 

Ironman Japan has always been a race venue high up on my list. The rural and scenic location of quiet Lake Toya sets the scene for a picturesque and easy race. Yea right!

Lake Toya
Lake Toya on a nice clear day!

 

It is one of the hardest Ironman race courses around the world. Starting with a beautiful and clear, warm lake swim, the ride takes you around the lake and into the mountains for 2800m of vertical climbing,  up to 15% grade in a few spots before descending down into the valley to start the marathon. A hot and humid run winds its way up a long and steep gravel off road track for the first section, before a 4km straight down hill back to the lake side. The final run back into town rolls along the road with the final stretch of lakeside path to the finish line. Add in the heat, humidity, rain and wind – it was an adventure!

Japan Bike elevation
Bike course elevation chart – perfect warm up for a marathon!

 

I was super excited to race as training had been tracking nicely over the last few winter months. I flew in just a couple of days prior and adjusted well to the warm weather and high humidity. We found out pretty early that the lake was fairly warm and that the pro wetsuit cut off temp of  21.9deg was likely.

5am on race morning the water temp measured 23.5deg, so the call was made and the swim skin went on. This would even out the field and show up some of the weaker swimmers that wouldn’t be getting the benefit of added buoyancy.

Lake Toya 2
Crystal clear warm water

Swim –  I had a great start and went right to the front after 400m or so and had the Brazilian Thiago Vinhal right with me. It continued this way, getting a Brazilian foot massage for 3.8kms while we put nearly 4mins into the rest of the Pro men. I was first out in 51mins,had the quickest transition and lead out onto the bike with over a 1min lead on Thiago and 4mins over the 2nd swim pack.

IM Japan - Simon Cochrane Bike
One of many hills

Bike –   The first section around the lake was flat and fast. I had to stay controlled and not get too excited with the lead motorbike and media bikes around, knowing that I had a big day in the saddle ahead of me! I flew through the first 20kms in under 40mins and fuelled up before the first of many hill climbs were to begin.

That was the last of any flat section, the rest of the 180km loop consisted of long climbs, shorts steep climbs, false flats and awesome fast descents. Seeing the big ‘Black bear warning’ signs was quite amusing, and I was just hoping they were still in hibernation mode. A few foxes ran across the road in front of me and also a Japanese local reversed out while I was heading down the quickest section of the course! I managed to swerve around the back of him as there was no chance of braking – checked my speedo afterwards and was ticking along just shy of 90km/hr!

The rest of the ride was less eventful, I was passed by 3 riders just before the long 18km climb and decided to stick to my own plan and not go with them. The steepest little section was about 5kms before T2 and the 5min ‘out of the saddle’ effort made sure that your legs had been totally fried before the marathon starts! Into transition in 4th, 5mins behind 3rd and 10mins back from the front two.

Simon Cochrane - IM Japan run
Final stretch along the cobbles

Run –  Straight off the bike you could tell the temp was getting up, every step was getting more and more humid as I started running down for the first couple of kms into the gulley. This only became hotter as the road turned into straight uphill gravel trail for another 3kms. Steadily gaining time on the front guys and feeling strong, I just stuck to my plan of running an even paced marathon. Aid stations were between 3 and 5kms apart so making sure you got what you needed at each one was very important. I passed  3rd place at about 15kms and he was obviously paying for his over zealous riding. I had to make a pitstop at 25kms and never look forward to a hot portaloo but when you gotta go.. Opened the door to find a ‘squat style’ Japanese toilet and could only laugh to myself. Just what you feel like doing half way through an Ironman marathon! The last part of the race winded its way around the coast before and out and back section on the lake front. It was good to see all the supporters and also how close the front 2 guys were. I had made up some time although all 3 of our run slits were within 1 minute of each other.

 

What a challenging course,  talking to everyone after the race, there was a fairly overwhelming conclusion that this was the hardest Ironman course around. After 20 Ironman races I can definitely say that also!

It was a great week hanging out with a few Kiwis and the group travelling with the Tri-travel crew, awesome celebrations with some great Japanese food and a few Asahi’s!

Kiwis at Japan
Kiwis in Japan
Awards Japan
Great food and beer!

 

 

Massive thanks to my parents for making the trip over, and to all my supporters and sponsors back home – I have a couple of weeks off now before I plan out the NZ season. Summer is not far away! The next big event for Larisa and I is our wedding in November!  The #dreamteam will be official. Lots to look forward to, and exciting to see the results improving each race. Very happy with a solid season and keen to start the next one refreshed and rearing to go!

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

Ironman Cairns 2015

Humid and rainy was the theme when we flew into Cairns last week. Tropical rainstorms and the rough sea’s were starting to bring back everyone’s memories of the rainy 2014 race. The last few weeks at home had been getting a lot colder so it was a slight shock to the body when we landed and only had a couple of days to adjust before the race. Luckily Sunday stayed fairly dry compared to the tropical wet weather we had been experiencing, and I enjoyed battling the tougher swim conditions and windy ride!

Cairns coast
Cairns coast on a calm day!
Pre race
Quickest couple on the day – Larisa was 7th in the Pro women’s field!

Larisa and I were looked after by a great home stay family and it was nice to have a relaxing place to hang out, an awesome full kitchen to utilize, a coffee machine, massive area for working on our bikes and a nice pool. Plenty of Kiwis had taken up the chance to escape the start of winter and head over for a nice warm race, so was good to catch up with some people at a selection of some great coffee spots.

This year the course had a few small changes, but still consisted of  

Diving in for the beach start
Diving in for the beach start

3.8km Swim –  at Palm Cove – Super choppy and murky warm water made for a tough swim, difficult to sight the bouys, (and the crocs!) we also had a beach exit at the half way mark. All good fun!

 

 

180km Bike – up to Port Douglas twice and then back into Cairns – Great scenery up the coast and a nice battle with some windy parts, especially the last section of a solid headwind back into town.

 

Cairns bike 2

42.2km Run – 3 laps of the wharf and waterfront – Different surfaces to break it up,  Tarseal, concrete, and the wooden wharf. Awesome crowd support and great volunteers at the aid stations.

Cairns finish2

 

 

Quick run down of my day:

Swim – The swim played out just as I planned. I knew the pace at the start would be fast with the likes of Dylan McNeice, Luke McKenzie and James Cunama in the field. I had a strong start and upped the effort after the initial 400m sprint to move up onto James Cunama’s feet at the front of the first pack. It was a comfortable speed and I moved round to the front at around the 1.5km mark. The big swim sessions back home were paying off as I carried on pushing the pace and exited in 3rd place around 40 secs ahead of the front pack including James Cunama and Cam Brown. 49 minutes in those conditions is a great confidence boost knowing that there is still so much improvement to come in the pool.

Bike – A few of the strong bikers came by early on and tried to bridge the gap to Luke and Dylan up the road. I settled into my pace and it was a fast trip up over the hills and in to Port Douglas. The solid tailwind on the way out meant one thing – Big headwind on the way back towards Cairns each lap! The wind was building so the goal was to stay as aero as possible and keep the power on. A nice even effort for the whole ride meant I passed a few guys that had blown up and entered T2 back at Cairns in 5th place.

Run – Out onto the Cairns board walk and pushing hard through the first 4 km out and back section, I had moved up to around 2 mins from 4th place, but that was as close as I would get to him today. A steady final 2 laps solidified my 5th place. Happy to have another top-5 result in a big international Ironman event.

Cairns finish2

 

 

 

Cairns finish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great event in a nice part of the world, looking forward to heading back again – cant possibly be wet for the 4th year in a row can it..?!

 

Big thanks to my supporters and sponsors! Onwards and upwards – A big 2015/2016 season coming up – planning out the remainder of the year and will keep you updated!

Simon.

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

2014 – Ironman Western Australia – 6th Place

 

 

What a week in Busselton for Ironman Western Australia! Great times, with great people.. Would be the most relaxed and confident I have been going into a big race. Staying with my family, coach and other athletes is always a risk for a stressful race week.. But was exactly the opposite, plenty of good banter, joking around and red wine were to set the tone for a well balanced taper week and prep!

Iconic Busselton Jetty – best swim course, all the way out and around!

 

The morning I was to fly out of Auckland didn’t go exactly to plan.. A couple of early Personal Training sessions with my clients ended with a 6kg dumbbell rolling off a bench onto my little toe! A swollen and bruised broken toe would usually send the mind into a ball of stress 5 days out from your first key race of the season, but as soon as I mentioned it to my coach – I was told not to mention it again and to trust the fitness and prep that had already been done.. This meant a cruiser taper week than I am used to, without any running, and limited cycling.. Hopefully this would help me freshen up and allow my toe some time to repair!

Just before race start

Just before race start

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Race day rolled round and was set for a nice hot fast day!

A super strong field of over 30 international Pro men lined up for the beach start, and set off into the warm Western Australian waters. 50mins later I exited the 3.8km swim at the front of the 2nd pack leading Josh Rix and Matty White up the beach into T1, (after my little toe had been nicely tapped around 1000 times by the large 2nd pack trailing me.)

Out into the flat and fast Busselton Highway for the 2 lap 180km cycle, I stuck to my game plan – rode to my power and enjoyed a steady solo ride averaging just shy of 39km/h. Awesome flat roads,  with 11 U-turns break up the aero position quite nicely.. It started to warm up during the 2nd lap and by the time we hit T2 the sun was beating down and a few guys out front were cracking already!

Running a marathon on it should fix it!
Running a marathon on it should fix it!

 

I took my time in transition as I used slightly wider shoes and regular laces to avoid any extra aggravation.

Within the first lap (of 4) I had moved from 15th off the bike into 11th place, steadily gaining on some fading runners up ahead. By the 3rd and 4th lap there were runners everywhere making it hard to know where the guys up ahead were.. But I kept my steady pace up as others were falling off, concentrating on keeping my fluids up and my leg turnover high.. I ran through to 6th place and secured a personal best time and a pay check!

Running strong - gaining 9 places over the marathon!
Running strong – gaining 9 places over the marathon!

 

 

Personal best time : 

8hrs 36min

Swim – 50min  

 Bike – 4hrs 37min

 Run – 3hrs 3min

 

Big thanks to all my supporters, my parents and sister for flying over,  to Jon for the great company and accommodation, and Al for keeping us in check and relaxed. Larisa’s support from back home in NZ was huge – kept everyone up to date and was tracking from start to finish!

 

 

 

A big part of this success is my sponsors support also, Jason from Orchard Gold, Nick from St Pierre’s, Jason from Endura,  Mike from Shoe Science and the team at Timex. You all play a massive role.

Consistently improving results are a great confidence boost, a big improvement over the winter months and I’m ready to step it up again in the lead up to the NZ summer season! Firstly a couple of easier weeks and to enjoy Xmas with family and friends.

 

Happy training and keep safe out there!

 

 

3rd place at Challenge Penticton!

Leading into this race, everything just seemed to be clicking.. Consistently ticking off all my sessions and a great 2 week trip in Australia for a training camp – the body was feeling great. Not only the body but more importantly also the mind! After my disappointing DNS at Port Mac with food poisoning, I was super determined to kick off this new season with a bang.

Arriving in Penticton after a long travel day, my amazing homestay Kelly picked me up from the airport and helped me to settle in to the awesome little town, showing me the sights and setting me up with a great place to stay. The week before any race is such an important time and having this relaxed atmosphere was really helping me prepare the best I could. It was nice to be able to prepare all my own meals and to do exactly what I needed to be ready come race day! Another Pro athlete Elmar and his partner Jen were also staying with us, they were great to hang out with, had alot of experience racing here and were also super helpful leading into the race.

Simon - Jen - Elmar
penticton-landscape1

Arriving 8 days before the race allowed me to get over my jet lag and gave me enough time to have a good look over the course.. The 3.8km swim was in the crystal clear warm waters of Okanagan lake, the iconic one-loop 180km bike took you out through the scenic terrain including the vineyards, lakes and mountain passes before you ran the 42.2km one-loop marathon out and back along Skaha lake finishing straight down Main street packed with supporters.

My coach Allan Pitman had wanted me to have a really easy taper week and go in feeling ‘fresh’! Usually when you back the training right off,  the body can start to feel lethargic – although this time was different. I think because my mindset was very positive going into this race I didn’t allow any negative thoughts in and just went with the flow. Allan had wanted me to be confident and focused, all his last email had said was ‘time to lay it on the line’ .  

 

 

penticton - swim course

Race morning dawned and the glassy lake looked inviting.. 1hr prior to the starters gun an announcement was made that the Pro’s wouldn’t be allowed to wear wetsuits as the lake was over the 23deg cut-off. Alot of the field were freaking out as a non-wetsuit lake swim makes it alot tougher and exposes some of the weaker swimmers who gain the added buoyancy that a wetsuit provides. I wasn’t phased , but didn’t have a swimskin with me.. (in the 31 previous races here it had always been a wetsuit swim) so decided that I would tape up the rear pockets on my trisuit and that would be fine. 10 mins before the start an age-group lady overhead me talking to Elmar about the swim skin issue and offered me hers. Tried it on and felt great, and rushed down to the start for a quick warm up. The water felt surprisingly cold but that soon changed as the gun went off, and I was hanging onto the front pack of 4 guys, I had a great start and was tucked in behind a couple of ex-itu guys leading the way. At around the 1km mark I slightly lost touch with the group and couldn’t quite close the gap back down – so ended up swimming entirely solo back in to the beach – 2.5mins down on the top 4 but still 3mins ahead of the whole 2nd pack. Was a nice swim but could feel the extra energy used without the assistance of the wetsuit, I came out in 5th place in 56min. Happy with that as the swim was around 200m long, and I was well ahead of some guys who would usually be up with me.

Swim - T1

For the first 40kms of the bike my legs just wouldn’t seem to fire, a few guys rode up and went past – I had to let them go and concentrate on my race. The course is fairly flat and fast for the first 65km and I was joined by my home-stay mate Elmar  and he was riding well – we pushed on before we got into the first of many hills – Richter Pass. It was here that the group of 4 behind us bridged up , and the 6 of us would stay together until the special needs station at the 120km mark.  Myself and another athlete Matt Lawrence had a small 15sec gap at this stage and this was the decisive point in the race.. I could ride with theses guys back to transition or I can ‘lay it on the line’ and aim to break away and limit the time that the top group of 6 were gaining before the run starts. Matt was keen and  we paced it out for the next 10km and got out of sight. I was feeling much better and heading up Yellow lake climb Matt was dropping off. I was committed now and kept the power on for the charge back to T2. Such a fun, fast descent topping out at just over 90km/h and getting back to transition on the quest to improve on my 7th place position.

Challenge - bike profile

The first section of the run course is a 2km out and back along the lake side, the top 6 guys had already completed that section before I ran out of transition so I knew that I was at least 8mins down off the bike. This was confirmed as i ran by some spectators who said there was a group of 3 guys 9mins ahead and then the others were further up. Time to ‘lay it on the line’ and start chasing. The 18km of road out to the turn around had an awesome scenic view but today also had a nice strong head wind to contend with. It was a quiet empty road out there but I was getting heaps of encouragement from the spectators and a few time splits which were coming down consistently..  This kept the motivation high especially when I got to see the guys ahead and how they were looking – Jeff Symonds ran past looking strong way out in front then the other 5 guys were evenly spread, and each one behind was looking a little worse for wear, the heat and wind was taking its toll. I passed 2 guys at the turn around and moved into 5th place. More time splits came and 4th place was 6 minutes ahead, I was still feeling great and just kept the steady pace on and was easily closing the gap through the hilly section. At this stage I was already happy as a ‘top 5 ‘ finish would be my best result so far, and was content to just be careful and made sure I got to the finish.. That thought lasted for all of 20 seconds and my effort increased as I hunted down the man in 4th place.

Challenge run

 

The wind had shifted round and some how was a headwind again, in a strange way I was happy as I knew I was running stronger than the guys ahead and they would be hurting more than I was..  I moved up into 4th place at around 30kms and got another time check at 34km – still 4mins up to Andrew Russell – 8 kms and 4mins.. not very likely but still pressed on. The last long uphill section before you get back into town drags on a bit, although catching a glimpse of Andrew up in the distance helped the intense leg pain ease and I once again upped the pace. A podium finish was becoming more of a reality as I edged closer and closer and finally made the pass with under 1.5km to go. I didn’t look back and pushed hard right to the line just as it was ticking over 8hrs 50mins. A personal best and also 2nd quickest marathon of the day with a 2:57:00.

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I was blown away by all the support from family and friends back home –  during, and after the race. Larisa’s updates were much appreciated as the time difference in NZ wasn’t ideal ! It makes a huge difference and you can really draw on that when you approach tough times throughout the race.

The perfect trip away for me, great weather, awesome race course, got to meet so many cool people, my first podium result over the Iron-distance and received my biggest pay check so far!  What a way to kick off the 2014 / 2015 Season. Exciting times ahead!

MomentsUnderFrame-88

 

Thanks to my sponsors for all their support :

Orchard Gold Berries, Endura Sports Nutrition, Orca, Saucony, Forge Personal Training, Rocktape, Smith Optics, Timex, Compressport,  Schwalbe and Ministry of Swimming

 

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

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 Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

Running – Benefits of a faster cadence

Run - Cadence

Running – Cadence (number of steps you take per minute)

“An athlete with perfect technique will always perform better than an equal athlete with poor technique”

 

Today we take a quick look at running Cadence.

How to check your cadence: Warm up for 5mins and then get running at your ideal race pace, count how many times your right foot hits the ground in a 60seconds. Double that number and you have your steps per minute (cadence)

 

If you are frequently injured or feel inefficient, gradually increasing your step rate (which in turn decreases your stride length) by five to 10 percent may help you run more economically while lowering your risk of injury.

A longer stride causes runners to extend their legs more, landing with a foot strike in front of the body creating a braking effect. This not only slows you down but can increase the risk of injuries by increasing the vertical loading pressure on the lower leg muscles and joints.

Increasing your cadence can also help with the overall metabolic cost of running. You are a lot more efficient when you are moving forward, the more that the body moves ‘up and down’ the more energy it will take you to run.

Focusing on some running drills and technique can help you with the transition into a slightly faster cadence. There isn’t a perfect cadence that suits everybody – but most people out there would benefit from a slight increase and might be pleasantly surprised at the added performance benefits that come their way.

 

Most common benefits may include:

–         Improved forward momentum

–         Less effort

–         Increased speed

–         Lighter ground impact

–         Less injuries

So have a go at upping the cadence – it might just be that key you need to unlock your next level of running!

 

Contact Simon for Triathlon and run coaching – simon@simoncochrane.net

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