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.

 MomentsUnderFrame-12

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  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 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

– www.facebook.com/SimonCochraneIronman

– twitter.com/CochraneSimon

2014 Ironman New Zealand

 

 

Taupo is such an awesome place to be for Ironman week, the community really gets behind the event and it had an extra special feel this year as Ironman New Zealand was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the  race. Because it was such a big year, this attracted the strongest field that Taupo has ever seen including 25 Male pro’s with over 11 past Ironman champions, 2 Olympians and most of NZ’s top Ironman competitors! It was going to be a great race and I was looking forward to testing myself against some top-class athletes.

You couldn’t have asked for better weather come race morning, crisp clear sky’s and a warm calm lake greeted us as the sun rose, cold conditions on the first lap of the bike with a light wind that built over the day making the return bike leg a little more challenging. By the afternoon the sun was out but the nice breeze kept the temperature fairly cool for the run.

 Swim - waka

Swim - waka

Swim

The cannon fired and the washing machine started, I had an average start and ended up getting spat out to the far left of the pack, and struggled to get into my groove for the first 400m or so. I regathered myself and got back into a nice rhythm swimming the remainder of the swim just behind the 2nd pack with Brodie Madgewick. Exiting in 51 mins I was quite pleased as it had felt quite slow. Quick run up to T1 , arm warmers on and out onto the bike in 11th.

swim split – 51 mins

swim exit

                  photo credit : Mike Robinson          
 
 
                                                   

Bike

The first hour or so on the road was a bit chilly, you really looked forward to the sunny bits in between the trees and could feel the day slowly heating up on the way out to Reporoa. A pack of 8-10 guys had formed as we made the first turn at 45kms, but only a couple of guys would come to the front and do any work! This was how it played out for the first 4hrs.. So after towing the group around for 120km I decided that I was going to push on into the last uphill section and make the others work a bit more coming into T2. This worked well as the group was down to 3 as we arrived back in town. I was happy to sit on the front for most of the day as I could keep to my goal pace and power and arrived in T2 feeling much better than last year having ridden a nice consistent power over the entire 180kms.

bike split –  5:04

 

bike imnz 2014

 photo credit : Speed Theory

 

Run

Exiting out onto the run with Johan Borg, we ran together for the first 20kms feeling great. We had bridged the gap up to Petr Vabrusek and ran together for the next few kms. He surged and I dropped back first and noticed at the turn that Johan was starting to slow aswell. After I picked up my special needs bag – my energy had picked up a level and my run form started to improve again. I finished strong over the last 10kms, picked off Johan and pushed through into the Top-10 by the finish. The new run course is great, and running back along the lake-shore path is a nice change and keeps it interesting.

run split – 3:03

Run - lap 1 - IMNZ

photo credit : First off the bike.com

Finish Time – 9:05

It was an impressive display put on by Marko Albert to take the win and was great to see Cameron Brown storming home and showing that he is still on top of his game!

I am very pleased with my Top-10 result and was the 4th Kiwi home in this world-class field.  It was great to have so much support from family and friends all along the course, I think the spectators were spread out alot more on the run course this year which makes a huge difference, no spots to hide and keeps the motivation strong all day! Awesome volunteers and aid-stations made for a issue-free race.

A huge congrats to Larisa for her 7th place finish on her Professional debut, I bet alot of the girls will have taken notice and will be keeping a closer eye on her now!

My 13th Ironman completed, now time to sit down and plan out the big year ahead – exciting times!

 

 

Thanks to my sponsors for their support this season :

Orchard Gold – Tri n Run – Saucony – Endura

Smith Optics – Rock Tape – Ministry of Swimming

The Swim Clinic – PRV – Schwalbe – Timex