Why is this the year for you to take on Ironman?
I’ve always been obsessed with Ironman. I’ve read pretty much every single book on Ironman races and I’ve watched and re-watched all the Ironman World Championship coverage. So I always knew that one day I will do my first Ironman and this year is the year.
The major objective this year was to compete at the 70.3 World Championship. Unfortunately, I couldn’t race at 70.3 Puerto Rico because my flight was cancelled and had to DNF at 70.3 Texas due to a back injury. My coach and I decided therefore decided to put an X on the 70.3 World Championship and to try to find another big objective for the season. To be honest, I was really disappointed having to DNF at 70.3 Texas and having to stop trying to qualify for the World Championship. It took me a long time to find the motivation to train and push myself every single day and I knew I needed a big goal to find the motivation. That’s when I decided to race Ironman Mont-Tremblant.
You’ll likely be one of the youngest men on the pro start line this August. While most pros take on the full distance later in their career, why have you decided to take a different approach?
Triathletes like Cameron Brown (44 years old) and Jake Montgomery (22 years old) are the proof that age is just a number. Obviously, as I get older my endurance will improve and I will get better at Ironman races but I’ve always known that I’m better at longer races. The key is to not “over-do it” at the beginning and try to make up for my lack of endurance.
My goal is still to get a podium in a 70.3 race next year. Therefore, my coach and I will continue to work on my speed and strength. We believe this is key to continue to improve in 70.3 races and most importantly to be able to have a long career. I want to be able to race Ironmans in my late thirties, so I need to be smart to be able to stay healthy.
How do you think full distance will play to your advantages?
I consider myself a good swim/biker and it’s possible to podium and even win Ironman races with a good swim/bike combination and a decent run. I’m obviously working a lot on my run but I believe that swimming and biking will probably always be my strongest sports. We also found out with lactate tests and by how I respond to training, that I’m suited to go at a steady pace for a long period of time and I have difficulty pushing big watts for a short period of time. When I was racing ITU races, my friends would say that I’m a diesel because I can’t go super fast for a short period of time but I can go fast for a really long period of time.
There was no doubt in my mind that Ironman Mont-Tremblant would be my first Ironman. I live less than 45 min from the race site and train there often. It’s really special to race at home and the course is really spectator friendly and I know I’ll need people cheering for me as I start my second lap on the run. IMMT 70.3 was also my first pro race and it is by far my favourite race. I also think that the bike course suits me well; it’s fast but challenging at the same and it’s not too technical.
What are your goals for the race?
I want to race a smart race and be able to run a strong marathon. I’ve had issues pacing myself in 70.3 races before, but now it would be even more important. When I see myself crossing the finish line in my dreams I see myself going 8:45 but I think that for my first Ironman, sub-9 is already a big objective. However, I simply want to cross the finish line knowing that I raced a smart race and that I gave everything I had.
How do you expect your result to stack up next to your 70.3 results?
I think my results in Ironman races will probably be better than in 70.3s but it will probably take me some time to get used to the distance. To be honest, there’s so many unknowns that it’s difficult to know how well I’ll respond to Ironman training and how well I can race for a full Ironman. But the unknown is what excites me and motivates me to train.