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Jordan Monnink on the training behind his break-out Ironman debut

The Ottawa-based pro breaks down the training that went into his podium finish.

Ottawa’s Jordan Monnink impressed triathlon fans when he placed third in a competitive Ironman Mont-Tremblant field last month and earned the top Canadian finish. We asked Monnink about the training that led to his break-out race, and how he’s using the experience going forward to get even better.

What do you feel was the biggest aspect of your training that led you to your 3rd place finish at Ironman Mont-Tremblant?

I feel like my ability to complete a few key run sessions in the three weeks prior to the race was crucial. Before the decision to race the full, my longest runs would be typically around 20km. With the decision to attack the full, it was critical that I get some longer distance runs in prior to the event without overdoing it and not being able to properly recover.

How do you go about attacking your weaknesses in training, while still working on your strengths?

I am a strict believer in the process of consistency in training. I don’t think my coach and I have strictly gone out and attacked a particular weakness, but rather implemented a process of training that has allowed me to gradually improve in all three sports.

What were some key sessions you did in the lead up to IMMT, in each of the three sports? 

    • For the swim, we have a Lake in Ottawa/Gatineau that is a very popular spot for open water swim training. The lake has two beaches and open water swimmers often swim from one beach to the other. This swim is known as “the beach to beach” and is very conveniently 3.8km long. I would swim this once a week for three weeks prior to Tremblant.
    • Bike key session: I did a ride to Kingston about three weeks prior to Tremblant as I was on my way there to work for Multisport Canada during the K-Town tri. The day myself and two of my teammates biked down, we faced about a 45km/h headwind for the entire length of the ride, which was 200km. I was so angry, tired and beaten down by the wind. This ride not only improved my endurance, but gave me some mental strength by getting through the torturous ride. Also, when I got to Kingston, I immediately was to run 12km in that same wind. Needless to say, I had a serious case of Hanger by the end.
    • Run key sessions were a three week volume build leading up to Tremblant. I went 25km, 29km and then topped out at 33km, which would be my longest run ever going into Tremblant.

Do you have any special workouts or sets you do in training that you use as “benchmarks” year-round?
I do not have any key benchmark workouts per say. On the bike, I have a few routes that when I am “on” I can tell by the ease and speed at which I can complete the course. One in particular is how long it takes me to get to the Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park, which is a very popular cycling route in Ottawa.

What do you identify from your performance at Tremblant that you could work on for the next time? 

I need to work a lot on my marathon run. I really think that my performance in Tremblant could be chalked up to sheer stubbornness on the run. I do feel like I have great mental strength to get me through some dark periods, but that marathon could have gone much smoother with some more time to better prepare for it.