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Lionel Sanders | Reflections on first race of 2018

Our post race interview with Sanders.

A Q&A with Lionel Sanders after his win at Ironman 70.3 Pucon on the weekend:

Compared to your times last year, you took two minutes off your swim (26:11 this year) and eight minutes off your bike split (2:01 this year). What do you credit for this improvement?

With regards to the swim, the improvement is certainly due to gains I’ve made in training. I wanted to test where my swim was at. Unfortunately I made the mistake of wearing clear goggles on a very sunny swim course which I believe negatively impacted myswim. Another lesson learned.

As for the bike, I think I am just in a bit better shape this early in the year compared to last year. Also, last year my power meter didn’t work during the race and I rely on it to push my target power, so I definitely under-biked last year.

What did your first block of training look like this year? Anything new or different you tried or did you stick to the formula you’ve used in previous years.

The two major things I’ve tried in the first block of training this year are:

  • No hard swimming. I literally have not gone to the pool since our wedding. I have only been doing technical swims in my Endless Pool with no speed work. I have only focussed on improving my technique.
  • All rides done in TT position. I think this allowed me to feel more comfortable for the duration of the ride in the race.

As South America is a rapidly expanding triathlon region, are there any tips you have for Canadians interested in racing down there? 

I would say there isn’t much of a difference between racing in North American versus South America. I would recommend going a day earlier then you normally would just so you can recover from the long travel day. Wear compression socks on the plane, too. The people are very friendly but learning a few basic words in Spanish would be a good idea as well. Also, the sun is very strong there so make sure you protect your skin!

You keep an eye on your competitors and know their racing styles well… anyone up and coming you have your eye on this year?

I’ve got my eye on the usual suspects this year. One person I will be keeping a particular close eye on is Gomez, who will be making his full distance debut this summer.

Where will we see you racing next?

Next up for me is a fun indoor triathlon at McMaster University in Hamilton. You swim as far as you can in 15 minutes, bike on an stationary bike as far as you can in 15 minutes, then run as many laps of the track you can in 15 minutes. This is a fun event to see where your fitness is at in the winter. My next Ironman race is Oceanside 70.3 in April.