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World champs taper? Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt complete 40 km race tempo run 6 days before Kona

Norwegian triathlon stars completed a brutal race-pace effort less than a week before taking first and third at the Ironman World Championship

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Yesterday we posted a story about Gustav Iden’s record-breaking On shoes that helped him set new course (7:40:26) and marathon (2:36:15) records. Turns out that the shoes might have helped the Norwegian star recover from a crazy pre-race workout just six-days before the race, too.

“Last Sunday [a week before the race] I had my final big session in the super shoes,” Iden told his shoe sponsor On in an interview posted after the race. “That was 40 km at race pace and obviously, you’re tired afterwards. But I think the Clouds saved my feet because I was ready to push quite hard again already on Wednesday. And now today [in the race] I was feeling good from the start.”

Iden did the 40 km effort alongside his training partner and countryman Kristian Blummenfelt, the Olympic gold medalist and winner of the Ironman World Championship St. George in May.

“Yesterday [Sunday] we ran 40km at race pace,” Blummenfelt told 220 Triathlon. “He was quite strong and with 5 mins to go we said: ‘Should we sprint now?’ and he was like: ‘No, let’s wait until next weekend.’”

The Norwegians are changing the sport

The seemingly crazy workout just days before the Ironman World Championship serves as an example of just how much the Norwegian stars are changing the sport.

As Mark Allen pointed out in last week’s “The Life of Tri” podcast, Iden and Blummenfelt, under the guidance of their coach Olav Aleksander Bu, have compressed the learning curve for success in Kona. Both were “Kona rookies,” which in year’s past seemingly would put them out of contention for the win. In the end the first for men – Iden, Sam Laidlow, Blummenfelt and Max Neumann – all broke the old course record and all were competing for the first time on the Big Island.

“I had my fastest time and the race was 15 minutes ahead of me,” Germany’s 2014 Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle said after the race. “I like to see that – it is a good time to retire. When I made the announcement (that this would be his last Kona), I said I wanted to try and win another title. At that time, it seemed possible. If everything went right, there was still a chance. The sport has developed so much in the last two and a half years that before the race I didn’t think I would make the post-race press conference.”

Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St. George

We’ll get to see the two Norwegians compete again in just over a week – they are currently in St. George, Utah, preparing for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 World Championship. After that they will turn their sights to draft-legal racing as they gear up for another Olympic appearance in 2024 in Paris.