Dipping into the account - How the 70.3 World Champs may affect the Kona Ironman outcome in 2018
Over the course of a season there are a handful a races that mentally and physically you can ‘dip into the account’. What this generally means is that you do a full buildup, quality speed phase and taper in order to create a window of ‘peaking’. If you get it right and the conditions are set up, you are able to push past limits that you may have on yourself and have the race of your life.
With reference to the weekends 70.3 Ironman World Champs in South Africa, it was clearly a highly competitive race at the top of the field. A small margin separated the top athletes from the starting gun, through the swim and bike legs onto the run. Then the real race started. It came down to a game of chicken, between Jan Frodeno, Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gómez Noya . It was clear that all three competitors were pushing to the max but it was Frodeno who day came together and he was able to reach that little bit deeper and pull out the victory. But at what cost?
We are 6 weeks out from the Hawaii Ironman World Championship at Kona, and digging into the account like Frodeno did is a dangerous game to play. As we mentioned at the top, there are only so many moments in a season where your body, mind, race conditions and competitors all line up correctly to have this moment. Once spent, the question is, 'when can it be repeated?'
In contrast there was a clear point in the run when Gomez who had run up a sizable deficient out of T2 started grabbing at his side. We are not doubting that he was in real physical pain, but to what extent was IM World Champs playing in the back of his mind. He had dug very deep to draw even to the powering Frodeno, but the pace was simply relentless. Sub-consciously did Gomez have the Big Island in the back of his mind, forcing the symptoms to save him from dipping to far into his reserves?
Brownlee on the other hand had everything to race for. Indicating he is not heading to Kona this year, his eyes were clearly on the 70.3 prize, but as stated above, it takes a unique set of circumstances for it all to come together and at this level the slightest ‘off moments’ can derail the tightest plan. Even Brownlee himself stating issues though the race in his post race interview, including the injuries he dealt with on the buildup.
Let’s not forget all of the big names who chose not to attend the 70.3 Worlds to firmly stake their years on Ironman glory. Of last years Ironman World Championship top 10, we have to go down to the 5th place James Cunnama to find he also raced in SA finishing up in 19th place!
As we are only 6 weeks out now from Kona time will tell on how athletes looking to do the double, will turn their bodies around. Specifically for Frodeno, will ‘dipping into his account’ affect his chances of another Ironman gold?
Needless to say given the obvious run form both Frodeno and Gomez are in, the heat in Kona really may be turned up to another level this year.