Olly Green18 Nov 2021

Iden urges Blummenfelt to ‘stick to the plan’ at Cozumel

Gustav Iden says Kristian Blummenfelt can do something special in Cozumel, if he sticks to the plan and does not get too eager on the run.
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Gustav Iden has offered some words of advice to Kristian Blummenfelt ahead of his fellow Norwegian’s full-distance debut at IRONMAN Cozumel on Sunday.

Olympic and World champion Blummenfelt sees the race in Mexico as the first stop on the road to becoming IRONMAN World Champion in 2022.

Iden meanwhile took on his first full-distance event at IRONMAN Florida earlier this month, storming to an incredible victory ahead of Lionel Sanders.

Blummenfelt ‘finely tuned’

Given Blummenfelt’s pedigree and preparation time, Iden says he sees no reason why his compatriot can’t recreate his own debut success at full distance, while advising him to remain composed on the final leg.

“I think he will do amazing,” he said on his brother and coach Mikal’s YouTube channel. “I know that he is like me, we are really well trained and he has even better time to prepare for this race and I don’t see how he could fail.

“His energy systems are so finely tuned now that if he doesn’t come close to my time I would be really surprised. Just stick to the plan Kristian – don’t get too eager in the run.”

Though he is backing Blummenfelt to take the full-distance switch in his stride, Iden admitted that his victory in Florida came as somewhat of a shock, with his primary goal having been to learn from the vastly experienced Sanders.

“It was good in Florida, I really appreciated the opportunity to race Sanders, even though he has not performed as well in the last few years. It was such valuable learning to race against the best.”

“That was my ambition for the race as well – go into the race and learn as much as possible and I really did learn.”

Lower altitude bonus

Iden’s triumph in Florida came after IRONMAN California was called off due to bad weather conditions, and he believes the switch of venues – and thus more time to adapt from his high altitude training – played into his hands. Ahead of Sacramento, Iden had been preparing in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“I never thought I was going to race in Florida, the effort I made was going into Sacramento, but I don’t think I would have performed as well there.

“I had a bit of a sickness in the last week in Sacramento, which kind of ruined a bit for me so I was very happy they moved it to Florida.

“The last two weeks I had a lot more race pace effort because I think if you did the same preparation again, I wouldn’t go to the altitude as close to the race as we did for the Sacramento race.

“So being in low level altitude for two-and-a-half weeks before the race in Florida was absolutely perfect and I think without that I wouldn’t have performed as good so we took a lot of learning from there.”

Winning Sanders showdown

The early stages of the run saw Iden battle with Sanders for the race lead, and he revealed that his rival’s early pace was a cause for concern.

“He was running pretty consistently, he dropped a bit slightly. I was really hoping he would drop me or I would drop him, because running together like that for the whole way like that, I didn’t have the nerves for it – it was too scary.”

But Iden would eventually pull away, crossing the line in a staggering 7:42:57, almost four minutes clear of the Canadian, albeit after a late burnout which he believes will keep his ego in check.

“When he finally dropped my worriedness disappeared, I realised that he was not going for 3:25 [per km] and I accelerated again and I should have never done that. I ran maybe 6km too hard and it hit me in the last few kilometres and I really struggled.

“But I must say I am glad I did it. If I didn’t have the wall hitting me towards the end – maybe this comes across as a bit of a douchebag thing to say – then my IRONMAN debut would be too easy and I would go to the finish line feeling too good.

“So having the struggle towards the end was good for me mentally otherwise I would be too hard to deal with right now.”