The goal for Kristian Blummenfelt is clear – to become IRONMAN World Champion in 2022 – and the road to St George begins next Sunday (November 21) in Cozumel.
Blummenfelt is already the best there is in short-course racing after claiming Olympic gold in Tokyo in July, and then following up by becoming World Champion a month later.
The Norwegian star is now in Mexico, putting the finishing touches to his preparation for a. full-distance debut at IRONMAN Cozumel. Before that though he spent a number of weeks training at altitude in Sierra Nevada, Spain.
During that camp he updated on his progress on his YouTube channel as he built up his training under the watchful eye of coach and sports scientist Olav Oleksander Bu.
Preparing for Cozumel
Bu explained the trajectory Blummenfelt is on right now, and the challenges moving up to full distance brings.
“Ironman is something new for us, so there is a lot of learning moving forward, and of course we don’t really get the answer before we are racing,” he said.
“Trying to learn as quickly as possible, not making big radical changes but more like reasonable changes, because it’s an Ironman and not Olympic distance or half-Ironman.
“Taking that into consideration I would say that having taken down not as much higher intensity but also now more longer distance, I would say despite that, I would say power at the higher intensities and durations are actually quite okay
“I would say say based on that, the three weeks has been quite nice from a training perspective, but also we can’t complain about the weather this time – it’s magnificent to be in Sierra Nevada.”
Blummenfelt at Ironman
Bu re-iterated what the goal is from this new project for Blummenfelt – the top step on the podium in a year which offers not one but two IRONMAN World Championships (in St George in May and Kona in October). He also talked about the strategy involved to reach that goal.
“We have never done an Ironman before, so it’s our first project going towards Ironman. We obviously aim to take the World Championship next year in Ironman. On the road there we’ll do a few Ironmans, not many but a few.
“It means we have to learn also at the record pace. Ironman has different demands than Olympic distance has, also different than half-Ironman. Of course what we’ll try to do is to maintain more of the characteristics that we think are important to even raise the bar one more step in an Ironman.
“That’s basically by trying to maintain a fairly high Vo2 max. But at the same time also bringing up the fractional utilisation of oxygen at race pace fairly close to or as close as possible to the Vo2 max, which will then allow Kristian to swim, bike and run with the same glycolytic demand that others are doing at a slower speed. Glycogen reserves being I would say the biggest limitation
“But the biggest difference is also that here we are not able to only do that for a short time, but actually being able to maintain that for a very long time. So fatigue resistance, or the ability to maintain those characteristics for a very long duration, is important.”
Blummenfelt of course has a good benchmark to work with ahead of next weekend – that brilliant full-distance debut for his Norwegian team-mate Gustav Iden in Florida last weekend.
Iden clocked a time of 7:42:57 in defeating Lionel Sanders to win in Panama City Beach. He finished with a blistering 2:34:51 marathon and perceived wisdom said his overall time would have been close to 7:30 but for a very challenging swim for the entire field.
Now Blummenfelt, having seen what unfolded in Florida, gets his chance to set down his own marker ahead of a huge IM year in 2022. Bu recently said we could be in for “something cool” in Cozumel – now the world waits to find just how cool…
The current fastest time ever for a race over the Ironman distance of course is that 7:27:53 set by Jan Frodeno in his Tri Battle Royal vs Lionel Sanders in July 2021.