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IRONMAN Champion reveals why the PTO Tour is the perfect way to build for Kona win

Rudy Von Berg reveals why he's combining both full distance races and the 100km distance in 2024.

Staff Reporter
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Redefining triathlon

Having proven himself to be amongst the best in the world on his day last season, American long course professional triathlete Rudy von Berg has big plans for the upcoming year.

The Boulder based ‘Bison’, who won IRONMAN Texas, finished fourth at the IRONMAN World Championship and won IRONMAN Florida in a new course record, excelled over the full distance in 2023.

Speaking with TRI247, the PTO World #7 revealed his race plans for the season and explained why the PTO Tour will prepare him perfectly for big full distance performances at Challenge Roth and the IRONMAN World Championship.

Marathon progressing in the right direction

Looking back on last season, the American said that he was happy how the year progressed, despite a bike crash and subsequent broken collarbone preventing him from racing as much as he would have liked.

Rudy von Berg wins IRONMAN Texas 2023 [Photo credit: Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]
[Photo credit: Kyle Rivas / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

“I’m quite happy with how the year progressed, as despite the collar bone injury I think I bounced back pretty well for the important races. My first big goal was IRONMAN Texas and I had a good build throughout the winter.

“That was my first race at the end of April and it was a really good step forward, running my best marathon at the time 2:45. Then at the next one was Nice, I finished fourth in the world and shaved another three minutes off my marathon time.

“Finally finishing in Florida, with a really good performance in all three sports and a 2:38 marathon was really important, because it now positions me well in the overall Ironman marathon times.” 

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“It’s important to keep on building throughout the season”

Key to his success last year von Berg says was not leaving his best efforts in training early on in the season, with a gradual build paying dividends for the American later in the season.

“I think it’s important to keep on building throughout the season and not to push the sessions too much at the beginning of the season. Then later in the year I allow myself to go for higher paces and forget lactate levels a little which seemed to work well.

“Now, with the PTO races at the beginning of the year, I am trying to hit some good sessions earlier and build even earlier, so we will see how that goes.”

Lionel Sanders and Rudy Von Berg sprint at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside 2022 Photo Credit: Donald Miralle / IRONMAN
Photo Credit: Donald Miralle / IRONMAN

After a couple of down weeks following his course record in Florida followed by some base building and a trip back to France for the Christmas holidays, von Berg is now back into the full swing of things.

“Since I got back from France, I’m back on serious training, with three sessions a day, six days a week and it’s going quite well.

“Racing is coming up in March, so it will be quite a bit earlier than last year. Next week, I’ll be going on a training camp in Maui and then maybe I’ll do another one in Arizona as well.” 

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Kona the “main objective” during busy year

Moving on to his racing goals, the American star underlined that whilst Kona is his primary goal, he believes racing the PTO Tour throughout the year will increase his chances of success come October.

Rudy Von Berg IRONMAN World Championship 2023, Nice, France, on the run
Photo by Bartlomiej Zborowski / Activ’Images

“I think it will be good for me to not solely focus on full distance and the PTO will help me with that VO2 max and high velocity, but it’s also still long enough that you need to be efficient and it’s a comparable sport.

“It’s not like Super League, where it is a completely different energy system and so I think it will help whilst still having Roth to get that IRONMAN prep in June. I think it is the perfect plan with two solid full distance races and then the PTO Tour.” 

Despite having a great race in Nice last September, von Berg says he still views Kona as the pinnacle, as he looks to improve on his debut performance there in 2022 where he struggled with nutrition and sickness.

“Kona is the main objective and that always will be for the foreseeable future, Kona and Nice even though Kona is still a little above Nice in everyone’s mind.

“That’ll definitely be the main objective, as my first Kona in 2022 wasn’t what I wanted at all after nutrition errors and starting with Mikal [Iden] just a few months before, I raced too much and got sick too.

“It wasn’t really his fault but I just wasn’t able to get there in the right condition and then the nutrition error with sodium intake was really big and I couldn’t get around that.” 

This time around, both coach and athlete will hope they can execute the build up and race day to perfection to give America their first male winner in Kona since 2002.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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