South African triathlete and coach Andy Brodziak has raced the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii twice already back in 2009 and 2011 and he’s also coached numerous age group athletes to Kona qualification.
Andy became a Sweat Test Center in Harrogate, Yorkshire a few years back and has been proudly racing in a PH Trucker ever since. He recently raced IRONMAN Santa Rosa and frustratingly missed out on punching his third ticket to the Big Island by just 25 seconds.
Brad reached out to chat about how he felt about the result once the dust had settled...
So, Andy, now that a little over a month has passed by, how are you feeling about narrowly missing out on a Kona slot by just 25 seconds? Were you aware how tight things were during the race?
I had no idea I was that close due to the lapped run course, but I guessed I was having an alright day based on my run time and how I was generally feeling.
I wasn’t that upset really due to the solid performance I felt I had on the day. I gave it my all on that last part of the run, I felt good and was catching guys, but that's competitive sport for you!
It’s been nice to drop some volume and take it easy for a few weeks since the race, that's for sure...
That's the spirit! Was Kona the #1 goal going into the race or did you have other goals and qualifying was just a bonus?
It was up there with what I wanted to get out of the race, but my number 1 goal was to put in a good performance whilst trying out a new fat-adapted approach under the guidance of Dr. Dan Plews and that has worked, having no dips in energy and executing a better performance was the primary goal!
Interesting! What advice would you give to your coached athletes about coping with such a narrow miss? And did you feel like you followed that yourself after the race?
The take home I would tell my guys is that now we know you’re knocking on the door and but for a few minutes you would’ve been on the podium, so it's actually all roses really.
If it was more like 20 minutes, then maybe reconsidering race selection or terrain would’ve been something to chat about.
Yes, I actually truly did feel that way - everything does happen for a reason, and although I’m not going to Kona this year as an athlete, I might be there for an athlete who’s pretty good and helping him with the smaller things will help him achieve a big performance, so it's all good!
So, you're not having another crack at qualifying this year? Were/are you tempted?!
I did immediately think that and have done just that in the past, but chasing is not a good thing, it's draining on the body and the support team around you.
I'm confident I will get back there at some point, so I don’t need another IRONMAN to validate that. Health and enjoyment must come first, then you piece the rest together.
I may consider a late season race for a 2020 qualification, I’ll decide in the next 8 weeks or so...
Every race is an opportunity to learn, what was your biggest take away from this one?
Having fun with a few of my athletes that were there, Bruce and Jim was key.
I find that keeping things not too serious in the 5-7 days before a race works for me and focusing on my athletes stops things being about me to being about how their day is going to pan out.
In terms of a main take away from this race it would be that the small things add up to minutes on your time, like the bottle I dropped and stopped for…..
You've been to Kona before, 8 years ago, what are the 3 biggest things you've learned since then that've made you a better athlete?
WOW! So much, but if I have to pick three...
- The importance of using electrolytes for training - that's massive.
- How to pace yourself properly
- How to actually be consistent
Ok, so talk us through what a typical training week looked like for you in the run up to IRONMAN Santa Rosa?
Well, not loads of volume at all, you just made me look at TrainingPeaks and see my average hours for the last 12 weeks and it was just 11h 45m a week.
I had three big weeks in there, one includes a 70.3 in Salou (where I won my age group) and another was part of the 10 days I had in the Canaries coaching in March.
Typically I'll get in 3-4 swims, 3 bike sessions, 1x Strength & Conditioning session and 3-4 runs in a week.
I noticed you mention Conrad Stoltz is someone who inspired you in triathlon. What was it about Conrad that has inspired you over the years?
Yeah - being South African as well, seeing him racing locally and being so raw and aggressive, plus humble, was refreshing and I looked up to him.
He did super well after the Sydney Olympics, shifting to Xterra, and got into the U.S.A and made a proper profession of it, thats what was amazing to see as I know other Pro’s who could’ve done that and didn’t...
Finally, a bit of a random question but you recently went over to Jersey to do some Sweat Testing. What took you there and how salty was the saltiest sweater you tested on the trip?
Ah, Jersey - I LOVE that place.
I stayed with my TPS colleague and mate Nick Saunders, who heads up the Academy there and a good crew from Jersey Tri Club and BIG Maggy’s Bike Shop hosted me for quite a few tests I must say, two guys turned out being especially salty sweaters, coming in at ~1,400mg of sodium per litre and ~1,300mg/l being a close 2nd!
Awesome to hear there are plenty of athletes down there drinking electrolytes that match how they sweat now Andy. Good luck with the rest of the season and we look forward to seeing back on the Big Island soon enough...
Andy Brodziak is our Sweat Test Center in Harrogate, Yorkshire and you can get in touch to talk about getting your sweat tested or getting some coaching in here.