With 2013 now locked in place Pete Jacobs can put the showbiz behind him and start to focus on the big prize, the Ironman World Championship in October. Who can match him at Kona this year? Sebastian Kienle is the man talked about the most. There is no doubt he can out ride pretty much everyone at the moment. Pete did not push himself in the swim or run to his limits at Kona. Is Pete’s swim and run enough to keep Sebastian away from the crown?
We had a quick catch up with Pete the other day after he won the Male Triathlete of the Year at the 2013 Endurance LIVE Awards. As always Pete is one of the best speakers in triathlon and he won many more fans over the weekend in LA amongst many sportng greats.
TriZone: Pete, now that you have your year planned and most of the obligatory photo shoots etc out of the way what is the high level plan in the lead up to Kona?
Pete Jacobs: My lead up to Kona will be the same as the previous years, except I want to be in better shape than last year for the Ironman in July. This does change things, but I don’t know exactly how until I get to it. Will it make me more mentally tired for the long rides? Or stronger? I’ll just manage things as I normally do, by feel.
TZ: How was it doing all the media and sponsorship commitments after Kona?
PJ: I really enjoyed all the extra work after Kona. It is a side of the job I enjoy and I love the challenge and opportunity to speak publicly and do presentations and pass on the experiences I’ve worked hard at to understand.
TZ: You are racing Escape from Alcatraz for the first time this weekend. What is the attraction to race this triathlon?
PJ: Mostly that it is on a week after I am in Los Angeles for the Endurance Live awards, it’s nearby in San Francisco, and a lot of my sponsors will be there to catch up with. Besides that the race is high profile, and one of those bucket list type of races. I just want to finish, it’s going to be cold which doesn’t suit me, so survival is the main goal.
TZ: This year you are doing a couple more 70.3s than you have done in recent years, a marathon in March and Frankfurt. Why the additional 70.3 races? Do you enjoy the shorter and faster racing of 70.3s?
PJ: It’s the challenge of getting in peak shape that I love. I want to see what my body can do more than just once a year in Hawaii. Peaking for a couple more races this year will hopefully increase my motivation, focus, and I’ll learn a little more too. I do want to do well in St George and get the chance to push hard over the shorter distance against a very strong field. I love racing, and want to be in the race.
TZ: You really love Ironman 70.3 Philippines. What is so great about this race? Any tips for other race directors?
PJ: It’s a destination race. Right out the front of a beautiful resort, and the Filipino’s are so hospitable and friendly, it is a unique experience that you can’t replicate anywhere.
TZ: What is your goal for the marathon in March? Is it to have a steady hit out or to see what you can really do without a 180km bike ride prior?
PJ: I would like to run well and post a personal best. Somewhere in the 2:20’s would be nice. I’m not going to kill myself, and will just see how I feel on the day. It’s a bit of a reward to myself for having done well in Kona. It’s also the ASICS LA Marathon and they will be there to film it and create a lot of content which will be a nice thing to have to remember it by.
TZ: Henk Vogels said to me a couple of months ago that he thinks you still have another 10-15% improvement on the bike. He did add a rider that that is without taking in to account any negative impact on the 42km run off the bike. What are your thoughts on how much improvement you have still in you on the bike? (Henk helped Pete with his bike taper for Kona and also other aspects of his cycling).
PJ: I think there is definitely some improvement there. I’m thinking a lot about the balance of training and racing with a focus on the bike or run. There will be more structure to my bike training this year, and my run is already in good shape thanks to the motivation for the marathon, so I can just do maintenance on that for the year and do more sessions on the bike.
TZ: How much of a factor has your Computrainer been in the constant improvement with your cycling?
PJ: It is a life saver. I use it for recover sessions, quality sessions, and sessions when I am too tired to think about where to ride and stay safe without thinking etc. It’s my fall back option for those mentally tough days when I can just spin the legs as easy as I want, put a movie on, and sometimes I’ll start to feel better and do some quality sessions.
TZ: How and when do you benchmark your cycling progress in the lead up to an Ironman?
PJ: Three long rides a week, solo, give me a very good feel for what’s a good pace I can hold, and then I did a couple of long time trials with the Al Pitman and the East Coast Cyco’s triathlon club 2 and 3 weeks out from Kona that I will definitely do again. They worked amazingly well, mentally and physically.
TZ: Where is your run preparation at currently?
PJ: Run prep is going very well, I’m already up to pre Kona type running, but I haven’t been riding too much so that makes it a lot easier. I’ve enjoyed the relaxed training for the marathon which has kept me consistently doing good run sessions, but I have let my swim and bike lag when I felt like it so I’m not overdoing my training this early in the year, but still getting some great improvements and motivation (through my running).
TZ: Have you avoided any injuries this year so far that have plagued you in the past?
PJ: I have got a little tight lately because of some travel last week to Melbourne for a sponsors photo shoot then the trip to LA a few days later, but I am working on my rehab really hard this week pre Alcatraz and know what I need to do since I know what’s going on.
TZ: It seems you have no (known) weaknesses now however with your swim strength does this allow you to focus more than the average person on your bike and run? How much of an advantage does this give you?
PJ: Yes, people do tell me that I’m very lucky, and I guess I am, but the reason I swim so well and so little is because I just focus on my technique every single stroke. I have a high awareness of my body and what each muscle is doing so I am my own coach and am constantly tweaking my technique. I swam less than 10km per week leading into Kona last year, and had one of the best swims I’ve ever had because I just sat in the pack and swam efficiently.
TZ: The triathlon world is looking at your next head to head with Sebastian Kienle. The big one will be at Frankfurt but may not be a real head to head test depending on where you are both at on your journey to Kona. You will race Sebastian at St George 70.3. Sebastian is remaining neutral about how important it is to have a go at winning Frankfurt. Kienle is the one that most say could upset at Kona if he has a good day. The way his race unfolded at Kona last year meant it is a bit hard to gauge how he really went. How much is he playing in to your preparation in 2013?
PJ: He is definitely my motivation. I’ll never ride as well as him but I do think I need to get closer to stop him in Kona. And I think I can, of course I do, I wouldn’t be a professional athlete if I didn’t think I could improve and be more competitive. He is a really nice guy, I respect him a lot, and that helps me focus on him, and what can I do to get faster on the bike. We will face off in St George before Frankfurt, and I’m sure he will be flying on the bike at all his races as usual.