After winning pretty much everything else triathlon has to offer, Spain’s Javi Gomez is now entering unchartered territory at full Ironman distance. The man who has held to key to unlocking Javi’s performance is his long-term coach Carlos Prieto. We spoke to Carlos about his role in Javi’s push into new unknowns. Hear more about Javi’s preparations for Kona from the legend himself here.
Q&A with Carlos Prieto
What were the biggest challenges you and Javi faced in stepping up to full Ironman distance?
The main challenge was being able to achieve a level of performance on the bike that was sufficient to tackle these distances, and to be competitive against the world leaders.
The structure of training changed almost entirely, with special emphasis on aspects that influence performance in this type of event. We have worked on Javi’s strength and substantially changed his training load on the bike. The frequency of high-intensity run and swim sessions also changes at certain times during the season.
Did you or Javi ever have doubts about his ability to compete at full Ironman distance?
I never had any doubts, and I don’t think he did either. We work on the psychological side of things by increasing the difficulty of tasks and adapting progressively.
Javier is naturally strong enough. He does not need any pep talks, or to be psyched up, that’s just the way he is.
His team tries to keep him in the best condition, but he manages stress management himself without much external input.
The field in Kona is unbelievably competitive. How much attention do you give to analyzing Javi’s rivals?
Obviously we all keep an eye on the level of our rivals throughout the season. Every triathlete has their own personal characteristics and you try to assess whether they are on, above or below form.
What would it mean to you to see Javi on the podium at Kona?
It would be achieving a goal that so many of us around him have worked hard for. We are particularly delighted for him because he’s the one who’s been giving it everything, every day.
Finally, what advice would you give to an athlete looking to step into the unknown like Javi?
I would recommend them to be enthusiastic on a day-to-day basis, to work hard and, above all, to be physically and mentally strong in order to get through the hard times. The road to success is always bumpy.