are Tweet Email
What triathletes can learn from Japanese “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi’s shocking win in Boston.
When the men’s Boston Marathon winner broke the tape in Copley Square earlier this week, announcers were scrambling. No one had expected Yuki Kawauchi, the first Japanese winner since 1987, to beat pre-race favorites like defending champ Geoffrey Kirui from Kenya or American two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp. But he did.
“I think there is probably not a single person in Boston who thought I would win this today, but in the marathon, you never really know what’s going to happen,” he said post-race, via a translator.
Not only did 31-year-old Kawauchi surprise the pundits to brave some of the worst weather conditions in recent history (race morning temps hovering in the mid-30s, wind, and rain) and win with a time of 2:15:58, but he also works full-time while he trains and races. And Kawauchi loves to race: This year he had already finished four marathons before Boston; last year he raced 12 and won five. Let’s take a look at what regular triathletes can take away from Kawauchi’s spectacular victory.
#1: Use bad weather to your advantage.
With frigid temperatures, driving rain, and headwinds gusting around 25 miles-per-hour on the already-challenging Boston course, most of the major contenders either faded to the back or didn’t finish. According to The Oregonian, Rupp dropped out between miles 18 and 19 and was later treated for symptoms of hypothermia and asthma. Of the 10 Kenyan and Ethiopian elites entered—many of whom have very low body fat and train mostly in warmer climes—only two finished, according to calculations from Letsrun.com.
“I’ve always been strong in the cold weather, I’ve always run well in the cold weather,” Kawauchi said post-race. “I think the conditions were instrumental in getting the win.” It was no fluke that Kawauchi found success in terrible conditions, he had run a marathon in Massachusetts with single-digit temperatures already this year.
This makes sense, says mental training coach Jeff Troesch. “If you really want to put yourself in the best position to give yourself a chance to manage any conditions, you need to be willing to train in any conditions,” says Troesch, who has worked with high-level triathletes and clients in the NBA, MLB, PGA, and LPGA. “It helps us acclimate, not only from a physiological perspective, but from a psychological perspective”.
In fact, athletes need to believe poor conditions benefit them—regardless of whether or not they’ve prepared for them. “There’s a psychological advantage to expecting it to be very challenging and expecting it to be difficult and almost embracing that challenge, rather than wishing conditions were different.” Troesch says.
Read more at http://www.triathlete.com/2018/04/training/lessons-years-surprise-boston-marathon-winner_321379#68O37071xYuFSbwf.99