Xavier Coppock: 2012 Kona Hawaiian Ironman

Melbourne triathlete Xavier Coppock finishing the Melbourne Ironman with a time of 8:54, 2nd in 30–34 age group and 27th overall. He achieved his second Kona Ironman qualification. Adz Kelsall checked in with the X-Man to find out how his preparations for the 2012 edition were progressing.


Interview By: Adam Kelsall

Adz: How’s it going mate?

X: Hey Adsy, things are going well, just back into training for the big one again this year!

Adz: Great race in Melbs…How did you pull up?

X: Thanks mate, It was a bit of a surprise that race as I didn’t have my ideal preparation but just shows that with the right program and mindset, you can still achieve results that you didn’t think you were capable of. 

Adz: I imagine every event you learn something…what did you learn from Melbs?

X: The main thing that I learnt from racing Ironman Melbourne was that with the right mindset and race plan you can still get something big out of the race.  Sometimes you have to remove yourself from your comfort zone to see how you go and this is something that I learnt that I was able to do.

After a solid, but not super swim, I knew that I gave the leaders in my age group some time as it was a cracker of a field with no less than 7 Hawaiian Ironman 2011 athletes racing. I really pushed the first 1/2 of the bike and rode it in 2hr 14min, this was actually faster than I had ever ridden a 90k split before in either 70.3 races or IM races.  The 2nd lap I played it more conservative and recorded the quickest split in my age group and 2nd fastest age group split overall.  This really set up my race.

The run was amazing, running with the likes of Damien Angus & Sam Hume really blew me away.  Also having training partner and fellow TMC athlete Gregory Farrell run passed at the 18k mark was pretty awesome also.

I suppose the only disappointing thing about the race was not winning my age group, leading for 37k and then being caught was tough to swallow, however when you have a 8min lead off the bike, run a pb in 3hr 11min and someone is good enough to catch you, they deserve the win.  Rob Creasy ran a smoking 3hr marathon and he deserved the spoils!

Adz: You were down to race Port Macquarie six weeks after Melbourne…a pretty short turn around, what was the thinking behind that and how did it go?

X: Originally I had entered Port Macquarie before Melbourne was announced so with a group of mates and athletes that I coach, I thought that I would still have a crack at racing as I had never raced Port before.  Unfortunately I fell ill post Melbourne and was unable to make the start line, however seeing your great self, Tim, Ben, Scott, James & Steve go around was still a great day.

Adz: Looking ahead how many days to Kona?

X: Good question….. I don’t actually know how many days until race day.  I know that it is roughly 8 weeks until I leave for Hawaii and the race is 5 weeks after that.  Last year I was in Hawaii for 4 weeks prior to the race and found this really beneficial, so I thought I would add an extra week pre race to give me more preparation time on the course in the environment.   

Adz: How’s your form in each leg – swim? 

X: My swim is starting to come back, I have been attending swim squad 4-5 times per week this year, something different to last year as I would only go once, or maybe twice on a good week.  I have even included a double swim day to try and gain an extra few minutes this year.  Goal is to break the 1hr mark.

Adz: And the ride? 

X: The riding is going well, we have really mixed it up this year. By adding a few extra strength sessions should enable me to shave a few more minutes of my time there also.. The goal this year is to get in the 4hr 30’s (even high 30’s) on a comparable day to last year.  The thing about Kona is that you just don’t know what is going to be thrown your way on race day.  Sometimes it is hard to set a goal time.  I just want to be closer to the leaders, if not leading my age group off the bike this year.

Adz: And finally the run? 

X: For me, the run is the run.  As long as I keep ticking off the boxes that Andrew (Coach) throws my way I know that I will be able to run another PB in Kona. With the right preparation on the bike and getting some really good consistent km’s in the legs those couple of 5min+ km’s last year should not be relevant this year.

Adz: You mentioned you travelled to Kona four weeks before the race to prepare and heading there 5 weeks beforehand this year. Can you talk us through that?

X: This year I am adding a few little things to aid myself that I learnt from last year.  I will buy a scooter when I get there, just to save the legs a little when going to and from the swim start.  You don’t realise how much the conditions can sap your energy until you are there.  By having the experience of last year, there are a few things that I need to change but I can’t give away all my secrets:-)

Adz: So you smashed out a super impressive 9.10 at Kona 2011. What are your goals for this year?

X: Times are very hard to put on paper mate over there, after suffering a few horrendous days in training, you understand that you can still have a great race without going near your goal time.  All things being comparable to last year, I am hoping to go a little bit faster.  However if I go slower and still podium, I still will be happy:-)

Adz: And I’ve been hearing some whispers about you going full time?

X: It is definitely something that I am considering.  The actual time is uncertain as I want to be fully ready and able to do just that.  The main reason is to be able to support my athletes more, travel interstate to train with my athletes who have entrusted me with coaching them to there goals.  So to have more flexibility, everyone will be able to benefit from myself to everyone around me.  I will give you the heads up when this goes ahead.  Hoping to be sooner rather than later!

Adz: Good luck mate will touch base again just before the race. Thanks for your time anyone you need to thank?

X: As always, I want to thank your great self for your time and Racing Tales for promoting our great sport. My Coach Andrew Sinclair (Triathlon & Multisport coaching), my support crew who put up with me when I get tired and grumpy😉.

Along with the above, my sponsors, XOSIZE active, Rocket Science Sports, SCHNELL Carbon Wheels and new sponsors, CBD Cycles, SHOTZ sports nutrition & Sexy Mart Epping.  I am hoping to gain some more sponsorship moving forward so if you know anyone, feel free to pass on my details!

Adz: Thanks legend and good luck at the big dance. Travel safely.

About rossburrage

Really facinated about why multi disipline endurance athletes have such a low public profile when they are arguably the most talented all round athletes on earth, so I thought I would get off my arse and do my little bit to help change that situation and tell a few stories about some of the crazy's I know. Thanks for reading guys.
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