After another whirlwind off-season, two-time Ironman world champion Jan Frodeno (GER) is in Oceanside, Calif. to compete in Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 Oceanside triathlon. Frodeno won this race in 2015, and is back to reclaim the title against a tough field that includes defending champion Lionel Sanders (CAN), five-time race winner Andy Potts (USA) and several others. We quickly caught up with Frodeno on Friday afternoon to chat about the decision to compete in So Cal, the approach for the first race of the year and the drive to earn a third-straight Kona title.
Triathlete.com: Why did you decide to kick off your season at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside?
Frodeno: To be honest I just got a bit stale of training throughout the winter. It’s been long with all of the engagements like media and sponsorship stuff, so it’s just kind of cool to put a date on it and know you’ve got to get fit and rack up some more intensity.
Triathlete.com: How was your off-season?
Frodeno: Busy as usual. I haven’t had a holiday in about two and a half years now, but it’s been good. This year was my first February in years that I’m not injuried, so that is obviously great for training. It also means I’m pretty tired. Happy to tick along and very happy with where I am today considering tomorrow is the first of April.
Triathlete.com: How do you approach the first race of the year?
Frodeno: Really, I try to be aggressive even though you know you can’t be as aggressive as you want to be. It’s just it’s going to hurt a little bit more because you kind have to get used to the hurt again—get comfortable with hurting. I’ll probably have to be a touch more defensive than I’d like to, but that’s the beauty of the first race. You’re always a little more nervous because you have to actually see where you are.
Triathlete.com: How do you deal with pre-race nerves?
Frodeno: To be honest, I’ve been around for awhile and I know my career is not going to be endless so I’m starting to actually savior and enjoy it a little bit. It’s a unique feeling, and that’s what all of the competitors have in common. You kind of have to work and fight for your result. That little bit of nervousness is what turns a race into something special. I’m trying to cherish it as much as I can. But of course the night before it’s all a little uncomfortable.
Triathlete.com: How are you shaping your 2017 race season?
Frodeno: I’m gearing season all-in for Kona again. The focus has been on Frankfurt with it being the Ironman European Championships, and then last year I really wanted to put up a world record. This year I chose Ironman Austria mainly because it’s a week sooner than the other two races. It is obviously in a German speaking area, which will please my home crowd a bit but yeah that’s why I chose Austria.
Triathlete.com: You mentioned it’s been a long couple of years, including two Ironman world titles. What keeps you motivated to go after another?
Frodeno: It’s still something I feel like I haven’t mastered. I’ve suffered through it well. I would love to get that feeling of actually feeling great in Kona. In terms of how I’ve gotten to feel in a European Ironman. I guess you’re never really going to feel that way in Kona, but I still see improvements in my training. I’m being kept very honest by my training partners. It’s the daily seek for excellence that keeps me going.