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Australia’s Luke McKenzie talks about training under his new coach and getting ready to race an Ironman in his home country.
Triathlete.com: Earlier this year you started training with Siri Lindley. She’s obviously had a great deal of success with some of the other athletes she’s coached, most recently Mirinda Carfrae and Leanda Cave. What are some of the main differences you’ve noticed while working with Siri?
McKenzie: I actually started working with Siri post Las Vegas World 70.3 Championships. I was bitterly disappointed after that race. I turned up over-cooked in the middle of my Kona preparation and struggled through it and finished way off the pace. It definitely wasn’t the result I was expecting. I spoke with Siri post race and she pointed out to me I needed to take it easy leading into Kona to avoid another Vegas result. I put myself in her hands and I am sure glad I did. We have been working together ever since. After years of being self-coached she likes to have a lot of my input into the program. We have had a great summer of training here in Noosa and I am really looking forward to seeing our hard work pay off on the racetrack.
Triathlete.com: Obviously your #1 fan and steadfast supporter is your wife Amanda. What do you look for from her on race day? Are you motivated by positive, encouraging cheers, or do you respond better to a bit of tough love and having someone light a fire under you when you need it most?
McKenzie: Amanda definitely dishes out the tough love on the course. I’ve finished a few rough races in the last twelve months like Ironman Texas, Las Vegas 70.3 World Champs and Ironman Western Australia because Amanda was out there pushing me to just get to the line no matter what. It’s those days when the body doesn’t want to go or things go wrong and you still get yourself across that finish line that are sometimes the most satisfying. She is an amazing support and I can’t do it without her. She is wife, manager, chef, psychologist and supporter all rolled into one!
Triathlete.com: What do you think of the course in Melbourne? What about the conditions – it’s practically cold compared to what you’re used to in Noosa!
McKenzie: I love the layout of the course and the idea of a point-to-point marathon. It definitely suits my racing style. If I can be up the front off the bike it’s definitely an advantage to not have the laps or out and backs that most courses have. I never really had much success at cold races in the past but I proved to myself at Ironman Frankfurt last year that I can perform in the cold as well as the heat. It was pouring rain and six degrees Celsius for a lot of the race and although it was a miserable experience I was so stoked to break a bit of a barrier that day. I definitely love the heat though so I’ll be hoping for one of those Melbourne scorchers!
Triathlete.com: How much surfing have you been able to get in during the build-up to Ironman?
McKenzie: To tell you the truth in the last month leading into Ironman I can count on one hand the amount of surfs I’ve been able to fit around my training. It comes down to priorities and making sure I am maximizing my recovery time between sessions and eliminating potential injury by accident. I am super keen to get home after Ironman Melbourne and surf a lot more as I have several new boards I want to try. I will probably load up my 4×4 and go on a little bit of a surf road trip for a week or so. It keeps the balance in life and let’s you recover not only physically but also mentally from an Ironman.