Former Ironman Australia and Ironman 70.3 world champion Tim Reed is heading back to his old stomping ground of Port Macquarie, complete with a new game plan and an intense desire to get back on the top step of the podium.
Reed said that after a 2018, with its fair share of success in Ironman 70.3 racing, he is looking to recover his form over the full Ironman distance and put it all together again in Port Macquarie.
"Last year was like most years of pro racing, plenty of highs and lows," he said.
"In the off season I took a good break with my family heading back to Lord Howe Island to enjoy some quality time away from work.
"Then I got stuck into a short block of training before jumping into Ironman New Zealand to simulate my race nutrition and some training ideas I wanted to test prior to Port Macquarie."
Reed said he is driven by the belief there is still further improvement to be gained from his "miniature body I've been given."
"I still love waking up each day and going on a daily mission to challenge myself and overcome some rather nasty training," he said.
"Finally, my gratitude keeps me going, as I realise how fortunate I am to do a job that I love.
"This year, I'm back coaching myself, doing a lot more of what I love, that being racing to prepare for my major races of the year.
"One of those being Ironman Australia, a race that means more to me emotionally than any other. Even more than the Ironman or Ironman 70.3 world championships."
Ironman Australia (is) a race that means more to me emotionally than any other. Even more than the Ironman or Ironman 70.3 world championships.Tim Reed
Reed has a long history with Port Macquarie that started well before triathlon.
"This is a race that all of my family can come and watch and I genuinely love that tough nature of the course," he said.
"All my races and training prior to Ironman Australia have simply been part of the process to prepare for the one day in May."
He expects the usual cool morning which warms to high humidity by the time of the run.
"The swim will be current assisted for half of the course and be more difficult swimming into the current for the other half," he said.
"Right across the course I expect the traditional phenomenal crowd support both from visitors and the local community, who always seem to get right behind the race."
You can expect Reed to again be up near the pointy end of the race as he believes he has done the necessary work to put in a good performance.
"All that is required is the finishing touches and to learn from the lessons of recent years, to race smarter and calmer," he said.
"Physically, there are no real secrets to Ironman success. Essentially it is train very hard, recover very well and repeat.
In 2017, I attacked far too early on both the bike and run. It is a game of attrition. Not only do I need to be stronger than 2017 but I certainly need to be more patient.Tim Reed
"Ten to 14 days out from the race is where you really lower the volume and race at peak fresh fitness.
"I think the Port Mac course specifically requires you to be able to get used to rougher road surfaces and be able to handle some decent downhills during the marathon."
In 2017, Reed admitted he paced beyond his conditioning and suffered like never before "just to hold on to second place."
"I think I need to keep a cool head and realise that it is not my responsibility to break up the group," he said.
"That year I attacked far too early on both the bike and run. It is a game of attrition. Not only do I need to be stronger than 2017 but I certainly need to be more patient.
"Beyond the obvious physical conditioning I think mindset is key.
"A calm but extreme focus on staying in the present and doing exactly what you need to be doing right now rather than over analyzing what has happened or what's running through your head about how far you have to go.
"Like all Ironman events, the race really starts 15 kilometres into the run.
"If you're running well from 30-42 kilometres, you'll likely pass a lot of people."
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