SEE THIS GUY TRAIN FOR WORLD’S TOUGHEST TRIATHLON
written by Corinna Halloran

 

Ever wonder what the pros need to do to train for the iconic IRONMAN World Championship in Kona? Wonder no more. This is an insider’s view into training for one of the hardest races on Earth. 

Meet Braden Currie, the 31-year-old Kiwi who’s ranked 20th in the world for IRONMAN. For the last seven weeks, he’s been training in Noosa, Australia for the iconic IRONMAN World Championships in Kona.


Braden Currie © Graeme Murray

Braden Currie raced, and won, his first IRONMAN in March 2017. He now has just over six weeks until the IRONMAN World Championships.

In Noosa, Braden has been balancing intense training sessions and family life.


Braden working on his bike © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

A typical week for Braden is about 30 hours a week of training. This includes two long bikes rides of about 130-180km and two short, intense rides.

A solid playlist is key to powering through those long (and painful) training sessions.


Braden battling up a hill in Noosa © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

In Noosa, Braden has been powering through some big weeks. “Training for Kona is like playing Jenga, as the stack gets higher, it gets harder.” 

During the last six weeks, Braden has been banking the hours and building a solid fitness base.

Braden sometimes faces the ‘hurt box’ – “the place where everything hurts and I have to overcome the pain barrier.” His background of adventure racing at elite levels has taught him how to push through.


An exhausted Braden © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

“At the end of the day I have to look at myself in the mirror – why am I frustrated with something – oh that’s because I’m tired.”

In training, it’s all about hitting the right numbers – the right heart rate, the right wattage, and the right distance.

In Noosa, Braden has been focusing on gaining more power – especially in the legs.

“On race day, I need to carry muscle, but the right kind of muscle. To get my race weight, I still need to lose about 3-4 kg, but I need to make sure I have energy and I don’t get sick.” 

Six weeks ago, when Braden arrived in Noosa, he considered himself to be unfit but now, with 6 and a half weeks to go, he’s close to reaching his peak level.


Braden Currie on the couch in recovery mode © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

Recovery is key to training. “I have tools to help with a faster recovery time, including a muscle stimulator that activates the muscles to move out the lactic acid.”

Even though Braden is one of the most elite triathletes in the world, at the ned of the day, Braden is a husband and a father.

And, each day, Braden must balance family time with training and recovery.


Braden and his family walking on the beach © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

“I’m training hard, focusing on recovery, but I want to give my family the attention they deserve.”

Braden is in the pool five days a week.

He usually swims about 5km per session: 25km per week.

Braden Currie doing laps © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

In IRONMAN, the open water swim is the first event and is 2.4 miles. When you’ve finished the swim, you want to be in a strong position and not feel destroyed for the bike ride and run.

The key race day success is battling through the frustrating moments – and the pain. Every session is one step closer to Kona.

Braden labels each week as a new training block. “I’ll do anything to convince my mind to push through the fatigue.”

Nothing but the hours will prepare you for the day.

“In training, you work through the moments when everything hurts and you want to pull the pin. That’s part of being an athlete. It’s that challenge of overcoming the barrier with grit and training.”


Braden Currie reading to his daughter © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

“Finding time to properly recover is the hardest part, I don’t want to let my family down.”

Most days, Braden is up before the sun – starting his first moments of training around 5:30am.

Starting the day right with the right diet will guarantee powering through the seemingly countless training hours.

Eating good food aids quicker recovery in training.


Braden tying his shoes © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

When training for an IRONMAN triathlon, you only have yourself to compete against.

The marathon at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii may take place on the road, but Braden often hits the trails to spice up his training variety.


Braden running on the trails in Noosa © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

Braden’s key to success in 2017? Not forgetting his roots. “I have an adventure racing background. Where the racing is brutal.”

His experience as one of the most successful adventure racers in the world has allowed him to power through the challenges others may face.

“When you’re a specialist of running or riding, you have an edge. I know I’m different, so I train more broadly.”

Braden runs between 70-80km per week. That’s about two marathon per week.

“I really enjoy the physical and mental challenge of overcoming the pain. I’m drawn to it. I find it stimulating.”

Braden logs his family adventure time in his training schedule.


Braden having a moment with his son © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

“It’s important to not take on the pressures and the expectations of the outside world. To take time and to try and chill out.”

“If I maintain a certain heart rate during a family mountain bike ride or a hike, then my coach counts it towards my fatigue.”


Braden Currie going for an ocean swim © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool

“It’s important to enjoy the journey – and to not get wrapped up in the negative challenges.”

Every day is one day closer to race day: October 14.

The open ocean swim is thought to be one of the more brutal moments of the race as athletes crawl and kick their way towards the buoy.

He has one more week in Noosa, Australia  then will head to Santa Cruz, California for a final IRONMAN 70.3 race before Kona.

Six weeks out to the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Braden Currie’s mind is ready to race.


Braden swims in ocean © Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool