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Going Long (again)

Despite "dying a thousand deaths" at Powerman Malaysia in 2008, 220's Nik Cook has got the Powerman bug again. Here he begins to chart his progress to Zofingen in September

Longterm readers of 220 Triathlon will remember that, in 2008, I took part in Powerman Malaysia. Despite dying a thousand deaths on the second run – an 80kg frame is not ideal for racing in high temperatures and bathroom like humidity – I managed to come 21st overall and 4th in my Age-Group. This performance qualified me for the 2009 Powerman Zofingen but I never made it to Switzerland and it remained on my to-do list.

2010 saw me focus on and win (I’m obviously better in the -40C cold) an 120-mile ultra in the Canadian Arctic. In 2011 I decided to try and find some speed in my plodding legs and qualify for the World Duathlon Championships in Gijon. Training went really well and, posting low 34-minute 10k’s, backed up with a strong bike, I started having aspirations of a medal.

But a niggle in my knee in June turned into a full blown injury and, although I retained my bike speed, come the championships in September I was forced to run conservatively and was well off the pace. I managed 19th and had a great time out there with the team but it left me feeling a bit hollow and unsatisfied.

My first thoughts straight after Gijon were to qualify for Nancy, train harder, train smarter and right the wrong but in the months after the race whenever I tried to train for running speed, the injury flared up. Also, living in the Peak District, it seems a travesty to spend time running along the canal towpath and riding the A6 in an attempt to find flat speed. I enjoy hitting the hills too much so I decided I needed a different goal for 2012.

As Powerman Zofingen is the ITU World Long Course Duathlon Championships this year, I’ll hopefully get the chance to represent Team GB again if the BTF decide what their nomination criteria are going to be and, with hilly bike and run courses, my local terrain should make for perfect training.

It’s too early to say (or admit to) what I expect to achieve in Zofingen but I’m certainly gunning for a significantly improved performance than in Gijon. With some tough training races already pencilled into my diary I’m relishing the prospect of going long again and logging some decent running and biking miles. Whether I still feel that way once I toe the start line in September is a different matter but I’m sure my journey to Zofingen will be, like all the challenges I’ve set myself, one hell of a learning curve.

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The 220 Triathlon team is made up of vastly experienced athletes, sports journalists, kit reviewers and coaches. In short, what we don't know about multisport frankly isn't worth knowing! Saying that, we love expanding our sporting knowledge and increasing our expertise in this phenomenal sport.