On 13th October 2012, Australian professional triathlete Pete Jacobs won his first Ironman World Championship title, making it the 6th victory by an Australian male in a row. In this feature, we trace his achievements and titles over the years as a rising professional triathlete as well as his preparation prior to his victorious claim of this year’s prestigious Ironman World Championships title in Kona, Hawaii.

Selected Career Highlights

2011

2nd- World Championship Hawaii Ironman

1st- Philippines Ironman 70.3

1st- Ironman Australia

3rd- Singapore Ironman 70.3

2010

3rd- Ironman Western Australia

9th- World Championship Hawaii Ironman

1st – Forster Olympic Distance Triathlon

1st- Philippines Ironman 70.3

2009

1st- Nepean Triathlon

8th- World Championship Hawaii Ironman

2nd- Ironman Australia

1st- Australian long course championships

2008

2nd- Canberra Half Ironman

3rd- Singapore Ironman 70.3

1st- Busselton Half Ironman

Since 2009, Jacobs displayed consistent performance in his athletic career, finishing within the top 10 positions in major Ironman races. The crucial question is, what went into Jacobs’ training preparations that allowed him to make the leap and finally lay claim to the much coveted World Championship title this year?

Preparation prior to Ironman World Championships victory

After recovering from a biomechanical imbalance in February/March, Jacobs won the Cairns 70.3 in June with an excellent bike ride. Jacobs and his wife, Jaimie moved to Noosa, Queensland in April for several weeks so that he could focus on his training. Jaimie had made a big sacrifice to support Jacobs by leaving her job in Syndey.

Subsequently, they moved to moved to the States for 6 weeks and Jacob did 3 races and his validation Ironman to secure his entry to Kona. Lack of long hours on the bike, travel, solid run sessions meant all his races in the US were pretty average. On hindsight, it was a good break from his routine training and kept him from overdoing himself mentally.

After that it was back to Noosa for 7 weeks to ramp up preparation for Kona. With a good build-up and without any stress from the previous few months, Jacobs was fresher and more prepared physically and psychologically compared to previous years. He kept to the same weekly routine with more recovery intervals and easier run and bike sessions. Swimming routine was the usual, kept low and manageable.

Seeking the right people, doing the right sessions, asking for help where he needed it, people offering timely help and doing everything he could to be as fresh, fit and strong as possible on race day were critical factors to Jacobs’ success. In addition, the confidence and support from his sponsors allowed him to focus solely on the important goals of training and performing at a great level.

Jacobs’ weapon of choice

Jacobs’ workhorse: Boardman Air/TT/9.8 SRAM Red with Zipp Firecrest 808s
Photo: SRAM
 (https://www.theroaddiaries.com/)

As fellow bike enthusiasts, we must be wondering what about how Jacobs’ bike looks like. The bicycle is perhaps one of the most important and technical aspects of the race as the Ironman triathlete typically spends more than 4 hours on it for the bike leg of the race.

In summary, having the right combination of sufficient training as well as staying physically and mentally fresh, with the support of loved ones and sponsors gave Jacobs the motivation and edge which helped him achieve victory at the Ironman Championships this year. One important takeaway is not to over train as it would usually lead to more harm than benefit, although this might not be an easy balance to achieve, especially for athletes who are competing at the professional level.