Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia 2016 winner, Thomas Bruins, talks to us ahead of this year’s race about how he found the transition from elite track running to duathlon, his recent Powerman Series wins and what he thinks his chances are for victory in 2017!
Thomas, you were originally an elite track runner, how hard was it to start cycling competitively?
Initially I missed track running and racing, but now I love cycling so much I prefer it to running! I found cycling very natural and that I had a good ability for climbing, but it has taken a few years to really become stronger.
Does this give you an advantage in duathlon?
Sort of. Spending years as a track runner has given me strong running biomechanics, which helps me run quickly and efficiently. However, it does not help you run strong, particularly over long-distance duathlons. Plenty of the world’s best in Powerman look terrible when they’re running but are very strong!
Can you describe the main differences between track running and duathlon running?
I would compare track running to using a thin sword and duathlon running to using a big axe. Track running is all about being fast and elastic – it’s about being designed to run. In duathlon your muscles must also be strong for the bike, so you must compromise your speed for strength. You may often feel strong and heavy but not light and fast.
How do you cope with the challenging weather conditions in Putrajaya?
Putrajaya will be hot and humid. I have done a lot of training so I can quickly acclimatise to these sorts of conditions. I have been riding indoors and also in the highest heat of the day.
How have your preparations gone for this year’s event?
Preparations have gone well. I have completed three Powerman races since December so I’m very race-fit.
I have been doing a good mix of running and cycling – usually two hard sessions of each along with a long ride and run.
What is your diet like?
Everything in moderation! I eat a balanced diet but I also enjoy my food and drinks.
What makes Powerman Malaysia a good event?
Powerman Malaysia is a massive race. With so many competitors there is a real energy around the event. The course is also very fast which I like.
Do you think you will go under your 2016 time this year?
The run is slightly different this year so I think it will generally be a faster year.
What do you think your chances are of winning this year?
I go into this race with a lot of experience and also last year’s winner, so my chances are pretty good. However, everything needs to go well on race day. A lot can happen in nearly 3 hours of racing.
You won Powerman Thailand in January, how well has this set you up for this race?
Every time you complete a race you are able to learn something new. The Asian series has given me great experience over the summer which I will definitely draw upon this weekend.
Any tips for people competing in this event for the first time?
Don’t do anything different or try anything new on, or right before, race day. Relax and enjoy the event and its atmosphere. Remember to keep well hydrated during and after the race.