Ironman WA - A Break Through Performance - Steve Dornik
I have coached Steve Dornik for Ironman racing since 2015. Consistency in results have reflected Steve’s methodical approach to everything he does, both in life and sport.
At Ironman WA in 2015, Steve’s 3rd Ironman but first Ironman with me as his coach he went 5:19hrs on the bike.
In May this year at the North American Championships in Texas Steve posted 5:20hr for his bike split.
At Ironman WA last weekend Steve rode a 5:01hr bike split. This equates to a 19min bike PB on the course, which is around 2km/hr. faster on average over 180kms.
This is a major breakthrough moment in Steve’s Ironman cycle leg, which he and I as his coach are most satisfied with. Nearly 20mins faster is a major shift in bike form in Steve’s normally consistent, metronome like results. But the way he did it was even more impressive.
It was very measured, averaging 77%FTP for the first 90kms and then 72%FTP for the second 90kms, giving him an average of 75%FTP for the whole ride. This saw Steve come off the bike well within himself and ready for a marathon in what was brutally hot 36degree heat.
The heat and conditions of the day also made this bike split even more impressive.
Steve then stuck the marathon in 3:49hrs, running a consistently strong pace till around 37kms, where accumulated fatigue and the heat of the day started to take its toll.
But after speaking at length re the mental game on the run pre-race, Steve emptied the tank in the final 5kms and came over the finish line having just exhausted all his chips, leaving nothing out on the course.
On paper it wasn’t his fastest ever IM marathon (3:37hrs his best) but given the conditions it was his best ever run effort to date and especially on the back of a 19min bike PB. As I have always said you ride for show and run for dough, Steve smashed his bike PB did it well within himself and then had enough for the marathon.
It is such a rewarding coaching moment seeing this performance from Steve. We tried a number of different things to improve his cycling for his last Ironman at Texas and whilst it didn’t happen that day for him, the methodical approach we took through the Texas prep and into Ironman WA last weekend finally paid dividends.
Steve went from coming 38th in his age group at Texas to 14th at WA. Whilst Steve hasn’t to this point bothered the podium, it was the first time he went to the Hawaii Ironman rolldown ceremony post-race with a chance to get a rolldown spot. That was so satisfying to see as his coach.
We have to continually learn and better ourselves. Steve asked me to set a program to improve him as an Ironman in 2017 and through his effort and trust in the process we finally got the result at WA.
Both Steve and I, as athlete and coach are better for this experience. Never stop learning and 2017 is a great example of that…
Great race at Ironman WA Steve Dornik, one for the books.