Patrick Lange: Record Breaker
One of the central tenets of CeramicSpeed’s philosophy is ongoing self-improvement. It’s absolutely what we’re about, and it’s a universal truth: whatever your performance level is today, and whatever your discipline, you can improve it tomorrow, next week and next year.
So it’s refreshing to know that even when you are literally the best in the world at what you do – when you are The Record Breaker – the exact same approach applies: “Success is when I’m content with my performance,” says Patrick Lange. His 2018 winning Kona time went down in history as 7 hours, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, but his philosophy remains to “always aim for my personal best.” So how does that work?
Records, goals & pressure
Winning back to back World Championships, and breaking his own record at Kona last year reinforced Patrick’s position at the top of the triathlon tree. If he wasn’t already, he’s now absolutely the one the rest have in their sights and want to overhaul.
“I already had to deal with the pressure of being the record breaker last year and it taught me a lot,” he told us. “It’s different this year. The pressure is still there but I now know how to deal with it.”
But he knows he mustn’t fall into the trap of being constantly aware of that status, and allow it to become a distraction from the season’s main objective – preparation for this October’s date in Hawaii. “Not at all. There are still days I wake up and can barely believe what has happened during the last three years.”
To improve year-on-year, of course, Lange uses a structured training approach, but not necessarily with all of the targets and milestones one might assume:
“When it comes to goals, I don’t like to work with specific numbers. That’s barely possible as you never know how things work out on race day. But I always aim for my personal best. Success is when I’m content with my performance. I set my goals for the season, and then continue to put up sub-goals as the weeks go by to keep the motivation high."
How does Patrick stay motivated in the day-to-day training?
“Well, in the end it’s not always about motivation but simply about getting things done,” he tells us. “There are days I’d rather stay in bed and sleep in. But when I have a swim scheduled at 7am, I just set the timer, grab my coffee (that helps a lot!) and I’m ready to go.”
Training to improve the bike leg
“I still have my biggest potential on the bike,” says Patrick, “so my goal is to improve year by year without any negative impact on the swim and run. St Moritz is one of my favourite places for training. In general, I like to train in places that are close to the mountains.
“I vary my cycling routes quite a lot as I tend to get bored really easily. Plus, I’m fortunate enough to spend a couple of months in training camps away from home which means my training routine gets spiced up anyway.”
The season’s training switches between altitude and flat-and-fast, and moves from one climate to another for acclimatising Lange’s body to the conditions of the year’s major races.
“I feel it’s really helpful if I start my season in January to March pretty flat, and go to ride mountains from April to August, before heading to flat and fast – and hot – in September to build up for Kona.
“This year I raced Ironman 70.3 Vietnam in the beginning of the year. It’s probably the hottest race I’ve done so far, thus my preparations were in Thailand so my body could get used to the heat. The same works for Kona – I always spend the last weeks before the race in similar climate conditions.”
Getting the best of the bike & components
Like any triathlete, equipment is an important part of Patrick’s preparation. It’s not just about having the best brands, but developing familiarity, consistency and confidence throughout training and being ready come the big day.
“I am proud to ride the best bike on the market [Canyon Speedmax CF SLX] and I’m even more proud to get the extra advantage with personalised equipment such as the blue CeramicSpeed OSPW System.
“There is a major gain in the overall performance with all the components. It’s stunning how less friction these components have, and over the course of an Ironman you simply want to have every advantage you can get out of your equipment.
“I’ve been working with the CeramicSpeed team now for four consecutive years and they keep impressing me! Even if they are the best in their field, the quality of the products gets better every season. On top of all that they give us athletes – including the Age Group athletes – the chance to have a premium bike service before the race, which will have a massive effect on the race day performance!”
And the big race day will be upon us soon. We’re excited for the Kona World Championships, and as usual, our team will be there supporting our many athletes, including Patrick, and will be making new friends.
All the athletes on Hawaii in mid-October will have their own goals, their own measurements of success and their own plans for self-improvement. All will go away with new memories. But for Patrick, whatever his finishing positions earlier in the season, he’ll be arriving on the island as number one, dealing with the pressure of being The Record Breaker, and looking to improve his performance. When you’re already the best in the world, maintaining a mindset of improving on the best is a great place to be.