Earlier this week, we interviewed New Zealand’s Kyle Smithahead of his debut at the IRONMAN World Championships in St. George on May 7.
Physical, fit, confident and relaxed, Smith, at just 24, is delighted to be “off the radar.” Given his particular strengths, the PTO World Ranking is just outside the top 20, and it may be a little surprising that Lanzarote is already impressive this year with a 70.3.
If Smith is to make another leap forward – which will be just his second full-distance start – then perhaps a small part of that is down to the help of one of the missing men, Jan Frodno.
Well, there’s still a good time.
The train to success?
Smith has been training with the legend in Girona, Spain for the past six months…but how did that happen? Have you seen the movie “Sliding Door”? In the case of Kyle, taking the train instead of the plane changed his career direction, as he explained:
“Basically at the Collins Cup, I crashed and I had a little hematoma in my hip. I wasn’t in the best shape and for various reasons I was struggling all summer in Europe trying to find the form I wanted .The fatigue of traveling and being away from home is rendering me tired. My game is good, but I’m not training super well at all.
“I was literally at the Barcelona airport, going to fly to the 70.3 World Championships, but I had a hematoma and I wasn’t feeling well, and then our flight was canceled. I was sitting there, and for the first time in my life I had a kind of needle falling Moments, I thought, ‘What am I doing?’.
“I think, I just go (for it), play reactively and don’t feel in my own mind that I’m in the shape I want. So, we literally got on the train in Barcelona and headed for about an hour. out of Girona and figured it out. We found a place to stay on the train and everything was fine.”
Getting up early brings unexpected dividends
“A few days later, at random early in the morning, I got up to go for a run, then went out, and there was still January. It was so weird because no one gets up early in Spain, so it was just the two of us outside chatting.
“I talked about St George and he totally got it, the decision. We went for a run and it was really like a house on fire. We had very similar personalities, liked to laugh and joke and became really good friends.
“A run turned into a ride, then the ride turned into ‘Hey, let’s swim tomorrow,’ and then on the basis of friendship, we started training together. He’s going to race in California [Ed. ultimately cancelled] I was going to play a few other games and then we decided, if I stay in Girona, why don’t we join forces and do something like this?
“I don’t believe in fate, but it’s almost too good to be true, and these little things that happen for some reason, just sort of work out. That’s why I’m in Girona. We now have a An apartment that really turns this place into a home, which is pretty cool.”
maturity and experience
Had a detailed conversation with Kyle at Summerlin last year and he’s definitely an athlete and someone more mature than his age. I suspect Kyle’s decision not to go to St. George was the kind of decision that is considered the ultimate professional Frodino would approve.
“I think it’s Young’s spirit, putting everything on the line – he never backs down, but he also makes sure he’s 100% ready. Professionalism too – I think I’ve earned his respect a bit , he said I have a mature mind about a young body.”
While Smith has matured, the decades of experience Frodino possesses are invaluable:
“The biggest takeaway for me is the mistakes he’s made (in the past); he can see that I’m making them, even before I make them, almost. I have a tendency to knock myself to the ground and need to Pulling the reins back – training with Jane is a lot of that in the beginning, not every day has to be hard. It’s pretty much fun to back off with almost confidence so you can work harder.
“We gave our all for St George – obviously I still do – but unfortunately Young accepted his little trouble. We committed to that in November, to each other and the training programme, we really He was training the house and unfortunately apparently picked up that little problem that was hardly his own fault, which was really bad.
“After St George, we’re going to get back into it and move on.”
Training Smith was more than “doing what Young did,” but saw a way of working together between Dan Laurent (Young’s advisor) and Kyle’s coach, Tim Brazier.
“We have to be very careful about this. At my training age, we were worried that training might be a little too much for me, but it ended up being really good. It’s all based on Jan’s plan, but if that makes sense, it It’s personal to me. My coach basically still gives me the program, but he communicates with Dan just to connect as much as possible.
“In the last few months, maybe Jan has gone up the hill, I went to Lanzarote, or now I’m getting ready for St. George, Jan’s training is very different and we connect as much as possible, But at the end of the day, it’s still Tim Brazier guiding me, but just trying to make it all work.
“It’s really good. Sometimes I might need more rest because Young has fallen behind him in efficiency in that training era, so he can handle a lot of things. Sometimes I tend to need more rest. Every day I can play really well. Great power, swim fast, run fast – but Jan is just too efficient, he keeps going like a German locomotive. I have a big engine, but I think I’m a petrol, he’s a diesel !
“I think my triathlon is in good shape – but you never know because you can’t replicate a full triathlon in training. That’s what I’m happy to find out. Will my form transfer to racing? ?”