Travel, training, trials and tribulations with IRONMAN® champion Braden Currie

Posted on Sunday, 3 December 2023 under IRONMAN New Zealand

IRONMAN champion Braden Currie talks about finding growth in adversity, the evolution of his training and nutrition plans, and the importance of having family by his side.

You’ve recently returned from five months training and competing overseas. What were the highlights?
It was certainly a great season! We visited 12 different countries all up, and there were some awesome learnings along the way. IRONMAN Cairns, back in June, was definitely one of the highlights. That was one of those days when everything just goes right – the training, race strategy and nutrition all fell into place. I managed to cross the line first in a course record time of 7 hours, 50 minutes and set a personal best for the run split (2 hours, 37 minutes) in the process.

Things didn’t go entirely to plan at the World Championships though?
No, they certainly didn’t. The IRONMAN World Championships in Nice was my main focus for 2023. It was a challenging course, but one that really suited my style of racing. Unfortunately, I received a five-minute penalty on the bike, which I was able to get overturned post-race, but that put an end to any hopes I had of taking out the title and made the rest of the day a battle.

What can you take away from that experience?
Once I processed things, there were definitely some good lessons to take away for the future. One is to stay focused on personal performance rather than results. As soon as I knew I wasn’t going to win in Nice due to the penalty, I lost the mental edge required to push myself to the limit needed to cross the finish line first. But in hindsight, even with the penalty, if I had stayed focused on my own numbers and goals I could still have finished well inside the top 10.

You took the family on the road with you. How was that experience?
It was amazing! Being able to take the family with me is really important. I’m definitely not one of those athletes who can spend months away from home by myself – I race better when I’m happy and I am happy when I have them around. My children (aged 10 and 15) are both really capable young people, and they love getting out and about in nature, riding their bikes and exploring new places. We knew this might be one of the last chances we had to enjoy a long block overseas together, so we certainly made the most of it!

You’ve achieved some of your best performances of your career in 2023. What do you think is behind that improvement?
Some of it probably just comes down to experience. I am really comfortable with my plan now and I am very consistent with what I do in terms of training and nutrition. For the last 18 months I’ve been working with Ben Reszel, who has taken over all aspects of my training. He’s really focused on the numbers and we do a lot of testing and measuring of different metrics and data points during training. It’s a very analytical approach, and I’m really enjoying it.

What have you learned over the years when it comes to the role of nutrition in high-performance endurance sport?
Daily nutrition is such an important part of my ongoing success. Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of different diets and eating regimes, but my nutrition is really dialed in now. I think I definitely put too much emphasis on being lean in the past, which sometimes caused me to under-fuel, so my focus now is all about ensuring I’ve got enough fuel onboard to get me through each session. To do that, we’ve really simplified my nutrition plan. The focus is on eating loads of high-quality whole foods. It’s probably what you’d call a traditional Kiwi diet, with lots of lean beef and lamb, which gives me the protein and essential nutrients I need, combined with plenty of vegetables.

As a brand ambassador for ANZCO Foods, how has your partnership with them influenced your approach to nutrition?
ANZCO Foods is pretty much the ideal partner for a professional athlete. Beef and lamb have always been an important part of my nutritional plan, but the relationship is about more than just that. The team at ANZCO Foods is genuinely committed to the sport of triathlon and IRONMAN. They’re passionate about their mission to help every Kiwi learn how New Zealand’s finest beef and lamb can help them lead a healthy life. I’m proud to help them achieve that mission in whatever way I can.

What are your goals for the next twelve months?
2024 is shaping up to be another big year! My main goal is the World Championships, which is back in Kona, Hawaii, in October 2024. But I’m also really focused on reclaiming my title at ANZCO Foods IRONMAN New Zealand in Taupō at the start of March. Aside from those two key races, I am aiming to compete in Texas, Cairns, and Frankfurt.

And, finally, what does the Kiwi summer look like for you and the Currie family?
While it is my job, I try not to take training too seriously, and as a family we love to spend time in the great outdoors, so no doubt there will be lots of camping involved. We’re also planning to load up the caravan and head to Kaikōura for three weeks for some quality time away as a family, and there will be plenty of ANZCO Foods lamb racks and beef steaks on the BBQ to fuel the fun!

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