Alistair Brownlee’s season review

My season started about a month before my first race; the Madrid World Championship Series race at the beginning of June. After a long layoff due to a femoral stress fracture I was unsure whether or not to race but I got in 4 weeks of good training and went into the race with the mindset that I had nothing to lose.  The race went almost perfectly and with a big helping of luck, I won the race in the last few hundred meters sprinting away Courtney Atkinson and crossing the line absolutely exhausted.

My next race and my first real goal, after coming back from injury, was the European Championships four weeks later. I struggled to recover from the exertion in Madrid but once I did, training started going fantastically. The weather was perfect in June and I got in some of the best training I have ever done while sleeping at Altitude every night. I travelled last minute to Athlone for the Europeans and arrived to perfect racing conditions. I really enjoyed racing and Athlone was a great event. The crowds were amazing and the support for British athletes was the best I have ever experienced. In the race, the field split straight away on the swim and a group of five formed at the start of the bike including Jonny, Javier Gomez and me. We worked well together and Jonny put in a massive amount of work to keep us away from the chasers so that we hit transition with a lead of over a minute. I felt great as soon as I started running and pulled away straight away. It's very rare when Gomez is in the race that you can have the luxury of winning by a big margin so I made sure I enjoyed the finishing straight with about a thousand high fives.

The middle of my season was based around having a good race in London (Hyde Park) WCS race. A week before I went to Paris to race in the French Grand Prix. I felt fresh and fit racing in front of the Eifel tower and came first with Jonny second. I felt calm and confident going into London. It is good to race at home and I knew I was fit and ready for it. On the day as soon as I started racing I knew something wasn't quite right but that doesn't mean you can't still have a good race! I felt flat on the bike and as soon as I hit the run I really knew I wasn't great. And the race soon came down to three; Gomez, Jonny and me. At this point I knew all I had to do was hang on to win a medal and I was confident in my speed in the last few hundred meters. I was running along with nothing in my mind apart from focussing on keeping up with the runner in front of me and with about 400m to go there was only Gomez and me left. I remember Gomez just starting to pull away from me and trying to hold on, then I remember nothing until I woke up on a hospital bed covered in a mountain of ice. I remember asking where I had finished and couldn't understand how 9 people had past me in the last 300m. There was not much wrong with me going into the race. Maybe a slight stomach bug which meant I wasn't absorbing any food or liquids which led to sever dehydration and overheating. Thank you to all of the medical staff who helped bring me back round, I would have been in big trouble without such good care.

I felt really tired for a few days after but there was no obvious signs of anything wrong with me so I cracked on with training in the hope that I could be ok for Kitzbuhel WCS. I hadn't felt right going into Kitzbuhel but hoped after a few days rest I would be ready to go. On race day, unfortunately, I wasn't and after 4km of the running I had to ease up and just finish the race. I decided to have a week off and went on holiday with my parents to the French Alps. I had a great week and then a short week at home before heading to France for another Grand Prix race. Still not really knowing what to expect I raced and my team, Sartrouville, controlled the race to perfection to cross the line 1,2 and 3! From France I went to Girona for a pre World Grand Final preparation camp. I enjoyed a good 10 days of training with Jonny and Tom Bishop in the sun. Even though my top end running wasn't what it had been, I really wanted to race. It was a tough decision but in the end of the day I love to race, it's what I train for and since I had just made it across the line in my last two races I had nothing to lose!

Arriving in Budapest I was so glad it was a bit chilly; no chance of getting heat exhaustion here! I wasn't massively confident about my running so I decided to take out the high intensity bits of the run and set off out of transition easy and build into it. Just keeping safe in the race was a challenge but I stayed near the front of the swim and the bike, away from suspect bike handlers and my hands firmly on the bars. Off the bike, I set off easy and after the first kilometre there was only Gomez and me. I couldn't believe it. I spent the whole run controlling the pace and waiting for him to surge past me. I knew I couldn't go too far into the red with much of the race left so I decided to leave it to the finish. Rounding the final corner I just went for it and hoped Gomez couldn't get round me. Fortunately he didn't and I won. It was a fantastic win after a really tough season which included my best and worst ever races, periods of being at my fittest, a stress fracture, fatigue, illness and heat exhaustion.

I am now enjoying my end of season break and looking forward to getting started into some winter training in November.