Henning's game plan - have fun, find success
Rasmus Henning is off to a great start to the 2012 season with victories in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March and Half Challenge Fuerteventura this month in Spain’s Canary Islands.
We tracked down the Danish Zipp®-sponsored pro triathlete to get the latest on his training, approach to equipment and thoughts on the season.
Zipp: Congratulations to your strong start this year. Looking back at this past offseason, what did you do to help prepare you for these races?
Rasmus: Thank you very much. Living here at Playitas Resort in the Canaries has allowed me to have super consistent winter training without any unscheduled breaks due to bad weather, illness, injury, etc. While my main target lies later in the season at Ironman® Hawaii in October, my coach Matt Dixon and I found it important for me to race well early this season in order to rebuild that all-so important confidence which will be needed for success in Kona. I have been focused and dedicated toward my training, but at the same time really enjoyed it. When you enjoy the long and hard training it usually pays of at the races.
Zipp: In the past you’ve suffered from horrible leg cramps. Have you made specific changes, such as with nutrition or hydration, to help prevent such cramps?
Rasmus: Throughout 2011 I pretty much suffered from cramps at one level or another in all races. This was obviously hugely frustrating and almost made me give up the idea of coming back on top again. Matt and I talked through a number of different solutions – also with some specialists – and a few tweaks to my hydration setup before and during races seem to have made a difference. Now I just keep my fingers crossed that it is a sustainable solution, and not just a lucky punch that has worked out for a couple of races.
Zipp: You often use the 808 Firecrest® as your front wheel on race day. You previously rode the Zipp 1080. What do you see as the biggest differences between the 1080 and 808 Firecrest, as far as speed and handing?
Rasmus: I love riding both the Zipp 1080 and the 808 Firecrest, and they are both amazingly fast. With the 808 Firecrest it seems like the handling has been upped an additional notch, which is great on technical courses.
Zipp: You also commonly ride the Zipp Sub-9 Disc. What is it about that disc that you’ve found beneficial?
Rasmus: The bare sound of that disc triggers my brain into thinking, “faster, faster!” I am confident that I am riding the best wheel there is. Knowing that I probably save a few watts compared to my competition boosts my confidence about my chances of outrunning everybody and winning the race.
Zipp: After fantastic fifth place in 2009 at your Kona debut your past two races in Hawaii have not gone as you had hoped. Are you making any significant changes in your preparation for Kona this year?
Rasmus: I might have been doing some over-thinking in Kona the past two years. It seems that I work better when I try to relax and just focus on bringing my own act together without too much drama, so maybe I need to almost take it a little bit less seriously this year.
Zipp: You are married with children. As you get older and further into your career how do you balance family with everything demanded by being a professional triathlete?
Rasmus: It has not been easy, and I still can’t claim to have discovered the perfect way to balance it all without occasionally leaving my children, my wife or myself unhappy along the way. As you can read in my book, “Pro – Chasing the Dream", which is scheduled to be out as an e-book on Amazon by the end of April, it is an constant dilemma of wanting to make superhuman athletic performances at the same time as wanting to be that normal father and husband. It is simply an equation that does not resolve.