Didrik Hermansen took second at the 2015 Transgrancanaria to kick off a breakout season. In the following interview, Didrik talks about what the highlight of his 2015 racing was, what he attributes his breakthrough season to, and what his favorite part of the Transgrancanaria course is.
Didrik Hermansen Pre-2016 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
Pre-2016 Transgrancanaria: Didrik Hermansen
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Didrik Hermansen before the 2016 Transgrancanaria. How are you, Didrik?
Didrik Hermansen: I’m fine. Back again.
iRunFar: You were the runner-up last year. Are you looking to improve upon that this year?
Hermansen: Hopefully. Just one spot.
iRunFar: One spot? That wouldn’t be so bad. You had a great year last year all around with your run here, your win at Lavaredo, and your good run at the IAU Trail Championships. What was the highlight of your season?
Hermansen: It’s always fun to win. Lavaredo was really, really nice, but I think this was one of my first big races which went well. So it was without a doubt that I was going to come back here this year.
iRunFar: Your whole 2015 was easily your best ultrarunning season, yes? What do you attribute that to? Why do you think that was?
Hermansen: Yes. I think I’m a conservative runner, so my training has increased every year. I think last year was fun to finally get some results back from all the training in earlier years. So I think this year is going to be even better.
iRunFar: So each year you just incrementally train a little bit more?
Hermansen: Yes, increase a little bit more both in speed and the volume.
iRunFar: Do you approach racing the same way like if you run the same course again, do you try to go a little bit faster?
Hermansen: Sometimes I do, but I’m an easy person. If I do the same races this year than last year, hopefully the results are a little bit better.
iRunFar: We were just inside and you were with Sondre Amdahl, Gediminas Grinius, and Jonas Buud is here. What’s with all the Northern Europeans coming down here either having done great or being a favorite?
Hermansen: Back in Scandinavia, it’s cold now. To stand here almost without clothes under the sun, we just love to be down here.
iRunFar: So a little bit of vacation along with a good run?
Hermansen: Yeah, you know, it’s almost 10% of the population in Norway travel to the Canary Islands every year.
iRunFar: Wow, so you’re one of the 10%.
Hermansen: It’s huge. So I’m one of them.
iRunFar: It probably didn’t take too much convincing to get Ida down here?
Hermansen: No, hopefully not.
iRunFar: How has your training gone this past winter?
Hermansen: It’s gone well. I’m doing a lot of treadmill, a little bit of cross-country skiing, and some snow running. I’m training as I hoped and expected.
iRunFar: Obviously you figured it out last year, but how do you train for the lot of vertical in this race when you’re on a treadmill or in the snow?
Hermansen: I just push the incline button as much as it goes. I was here four weeks ago and ran the course.
iRunFar: So, a little training camp?
Hermansen: Yes, a training camp which I also did last year, and that went well. I’ve copy-pasted the same last weeks as earlier.
iRunFar: Obviously you and all the other runners want to do as well as you can, but do you have any inside competition between you and Sondre and Jonas…?
Hermansen: No, not really. I want to win. I know I have to beat them all to win. It’s as easy as that. Of course, it’s nice to be the best Norwegian.
iRunFar: Do you think you have that title likely?
Hermansen: Yeah, I hope so.
iRunFar: Any other top Norwegian talent we should know about here?
Hermansen: There are a lot of talented Norwegians but not too many here this year. Mari Mauland from Norway, she’s running the 125. Watch out for her.
Hermansen: She was running with us several weeks ago, and she’s in shape.
iRunFar: I’m sure you’ve been keeping some track of Jonas. Is it going to be pretty hard to beat him here?
Hermansen: I think he’s the man to beat.
iRunFar: Why is that?
Hermansen: I think he almost never runs any bad races. He’s representing every time, I think. I think he’s better in the mountains than probably many think. I think he’s really good in the mountains also. I ran Les Templiers with him one-and-a-half years ago, and the road speed that he has, it’s going to be hard.
iRunFar: You don’t want to be a couple minutes up on him in the last 40k.
Hermansen: A half-an-hour? No, from Ayagaures at 19km to go, it’s very, very fast. It’s runnable. It suits Jonas good.
iRunFar: On that side of the training, if you’re training to climb, you can put the treadmill up. How do you prepare for the descents because there are 8,000 meters of descent here?
Hermansen: Yeah, that’s the hard part. I am training running downhill also outside the whole year and also I think I can smash my legs quite well when I run fast on a treadmill also. I know you can make the treadmill go negative. It’s okay but not the same as actually running these trails.
iRunFar: You have run the course last year. You’ve been at two training camps, one each year. What’s your favorite part of the course?
Hermansen: I think it’s from Tirma to Fontanales.
iRunFar: Why is that?
Hermansen: I love running in the night with the headlamp. It’s a shame we can’t see it in the daylight, but also small villages and easy running and a little bit up and down.
iRunFar: A little contour running around the side?
Hermansen: I like that side.
iRunFar: What does that side of the island look like? I haven’t been there in the day before.
Hermansen: It’s much more vegetation. It’s much more hilly than in this area. It’s not a whole other island, but it’s something else. I’m looking forward to it.
iRunFar: In general, it looks like we’re going to have good weather this weekend. It’s kind of windy here. The weather can be an issue here, but generally it looks pretty good. One thing that can kind of be a challenge here is the Calima winds with all the sand. They were around some in last year’s race. Did you have any problems with the sand?
Hermansen: Actually, I felt like I was having a cold some in the night because of the Calima, but I was told the Calima was going to end this evening, I think. Hopefully it’s getting better.
iRunFar: I’d heard the same. Hopefully it will be gone. Otherwise, it just gave you a little irritation? Not too bad.
Hermansen: Yeah, but it’s the same for everybody.
iRunFar: No matter what the conditions, good luck out there, Didrik.
Hermansen: Thanks. Thank you.