“I want to win the half-Ironman world champs at some point and that’s the obvious next step to try next year,” the 28-year-old from Yorkshire said.
“I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I’ve had two Olympic cycles where I’ve said I want to be on the start-line to win the race in four years’ time, and this time I’m approaching it a bit differently.”
Brownlee won the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon short course races in 2013 and 2014 where the bike leg was extended to 100km, but he has yet to compete in an event with a run longer than 10km.
As with most triathletes breaking from the ITU draft-legal circuit, he also sees Ironman 70.3 as a natural stepping-stone to Ironman, and the World Championship in Hawaii.
“I want to do some other things for the next two years. Move away a bit from Olympic distance racing, try some longer stuff, maybe try some running,” he said.
“I know that to be there in Tokyo I have to commit from two years out. So this time in two years, my focus will be definitely Tokyo… or definitely Hawaii.”
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As he suggests, the ambitions are not restricted to multisport, and he relishes the chance to take on the world’s best over 10km and the marathon.
Having run a personal best of 28:32 in California in 2014, Brownlee aborted an attempt to make the England team for the 10km in the Commonwealth Games of Glasgow, due to injury. He would welcome another chance on Gold Coast for 2018.
“I’d love to have another crack at qualifying,” he added. “But as I found last time, it is a hard thing to get right. Even the best guys don’t race many 10km. I’d like to but not to sacrifice other things.”
He’d also not rule out stepping up to the marathon, once his OIympic triathlon days are behind him.
“The marathon fits in a lot more with Ironman training than it does with Olympic distance training, so I’ll decide over the next 18 months. Unfortunately, you cannot do everything you want to in a professional sports career.”
The Ironman 70.3 World Championships return to America in 2017, and will be held in Chattanooga on 10 September. To gain a race place, Brownlee would have to accrue points at an Ironman 70.3 Worlds qualifier during the season.