In just a few short weeks, athletes from around the world will be toeing the line in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for the IRONMAN World Championship. We checked in with Quintana Roo professional and age-group triathletes to see what their road to Kona looks like a month out from race day.
"I am spending a good portion of my final build into Kona training in Lawrence, Kansas. Coach Julie has most of the athletes on her squad who have qualified for Kona at this camp. This is definitely not the typical “hotbed” for triathletes, but it has heat, humidity, wind, good pool and gym access, and constant rolling hills so it’s actually a pretty good place to prep for Kona. The biggest thing I am focusing on in this build is sticking to the same process that has brought me success in previous races. Basically, I focus on executing each training session as closely to prescribed as possible. After the session, I look at the file and learn what I can from it, then really try to forget about it and focus on the next session.
Attention to the little details in a high-volume build is extremely important. It is easy to put off or just not do the important things like daily mobility sessions, proper recovery, nutrition, etc. Also, it can be easy to get behind on sleep, which is extremely important to recovery. Being in the camp environment with athletes who can push you helps me be able to find a little more to give when appropriate in workouts, but also helps keep me accountable to doing all of the 'little things.'"
"I am very grateful to be able to toe the start line at the IM World Championships for the third year in a row. I have learned a lot from both of my races in Kona as well as my races in 2018 and it will be exciting to put those lessons to work on race day. After a rough day in IM Lake Placid, I decided to get in a solid 12 week build towards Kona. In training, I’ve focused on building up a solid long bike ride on my PRsix and made some adjustments to my fit, regaining comfort in the aero position. With these two changes, I have been having a blast on two wheels and have gained some confidence in my riding.
I have placed a huge focus on recovery with lots of sleep, solid nutrition during training with Gatorade and before/after training with Klean Athlete and Juice Performer, Normatecs and Epsom salt baths. This has resulted in consistent training from week to week, which in turn helps to build mental toughness and resilience. I look forward to racing in Augusta 70.3 and then heading out to Kona for the final prep before race day. Excited to Dream Big and Make it Happen!"
"My road to Kona 2018 started in mid-2017 when I wasn’t tracking to qualify for Kona 2017. For me this was a failure. Kona is arguably the most recognized annual race in triathlon. It transcends distances, appeals to most age groupers and is renowned for the challenging conditions.
While most other of the world’s top professionals were preparing for Kona 2017, I began my quest to gather the valuable KPR (Kona points ranking) points for 2018. I weathered the storm, the not so good races, and ended my summer season of racing on a high with a win at 70.3 Boulder.
Ultimately, I qualified for Kona 2018, so it was all worth it. Right now, I’m preparing for Kona in Australia. I’ve raced there twice before and have a fair idea of what I’m in for. It’s the Super Bowl of triathlon. All eyes are watching. It’s a fantastic week of events, culminating in the race. I’m nervous for the outcome but trying to focus on the process. It’s a long difficult day, not just for me, but for everyone. It’s what we crave as athletes, challenging ourselves and overcoming."
"After my 10th place finish in Kona last year, it was fairly easy to qualify again this year with some solid podiums throughout. I took a mid-season break in May and then started building back up. This year I got the crazy idea to do 517 miles in 2 days on my PRsix on June 13-14. It was a blast and helped build up some great bike resilience and endurance.
As focus narrows in on Kona specific training, I have found the best thing for me to do is go to The Woodlands, Texas and stay with some friends. I love the training environment down there and Magnolia Masters is a great swim group to join in with. The heat and humidity are very similar to Kona, as well.
I have some base mental prep, which includes meditation 1-2 times a day throughout the year. The final 6-8 weeks I have pictures of the Kona course up all over and I carry pictures of Kona or a few of my competitors on my rides and runs. It’s a little corny but it helps keep me focused and build up that passion to beat them even more. I have way too many power phrases that I use to help get the most out of me each session a couple of them: this is not enough, you want it more, believe your dreams, let go of all doubt, motivated by the possibility, today is your day, you’re making it happen today. Closer to the race, about 1-2 weeks out, I start visualization of my perfect race execution."
There’s no perfect road to Kona. There are many ways to get there and many challenges along the way. This year has been a solid year without any mishaps and some great solid racing. I had the opportunity to race Ironman Canada this year and that was something I always wanted to do in my career. It is a relatively late Ironman in relation to Kona leaving less time for blocks of training. This can be a good thing as athletes sometimes overdue their preparation and end up leaving their great race in training.
I will gain a lot of fitness from Whistler by taking a good recovery block afterwards and not rushing back too soon. This allows me to be excited and prepared for some short hard blocks in preparation for Kona. It’s sometimes hard to trust that the fitness will be there after a break but that’s what a good coach and paying attention to your history will tell you.
I’ve done my first main block of building back the efforts and now it’s time to sharpen the spear before launching it in Kona. I’m in Maui now to finish this final preparation in order to adapt to heat and have a focused block without distractions. Having purchased a new house in May that needs a lot of renovation it’s easy to get distracted or not take as much time for recovery. When I’m in Maui I can put in some really excellent work because I really commit to my recovery. Eating and hydrating well for workouts and spending time with my legs up. The time with your legs up doing nothing also gives your mind a break, I try to just relax and not get caught up on trying to do something. Eat, sleep, train, relax and repeat.
I’m keen for the hard work to come as I feel fresh and ready for it. Bring on Kona!
"I did my first Ironman in Taupo this year and won my age group, so I qualified for Hawaii. When I was training for Taupo, I had a very heavy work schedule as I work in the wine industry operating machinery on vineyards (50+ hour work weeks), so there wasn't enough time in the day to complete the amount of training I needed to.
This time around, I hopped across the ditch to Australia to train in the warmth with my coach and the T:Zero Multisport squad for 4 months. I'm definitely feeling a lot more prepared this time around, but still nervous and excited for my second ever Ironman to be in Hawaii."
"Having joined the Parachute Regiment (British Airborne Forces) in 1990, I was asked in 1992 to take part in an Olympic distance triathlon representing the Army, which was the beginning of what became regular Olympic distance triathlons through '92 to '95. I took the plunge in 1997 to do my first Ironman in Lanzarote which I completed in 12 hours 45 minutes, so I was happy with that.
Since then I've taken part in 16 Ironman triathlons around the world, leading to my application for a Legacy slot last year for what would have been my 50th birthday in Kona, but that didn't happen. I was looking forward to doing it in 2019 but got an offer to do this year's 40th anniversary race, hence where I am now.
A big thank you to Quintana Roo for providing me with the PR6 that I'm loving and so looking forward to taking around the course in Kona in a few weeks. Fast, stylish, comfortable and a pleasure to ride - it has everything a long distance triathlon bike should have."
"My road to Kona began 7 years ago when I took up the sport of triathlon - I was keen to lose weight after having my third child. I had a running background so the transition to a multi-sport activity was a novelty. I soon became successful on the local circuit, winning a few age group prizes. It became obvious to me that I was suited to long distance events and took on the challenge of an Ironman event in Lanzarote. I was delighted that I came first in my age group and accepted my Kona slot.
Preparation for an event like this is vital, and it is important to set out a plan many months in advance. I followed a plan that was achievable yet not too daunting. Winter training in Ireland proved to be difficult and many hours were spent on the turbo in my kitchen. Training consisted of approximately 15-20 hours per week. My biggest challenge is in finding time for recovery. I rarely sit down, perhaps it helps for an endurance event. I am conscious that there are a lot of things competing for my time. I try to be mindful of my children’s growing needs. I feel that my training impacts positively on my children and I hope that perhaps they see me as a good role model. I have never raced in Kona before and I am unbelievably excited about heading to Hawaii. I feel that my prep is going great & my PRsix Quintana Roo bike is a dream."
"Ironman World Championships 2018 will be my first time racing in Kona! Racing Kona has always been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I was introduced to sport at a very young age as my parents were into running and the NBC coverage was entertainment every December. Also, my aunt was racing and placing in Kona in the 80’s. So needless to say, I was exposed and knew someday I wanted to be there.
Without a doubt I would not be racing the Ironman World Championship this year if it wasn’t for the amazing support system I have behind me. A tremendous amount of gratitude is given to my wife and immediate family - they get me and why I do this crazy sport! QT2 Systems with the master plan, Steve from Castelli who manages the Elite Team, my support system back home, and last by not least my newest supporter, Quintana Roo for hooking it up with one sweet and fast bike! Thanks to everyone!"
"The biggest challenge of competing in an Ironman, and in this case the World Championship Ironman, is not the race itself, but all the training that you need to do just to be ready. The training is the hardest part, race day is the party. I have raced serval Ironman’s, and will be racing Kona this year for the second time.
Even though I have been in triathlon for 22 years, and am quite experienced, I still get nervous and excited. And I guess that happens for most of us racing - no matter how hard you prepared for the race. Just before a race, it's all about controlling your mind, since most of the race, is actually happening between your ears.
Will it hurt? Most likely! But as you probably know, feeling sorry for yourself won't help you much. Remember why you are doing this. Remember to enjoy it. Hopefully you put a lot of work into succeeding with this project. Remember, the training is the hard part, race day is the party. Now go and enjoy!"
"I qualified for my 4th trip to the Ironman World Championships at Ironman Florida. Qualifying 11 months prior to the race provided an opportunity to replace my bike and test a new nutrition plan. My new QR PR6 (in Neutron Pink!) is a fun, light, and fast bike that is so comfortable that it feels like an extension of me. Cycling on my QR is my happy place.
One disadvantage of qualifying early is that you have a long time to think about the race and training. The best training advice I received was to limit the Kona-specific focus to about 10-12 weeks. I decided to spend the first half of the season racing local sprint triathlons plus competing alongside challenged athletes in the push-assist category for the Kyle Pease Foundation. The decision to not race long-course triathlons early in the year has kept my training fresh physically and mentally for the Kona build.
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