Monday, February 1, 2016

How To Qualify For Kona

Common Traits of World Class Athletes

I've had several athletes qualify for a world championships every year for over five years now, across Ironman, 70.3 and duathlon. While some of the details of their training have been different, they all share common traits in their approach to achieving qualification.

Kona Threshold Bike Fitness

“Go fast when the race is slow”
- Robbie Ventura

Once you’ve demonstrated a deep understanding of my Principles of Pace, the next step in your development is considering how and where to apply additional effort into your event.

I’m going to share a case study that will help illustrate strategic hammering!

Fatigue Curves for the Kona Athlete

In my last article in our How to Qualify series I looked at how some typical benchmark workouts may progress across the course of the qualifying year for an athlete who is on track for a Kona slot. In this piece, we’re going to dive into these benchmarks in a little more depth to look at some of the implications of being strong in some benchmarks while struggling to hit others.

I’ll address such questions as:

  • What do the benchmark tests tell us about strengths and weaknesses of the athlete and the sort of training we may want to include in the athlete’s program?
  • What do they suggest about how the athlete may want to approach a pacing plan for the event?

Managing Fatigue Towards Kona

During late spring and early summer, I typically share unconventional tips with my most successful athletes:

Consider your season over.
Make sure you don’t lose any more weight.
Go on holiday and drop some fitness.
Remove structure, head out and have fun.
Perhaps, it is time to train without the data for a bit.
Take some time to improve the non-athletic aspects of your life.


How Fast Feels

Over the last few articles, we’ve been hitting you over the head with how little you know about pacing. Our goal was to instill humility, rather than beat you down!

While you might not know Kona-specific race pace, I’m going to share how fast feels. Cultivate these feelings during the Core Block workouts.

Power-Based Race Simulations

I thought that I’d share how I build a power-based race simulation rides for ironman. It’s not particularly complex (at least to me). The “art” comes from interpreting the fatigue that the athlete will carry into the marathon and not screwing up the run with an inappropriate bike-power strategy.

Specific Preparation: Part II (Core Block)

The main difference between training to qualify and training to compete is the workload of the key days and the spacing of the key workouts.

Mid-pack athletes might train themselves to ultimately complete the ironman distance across four to six days.

Aspiring Kona-qualifiers should build their programs so that they can complete the ironman distance across 30 hours and have the bulk of their training time done at or over specific race pace and power.

Your Kona Push: Big Season Planning

In 2011, I aged up to the women's 45-49 year old age group. My family and my support team decided 2012 was the year to push for a slot. It required some serious commitment in planning, time, equipment and finances. I didn't write down my qualification plan but it was structured much like a business plan.