Kona 2015 Planning
Time to start practicing what I preach; I hope you find these notes useful for your training! You can only have the race you prepare for, and preparation starts with a plan and some critical targets -- it's how we work inside Endurance Nation and it's how I plan each phase of my training. I simply don't do well without goals!
The Rough Outline
Goal is to have a truly complete race. This is the first time I will be on the island to acclimate to the conditions (usually arrive just 2-3 days prior), so excited to see what that brings. Plus the family gets to go, and that’s what it’s all about.
Experience has shown me that the run really matters in Kona…a good bike is nice but the run is where it’s at. I have done all kinds of bikes there, but my runs have always been sub-par. Much of this comes down to better execution, but that’s not something I need to focus on right now (although I am pumped to try the new aid station methodology you all helped me with and worked for me in TX).
For my training I will start with run durability and return to the split long runs that have helped me in the past. I will continue to push the steady work as it’s good for me, but I will be incorporating some more run strides as I feel my overall form has fallen off a bit. The broader goal will be to prepare for a bigger run block in September heading in to the final weeks pre Kona. I was about 40 miles per week before TX and I’d like to be at 45 per week for HI including a peak week of 50 miles.
To set up the run I will need excellent bike execution and swim fitness.
First and foremost is the swim so I am in a better group. I typically swim a 1:10 which isn’t terrible there but it does put me in a big bike group (non-swimmers who seek revenge on the bike). Without a doubt the biggest improvement I could possibly have is on the swim. Kona is a one-loop, non-wetsuit ocean swim with a mass start. Not only do I not swim well with others, but the ocean and non-wetsuit set up hurt me as well. I basically have 18 weeks to develop a solid open water swim stroke. I plan on revisiting Mike Robert’s swim thread to plan something out…in fact I might put him to work helping me out.
I have learned tons on the bike, and I think I can have a really good split out there (bike wise) with a couple of key changes as I continue to improve riding steady and managing my nutrition. I think a critical aspect this year will be developing the ability to ride at 85% for key sections of a longer ride, and still recover. On the Kona course there is the climb to Hawi, the climb back to the Queen K, and then the Scenic Overlook…all three of these climbs are sustained and required a good effort (not too hard) but one that I can sustain.
My real focus is on Hawi, and in particular being able to stay on the watts both up and down (this seems to separate most of the race). All in this is 14 miles…7 up and 7 down; call it about 45 minutes of solid work to be safe. I will be working this into my “HI Block 2” bike rides from the 1:45 to 2:30 marks. I also need to decide what to do with my gearing. I currently have a 54/42 on the front with an 11-28 in the rear….I can fly on the downs / flats and in the tailwind…but with the few critical climbs it might be nice to have an easier gear to spin with…not sure If I should go to a smaller front ring in general or just mess with the rear cluster. I kind of am used to the rear…but not sure I can mess with the QXL rings either…any input here welcome.
HI Block 1 (June, 5 wks) = Run durability, Bike FTP, and Swim Re-Entry. Total volume per week will be approximately 12.25 hours outside of one bigger week at Placid Camp.
HI Block 2 (July, 4 wks) = Swim Volume / Focus (5x a week), Run 4x week @ 10miles per usual, Return to TriBike. Add Hawi Bike Focus to my longer rides, but long ride is still just 3 hours so I can keep intensity up (other than the volume of Placid week). Weekly volume will be about 16 hours a week.
HI Block 3 = (August, 4 wks) = Good time to train in the heat here in RI, so make the most of it. Swim sets will move to being slightly longer (hopefully I’ll be in a place to sustain it). My split runs will be consolidated into a few long runs and my long weekly bike ride of 5 hours returns. Weekly volume will remain about 16 hours a week as the time spent swimming will shift to the bike.
HI Block 4 (September to Race, 6 wks) = Total Tri Focus. Brick run it out. Longer swim sets. Consider a heat camp in Florida if stars align with family schedule. These will include some of my peak weeks. I estimate a few 20 hour weeks assuming I can recover enough. I rarely have this window for Kona training as I am usually coming off a July / August race and it’s more about getting my legs back vs building fitness. I am both excited and scared about these weeks.