Friday, October 30, 2009

10 Lessons from Kona

Before I let go of my Kona experience and step of it I thought I'll share with you my Kona experience list. By this time I'm sure you wish I will stop blogging about Kona, It's over, done, nothing I can do about it. But the way I am is to always over analyze things and look at all the "what ifs". After looking at all the "what ifs" here is my "back to the drawing board" list.
This is my list of things that I will do differently when I race in Kona again. And as you will see when you read point one, it's my list so you can read it and listen to it but be very careful to use it.

1. Don't take advice from everybody.
It is good to listen to advice from all the different people you interact with but be very careful if you decide to use the advice. Now that I raced in Kona I will be more prepared and in no sense am I arrogant or over confident but I listened to too many people giving me advice and at the end of the day my body would have given me the best indication of what to do on race day. Maybe it was suppose to be like that as I never raced there before. After three Ironman South Africa's I know exactly what to expect of that particular course even if I can't predict race day conditions. At least I know now what to expect when I race Kona again.
2. Get a swim coach.
I now I've said it in the past but if I want to be competitive I will need to get a swim coach. Even if I need to drive to another city (Pretoria or Johannesburg) due to the fact that Witbank don't have someone that can help me improve my swimming. I believe the new Gym that has just opened will have a swim coach soon, hopefully I can come right there. If I carry on the way I'm doing now I will always play catch up on the bike and catching up 20 minutes is never easy especially if it is the World Championships. And when you have a bad day on the bike, like I did it puts more pressure on you when you start the run leg.

3.Loose weight.
To be really competitive I will need to loose weight and I believe my ideal race weight is 75kg. I've seen in Kona that 95% of the competitors are just muscle and bone, no excess fat not even 1%. I said to Kim when we were in Kona that if someone wants to loose weight they must just visit Kona during the two weeks leading up to the race. You just see one perfect body after the other, make you really feel that you are at the wrong place if you have excess fat.

4.Do more open water swimming.
It was difficult to train during the winter but I will need to do more open water swimming. During the whole 20 week block I did not train once in the sea or dam, all my swimming was in the Gyms pool. I am sure that by doing more open water swimming I will have a better sense of where I am going and won't swim zig zag most of the time. The continuous swimming without stopping at the wall every 25 meter will also improve my fitness I believe.

5. Fit some secondary race into my schedule.
During my 20 week training block I did not do one race not even a 10km road race never mind a Triathlon. When I trained for Ironman South Africa I did three half Ironmans in the twenty weeks leading up to the race with one or two Olympic Triathlons and the odd 10km road race. I didn't feel "sharp" on race day and I was missing that little spark. I thought that by putting on the mileage on weekends instead of doing a race it will help me build strength. Now I know I should have done some races during my training block leading up to Kona.

6. Arrive earlier in Kona.
We arrived nine days before the race in Kona and although it sounds like we were there long before the race I still had jet lag. South Africa differs 12 hours from Hawaii and with us being 9 days there I thought it was enough but it wasn't. They say that you need a day for every hour that you change time zones, next time I need to arrive two weeks before the race to give me at least 14 days to adapt. Up to the day before the race I was falling asleep at 7pm but were awake at 3am.

7. Attend some "Training Camps"
Training during the winter is a real challenge especially if you try to adapt to the heat and humidity that is waiting for you. I will need to go away in future for some weekends to the northern part of South Africa or to the North Coast of SA where it is warmer during the winter. Maybe I need to create my own mini "training camps" over weekends to train in warmer and more humid conditions.

8. Different Travel plans.
It was a wonderful experience visiting London on our way to Kona and spend three days there but next time I will try and get to Hawaii as quickly as possible and leave the holiday for after the race. As soon as you are in that holiday feeling it's difficult getting out of it and concentrate 100% on the race.

9. Watch the Food and Drinks.
Being in that holiday spirit, I ate too much and enjoyed the restaurant food and the beer too much. Save this for after the race. Because it is so hot I didn't think anything of having a beer or two after I've done my training for the day. But after nine days of eating out and drinking beer I felt bloated and heavy on race day.

10. Race more aggressively.
Next time I will definitely race more aggressively. Now I know I was too relaxed and was competing just to finish. At the end of the day it's a World Championship and you are there to give it you all. I was so scared of collapsing due to the heat that I ended up taking it too easy.

Well there you have it, the things I will do differently next time I visit Kona. For now Kona is something of the past and I need to concentrate on the challenges that lay ahead but I won't put the list to far away as I already need to start working on some of these points to help me be successful next time I visit Kona.


  1. Excellent list. Very, very insightful. It's better than any list I've read in triathlete magazine.

  2. Nice. Congrats on Kona. Great tips.

  3. Love the post! I hope that one day I can use that advice in an event like KONA! However, until then, from someone who has made it to 'the race' I will take it as sound advice for each goal that I am aiming for! Cheers and Happy training!

  4. Thanks for the comments, appreciate.