World Championship Qualifier and Tri Alliance athlete Brett Archbold gives us an insight into his lead up for the big race which is just over a week away.
After qualifying for Ironman World Champs at Melbourne Ironman earlier this year I thought I might explore the option of coming out to Hawaii earlier to get the last block of training done in the heat and humidity. After sorting some dates and accommodation I made the decision to get out there a month before the race. Last year I arrived 12 days prior to race day, which in hindsight perhaps wasn’t long enough to acclimatise in time for the race, so I decided to come across earlier this time. Marina who had also qualified at Busselton Ironman decided to join me arriving in Kona earlier.
We flew out on Friday the 12th of September and apart from a pair of babies going tag team crying on the flight over it was pretty uneventful. Arriving in Kona we settled into the house and post naps on the beach knocked out a very easy 10k run that evening.
For those who have never been to Kona, it’s hot and humid. Because of this, we decided to separate some of our sessions over the first few days. So rather than 200k ride/10k run Saturday, we split the ride over the two days. Sunday’s long run was also split.
The Giant Trinity’s handled the flight well and there were no issues getting them prepped for the weekend. The sessions were completed with minimal fuss; the riding wasn’t too bad – we found our cycling legs pretty quickly. However trying to hold an even close to ‘normal’ pace while running was another story; it just wasn’t going to happen!
Monday we hit the pool for a session, the pool here is free to use but is unfortunately 25 yards (around 23 metres)! That is very short! Combined with a very warm temp we were feeling rubbish. Tuesday we had another ride with a 20k TT effort mid way through the ride, followed by a 2k open water swim along the IM swim course and then a solid 16k interval run set.
We have purchased a set of scales and try to weigh ourselves pre and post sessions to get an idea of sweat rates and to make sure we are then replacing what we are losing. Depending on the conditions and the sessions it is possible to lose 1-2litres an hour! It is a constant battle to replace what you are losing and bring your weight back up to normal range by the next session. We have been smashing through the Shotz tabs both during and post sessions to achieve this.
Wednesday and Friday were swim/easy run days and Thursday we had a very solid 90k ride and interval run session. This ride was probably the first session where I saw some good numbers and could feel myself getting back to how I have felt in Melbourne. The interval run was tough and I think I definitely felt the effects of this for a couple of days.
Saturday we had a 200k ride on the cards, so all the way out to Hawi on the bike course and a few k’s past it. We left early to beat some of the heat, as we knew we would be getting home around 12-1 pm. I copped a slow leak and eventual flat and so Marina rode ahead, we missed each other at the turn around and so both rode solo all day, which wasn’t a bad thing. It was pretty damn hot; I drank around 5 litres and still lost a couple of kilos over the course of 6.5 hrs! It was a key session to get done though and I was happy with how I rode the back 90k compared to the race last year.
The weather here has been very hot, and with not much wind at all, most days reaching 31-32 with 60-70% humidity giving a temp that feels like high 30’s. We are loving it though, as it’s what we are here for and hopefully after another couple of days we will really start to feel the benefits of coming out earlier. Heat acclimatisation usually takes up to 10 days.
So far I am pretty happy with the decision to come out early, we just have another 9 days of hard training to knock out before we hit taper so will shoot through another update then.