Essential Sports Nutrition


Training in Kona

Compared to years past, it feels much warmer than before. Although the temperature only reads around 86 degrees in the forecast, it's much more hot under the scorching sun. Coupled with the lava and heat radiating off the ground, it's hotter than hot here. The wind has also been rather gusty. All this said - IM Kona will be living up to its epically challenging standards if it stays like this on race day. 

Since arriving to Kona on Sunday, we have had some quality training sessions on the Big Island. We are staying in town behind the expo/farmers market which makes it easy to train right from our doorstop. However, due to the traffic and debris covering the shoulder of the road, we have been driving away from town to start most of our workouts. Also, because the local Kona aquatic center is closed right now, we have to drive ~20 minutes south of the island to use the local high school pool (which is free).

The biggest adjustment has been the heat - which is the biggest stressor on our body right now. Even though we have been training in the heat, it just doesn't compare to the Kona sun. Our heart rate is much more elevated while running and we consume much more fluids than normal. The salt water is a welcomed change as it's so nice to float without a wetsuit. Plus, the water is really clear which makes for an aquarium feel when swimming.

Our training volume is less than in weeks past but the frequency and intensity is still just what we are use to. This week hasn't felt much like "tapering" because of the added stress of travel, the heat and the wind but next week is rather light with training, which will really help sharpen up our body and mind.

Here's a recap of our training over the past few days:

Sunday: Travel day, no training. A 2.5 hour drive to Atlanta, 5 hour flight to LA and another 5 hour flight to Kona. Arrived to Kona around 9pm Kona time, went to the grocery and in bed around 11pm Kona time.
Monday: 30 minute ocean swim + 1:20 chill spin
Tuesday: 2:20 bike (starting from the entrance energy lab parking lot) w/ 2 rounds of 4 x 5 min at IM effort. Followed by a 35 minute run in the energy lab (with 6 x 30 sec pick ups followed by 20 sec EZ jog, 10 sec walk). Oh and this was my very first run outside since IM Canada and first run workout outside in over 10 weeks! Wahoo!
Wednesday: 30 minute easy jog along Ali'i drive. Then a 5000 yard swim. The pool was very crowded but we shared a lane with a few male pros who kept things very organized so that we could still do our workout. The workout was 15 x 200's in sets of 5, 4, 3, 2, and then 1 x 200 all with 100 backstroke between. We changed up our gear throughout (swim, buoy, paddles/buoy, paddles, swim). It was a tough workout but one we have done a few times before and I really like it. Oh and each set of 200's was descending on a cycle but we had to adjust the cycle to keep things organized in our lane. It was a bit chaotic at times which made for great open water practice.
Thursday: 2:40 bike with 4 rounds of 4 minutes very hard, followed by 15 minutes at IM effort and then another 3 rounds of 4 minutes very hard. We drove to the Mauna Lani parking lot which sits off the Queen K hwy (about 28 miles North of town) to start our bike workout. The nice thing about this location is that it's a closer way to get to and from Hawi and there is a market in the parking lot for post ride food. The wind was incredibly strong but what was more mentally draining was the cross wind. We were both getting tossed around although Karel managed a lot better than me with his comfort level. When we got to the turn at Kawaihae, I decided to turn around and do my intervals closer to Mauna Lani where it was still windy but I was not spending so much energy trying to stay upright on my bike. Karel did his workout in the Hawi section - which he said was very windy but it helped to just push hard on the pedals to keep the bike in a stable position. After the ride, we each did a brick run. I did 40 minutes (Karel did 45 minutes) and the set was 10 minutes easy and then 3 rounds of 5 minutes faster than IM effort, 5 minutes slower than IM effort). After each segment of 10 minutes, I walked for 20 sec. I found it a little easier to control my heart rate for this workout compared to Tuesday although it was crazy hot. I went through 20 ounce of fluid (10 ounce of that was 80 calories Skratch) in 30 minutes so I had to stop and refill my flasks at 35 minutes to make it to 40 minutes. After the workout we stocked up on more food.
Friday: 50 minute ocean swim. The water was a little choppy but I loved every stroke. I just love swimming in the ocean and I am finding it less exhausting in years past - thanks to Cait making sure I arrived to Kona very swim fit! There were several orange buoys set up so we used the first few buoys as warm up and then did several pyramids of 15,20,35, 30 strokes hard each followed by the same amount of strokes easy. This was a nice way to change up the rhythm of the stroke. We swam 25 minutes out and 25 minutes back. After the swim, we both had a massage from our coaches massage therapist which was amazing.

The plan for the weekend is a 90 minute ride followed by a 30 min brick run on Saturday and the Kona practice swim (2.4 mile swim on the course) on Sunday. And then it's race week!!

Here are a few pics from the past few days. You can also check out my social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks for following along!


IM Kona: 10 day countdown

Hello from the Big Island!! We have reached the 10-day countdown until we participate in the Ironman World Championship (5th time for me, 4th time for Karel)!

I've been meaning to blog for several days but to be honest, I just haven't had time. We have been so busy! Here's a recap of the craziness that has happened over the past week.....

Weekly training recap:
Swim: 14,900 yards (3:29)
Bike: 7:08 hours
Run: 3:05 hours
Strength: 45 minutes
Total: 14:26 hours

  • Started my menstrual cycle and felt horrible for my last few days of training before we traveled to Kona. Blah. 
  • As of last night, I finished editing my 3rd book which is over 44,000 words. I've had several long days and late nights working on the final product over the past six days. Whew, what a relief that this is behind me. 
  • We had over 15 athletes racing last weekend at IM 70.3 Augusta and IM Chattanooga. Because we were traveling on their race day, we were anxiously tracking our athletes during our travel. We are so proud of our coached athletes as everyone finished the race in brutally hot conditions. 
  • I had several nutrition consults last week with my athletes who are still training for their final key race(s). 
  • Madison (our 11.5 year old cat) got an eye infection a few days before we left for Kona.
  • Karel's mom came into town (we flew her to the US) and we were a little nervous about her traveling to the US alone - without speaking the language. Karel picked her up at the Charlotte airport on Thurs evening. She will be taking care of our furry crew (along with the help of my mom) while we are away in Kona and then she will be staying with us until early December. 
  • On the morning of our long travel day (before making the 2.5 hour drive to Atlanta for our first of two 5-hour flights), we walked downstairs at 6:30am to the site of a kitchen full of ants. This has never happened before and of course, it happens just 90 minutes before we are set to hit the road. 
  • It was hard saying good-bye to our furry children. We love them so much but they are also a big part of our daily routine. Our new little edition Ella is filling our hearts with joy and happiness. Madison has bonded with her and Campy is afraid of her. 

  • We are now in Kona and finally settling into a good routine of waking up early (5am) and going to bed early (8:30pm). Although we still have a lot of work to do while we are away, it's nice to work in paradise for a week before the craziness of race week begins on Monday.