Triathlon race day looms in a sweltering Hawaii

‘I crossed 11 time zones, arrived to humidity of 80 to 90% and heat of 35 to 40 degrees’

“I had one long run of 90 minutes to do and lots of shorter runs which have been hot.”

“I had one long run of 90 minutes to do and lots of shorter runs which have been hot.”

 

So, it has finally arrived – Ironman World Championship race week. I arrived in Kona, Hawaii on Saturday, September 29th, a full two weeks before the race. Initially, I thought this may be overkill,but now that I am here I am glad to have had the time to adjust to the different time zones and try to adapt to the hot, humid and windy conditions.

I raced in Kona in 2015 and arrived to the Big Island five days before the race. When crossing 11 time zones and arriving to humidity of 80 to 90 per cent and heat of 35 to 40 degrees, it’s a lot to deal with. I suffered greatly on race day and am hopeful that this time round I can put the lessons previously learned to good use.

I’ve been up and down with regard to jet jag and know from experience that it takes me quite a while to adjust

It’s recommended to allow a day per time zone crossed to get over jet lag so in theory, 11 days pre-race when travelling from Ireland to Hawaii would be the minimum. I’ve been up and down with regard to jet jag and know from experience that it takes me quite a while to adjust.

I travelled via Toronto, spending a night there and had a little easy run the next morning before the next leg of the trip via LA to Kona. There is no training being done over those travel days so the main objective for me is to try and find healthy food to eat, keep hydrated and limit the degree to which my ankles swell over long haul travel.

Getting to the start line healthy and injury free when training for a race like an Ironman is the hardest obstacle due to the large training load undertaken in the journey to the start line. Thankfully, I feel healthy and ready to go.

I did lose a couple of key training weeks at the end of August/start of September due to a flu and chest infection that lingered. I panicked for the entire time due to lost fitness and lack of training, but now I look on it as a nice little rest for my body. It’s important to listen to your body and not push when you aren’t feeling yourself. I try to monitor my heart rate on waking each day and if there is a variability of greater than seven beats per minute it may be a sign of fatigue, so it’s an efficient way of keeping your recovery in check.

I had one long run of 90 minutes to do and lots of shorter runs which have been hot

Since arriving, I have got a few decent sessions in on the bike. Nothing more than 2 ½ hours. The conditions can be windy here at times and I certainly experienced the cross winds on the Lava fields last week. It will be a tough day out there if it’s like that on race day. I had one long run of 90 minutes to do and lots of shorter runs which have been hot. I’ve been swimming mainly in the pool as my coach has prescribed specific sessions, but I’ve also been in the sea getting a feel for the water and trying out my race gear.

Diet wise I’ve tried to stay on track and eat healthily over the past few weeks. Leading up to race day I will be increasing my carbohydrates, reducing my fibre intake and hydrating to the max.

I’m excited to race and see what unfolds . . .

  • Aileen Flynn is a clinical specialist physiotherapist in musculoskeletal care at Beacon Hospital and a triathlete. She is competing in the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii on October 14th.
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