Not 1, not 2, or 3, but 7 Team Zealios athletes are headed to the big Luau this year in Kona, Hawaii. Each will be vying for the World Championship title and we got some inside info on how they’re feeling leading up to the big race and squeezed in a little game of ‘This or That’ Hawaiian-style!
With the big race this weekend and all the hard work in the bank, we asked the pros what they're looking forward and enjoying most about the Kona taper and what they're mentally prepping for leading up to race day.
"I don’t tend to do that long of a taper, but usually when it starts it means it is race week which is exciting! I think my favorite part of a taper is the satisfaction of all the great work I’ve done, how I feel as I start to freshen up, and honestly the feeling of being REALLY fit! It’s the only time of year when I am in that kind of shape and it is a fun place to be (after tons of hard work)!!
Honestly, Kona scares me a little. When I think about racing there I feel both a huge amount of excitement and also a bit of fear of just how hard the day is. I think probably the thing I’ve taken over the years is to just respect the race."
"I am mostly looking forward to my overall energy coming up and not being in a constant haze, haha. We have definitely timed things differently than last year in terms of all my volume being done way earlier in the block, so we are already sharpening up a bit and just really preparing to be race ready, so that feels awesome. I feel excited and motivated about the race and I'm just looking forward to that time where you start to save all your energy and really get nervous and ready to go. I like to call it "caging the beast".
The biggest thing I took away from last year is just that it is way better to be underdone than overcooked. More is not better and to save some for race day."
"I love the daily grind and I’m looking forward to executing each day’s sessions to the best of my ability.
Every time you race on the big island you pick up a few new things. For the last few years I’ve been there it seems that I have found more things that don’t work than that do…but knowing that helps me prepare for this year better."
"You got it - I just raced (and won!) Ironman Wisconsin - so between now and Kona it's all about recovering and then just sharpening up. My Kona "taper" starts when I get to Kona - about 10 days before the race. With that said, I am looking forward to getting to Hawaii. Kona is such a scene, but I love it, and that's what makes the race so special - all the fit people from all over the world, the mystery of the Island, the crazy conditions, sponsor support, pre-race excitement.
I think I just have to mentally prepare for what a tough race Kona is. It truly is the hardest Ironman on the circuit. My goal is to show up not only physically, but also mentally charged to give my best and not back down when the going gets tough. If I can do that on race-day, I will be happy!"
"I’m most looking forward to soaking in the pre-race vibes at Kona. It’s such a big triathlon party that it’s fun to kick back, relax, and be amused by the chaos.
The biggest negative I have in racing in Kona last year is that I wasn’t completely lucid when I crossed the finish line. I’d love to be able to soak in the iconic last stretch of the race."
"Really looking forward to lifting the ‘Ironman Fog’, which creeps on you when you are in heavy training. Under this much fatigue it is quite common for athletes to lose the ability to make simple decisions as well as lose contact with reality!
This will be my 5th time racing the Ironman World Championships and I am still learning! The biggest take away for me is the race really begins at mile 80 on the bike and having a strong even paced marathon is vital to good performance."
"I've raced two Ironmans in the last 2.5 months, so I'm looking forward to a solid taper for this race. This has been a tough build after these last races, so I'm looking forward to seeing my fitness unfold once the fatigue is gone! I'm also looking forward to being in Kona earlier this year which will be for the bulk of my taper! Overall, I usually get pretty grumpy during taper, so being by myself for the majority of it is probably best for all of us!! My family will join me on the 9th, so I should be less grumpy by then.
This will be my third year racing in Kona, and I have done a ton of heat training leading into those races, but I never seem to be fully prepared. I raced in Frankfurt earlier this year and it was 39 degrees Celsius there on race day. I handled it amazingly well, which gave me huge confidence that I can actually race well in the heat! I have put a huge emphasis on figuring out sweat rate and hydration needs over the last year, so I'm looking forward to putting it all to the test again."
Good luck to all the Team Zealios athletes racing this weekend!
We also found some great race tapering tips from our friends at USA Triathlon, 'Taper Like A Pro'
And definitely tune in on Saturday, October 12th at 9:25 AM PST for the IRONMAN World Championship race!