Kona Training: Big Day Out #2

dscf9117dscf9120dscf9121dscf9122dscf9123dscf9124dscf9125dscf9126dscf9127dscf9128dscf9129dscf9130dscf9131dscf9133There is a reason why they say to not use new gear on race day. But I didn’t hear anything about training! Here what 2 hours in new Brooks Launch shoes may do to you.


Six weeks ago my wife and I held our first Big Day Out of the season. The day started out with the ABC Half Marathon where we ran the best we could and then extended the run to a total of 2 hours. Fiona beat me by 2 minutes with her 1:33. Ninety minutes later, we headed to the 25m indoor Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Center town pool where I used my brand new Roka Viper Elite swimskin for the first time in a 1 hour swim test. Then ninety minutes after this, we performed a five our test ride down to Stuarts Well along the south Stuart Highway. It was a good day and showed some good progression in the most intense season yet but held good signs for our race preparation leading to the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 8th, 2016.

Today marks our 12th BDO since we have started using Joe Friels’s, Your Best Triathlon in preparation for Ironman triathlons since 2013. It also means we have only 4 weeks till Kona!

It’s been a really good six weeks since the last BDO and you can get an idea of those from my posts during this time. The highlights were an FTP test at 348 watts, 2:17 for 90km, 2nd place in the ASP Marathon in 3:19, a 29.4hour training week, a 285km bike ride, and a lot of new Strava KOMs. We’ve stuck with the mostly whole-foods plant-based “lifestyle” and I’ve developed our cycling and run programs. We have been very fortunate to receive phenomenal swim sets from a very qualified swimmer, triathlete, and like us, Kona-Bound for the first time.

I followed the 285km ride last Sunday up with a 2hr37min bike ride on Tuesday that included close to an hour of Z3/Z4 work. While our Tues/Thurs 6AM swim sets were still on, nearly everything else was recovery work. I was very fatigued and tired throughout the week thanks to the 5 hour Tuesday training day but, did my best to recover through active recovery workouts in preparation for BDO.

Thursday and Friday I carbo-loaded with close to 1KG of Carbs each day that had me put on another 1-2KG of water weight. Friday night included some pasta with sauce, fresh basil, and white bread. Bedtime around 10pm.

BDO Morning

4:30AM wake up for a 7AM start. Medium RedBull, 2 pieces of white bread with jam, banana. I had a Winners Bar around 6AM and then 5-10minutes before go-time, I had ARO. During this time, we prepped our gear. My Argon 18 E119 Tri+ was loaded with the XLAB Versa 500 and 3 more bottles. The bike weighed about 29 pounds all up. I didn’t want to carry a camelpak to be more aero and not carry that weight on my back. I also was planning on pursing the “Stuart’s Well Gran Fondo (formerly Jim’s Place)” Strava KOM so I knew I couldn’t stop at the only water stop on the 90km journey. I was loaded with 10 salt tablets, 5 packages of Clif Shot Bloks, 1 Clif Shot, and 1 Clif Bar. (Clif is the best and on course nutrition at Kona, yippee!).

5hour bike ride: 189.7km, 286NP.

My plan was to ride exactly how I will ride at Kona. The weather was 4C at the start so quite cold and there was supposed to be a head wind on the way out. We took off.

1hr5min in I had to pee already. I was going to try and hold it since I don’t know if the Strava segments go off of elapsed time or actual time. 10minutes later I couldn’t hold it so I pulled off and went quick. Back on it. I saw my speed increase to 27.5mph or nearly 45kph. I had a good tailwind but was pushing around 295 watts. I tried to get as much distance as I could sticking to my race plan. I hit the Strava time and figured I got the KOM. I found out later that I held 290watts at 26.8mph and got the KOM for the 1:36:29 segment by 9 seconds! Then in front of Stuarts Well I hit my fastest ever 90km in 2:07:50. This is about a 4min improvement over my fastest 90km and the temperatures were starting to rise.

I now knew I had a 90km headwind but I stuck with my race plan and kept going while eating every 20minutes, having salt tablets every 30min, and drinking continuously. I soon saw Fiona and knew that she should have turned around earlier but reckoned that she was doing quite well utilizing the tailwind quite efficiently. Right then she dropped her tool kit from her back. I turned around and realized my tire was half flat which I thought it was about 30minutes earlier. So I fixed it up and continued on.

I caught Fiona by the only water station and filled 2 bottles up. I ended up drinking 5 bottles and carried back a full bottle to the house! But I peed there for the 3rd time so was really hydrated from my carbo-loading and hydration plan.

The headwind continued but I had a nice pace going and was on 290watts for 4 hours. I was also on around 39kph on average and was looking to break 4:40 but needed the headwind to let up a bit. I finally got some relief with about 20minutes to go. I finished on 5 hours right at my front door hitting the 180km in 4:44:20 at 286NP, avg power of 284 for a very low VI of 1%. My Avg HR was only 128 which is 5BPM lower than typical race day. TSS was 331.7 but the 180km was 318TSS. The next closest ride is HALF of this distance at 2hr25min on 294NP which was done 4 weeks ago. I was 19% stronger than 6 weeks ago, 12% stronger than my best BDO from 17 weeks ago, it’s also 11% more than Ironman Cairns only 13 weeks ago. THAT is Significant. That is absolutely massive when most would look to gain a 10% gain in a year! I’m looking forward to new PB in my next FTP test since I know it’s dated already.

Swim 1 hour: 3,750meters

I had booked a lane from 1:30pm-2:30pm. Due to the couple stops, the recovery was short, more like 1 hour where I had banana, coke and clif bar. I wore my Roka Viper Elite swimskin for the second time. We shared the lane and took off. Ideally, we would swim first, but I forgot to book early and they couldn’t fit us in, so be it.

My triceps were tired and sore for the first 20minutes but during the 3rd quarter I felt to be in a rhythm that I haven’t felt before. I passed my wifey a couple times who struggled with the 32 degree heated indoor pool and overheating in her brand new Roka swimskin. I thought when I saw her taking it off, oh great, it’s too tight.

I was very consistent during the swim clicking off 500’s all on pretty much 8:00. I didn’t really seem to differ much from that during the whole swim which really showed some strong consistency and endurance in the swim. It was a massive improvement from 6 weeks earlier where I covered 3,525m vs 3,750m today. This is primarily due to the swimsets we’ve been getting from our Swim Coach. It’s my 7th of 12 fastest BDO swims and all of the others were with a wetsuit!

It was a big success of a swim and we finished with some Powerades sitting for us on the bench. We headed home and had another banana and 2 pieces of toast but no coke as I had a shitload of caffeine so far in the day. (Around 620mg or 15 ½ cups of coffee, but I HATE coffee!)

Run 2hours: 23km, 129avg HR. (3:38 marathon pace)

I have come up with the best long run training route in Alice, hands down. The run starts from Bunnings near the edge of town, passes the MVR and climbs “the hills”. It’s about a 500’ climb all the way to the high marker (highest point between Darwin and Adelaide on the Stuart Highway). It’s open, pavement, and today was warm. It is as close to what we can expect in the lava fields of Kona.

This was our 3rd run on this course over the last 3 weeks and the pace was better than those even after 6 hours of racing. 35min I had to take a pit and then regrouped and was watching Fi in her Pink now about 2 min up the road. I cut the gap slightly on some hills but 1:05 out of town and she turned and then I followed. 20min later, another quick pit stop. While my stomach was fine with the several thousand calories of Maltodextrin, Sugar, and Clif bars, the area below the belt felt yuck. I had another quick stop to educate Fi that the light staying on the 920XT won’t make the battery last for 8 hours of training and then another quick stop later to give FiFi some more salt tablets. She overtook me however and really had a great run. We went to the servo and I had a yummy Snapple Iced Tea.


It was by far the best BDO we’ve both had and is a reflection that my plan with some swim coach assistance is working. I know what I’m doing. I of course have my goals, my plan, and God Willing, I hope to be able to cross that line on a Ali’i Drive, Kona and hear Mike Riley once again say “Kevin Coyle, you are an Ironman”.

With my 2,000calorie BMR and 7,000calories burned, it was a 9,000calorie burn today. We celebrated with 3 Dominos Pizzas, Brownies, Champagne, and Pinot Noir. Sunday will be a definite day off with a Breakfast Brunch and UFC. Then Monday it’s back to it with the healthy eating that has seen me hit my lowest weight in nearly 10 years, potentially 15 years, to 178 pounds.


Much thanks to our local sponsors who are helping Fiona, Karen McPherson (who also did her own BDO in Cairns today), and myself in representing Australia with new Tri Kits, Gear, and money to be used to get us to Kona: NT Government, Triathlon Australia NT (Megan Pickering), All Electrical (Duncan Rogers), Elder Real Estate (Joanne Pulsford), Exact Homes (Jack Page), Territory Rural McPherson (Jock McPherson, TMS Mechanical (Lynn and Pete Treis), BIG4 Maconnell Range Caravan Park (Brendan Heenan), Alice Springs Physiotherapy, the Rec Association (Helen Kindness), and support from the Darwin Triathlon Club.

Thanks sponsors!


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