You have slaved away through the winter, logged countless miles in the snow, the dark, on the dreaded treadmill all in preparation for the Boston Marathon. At this stage of the game your long runs are done, and you are onto that blessed taper. There’s only one thing potentially standing in your way for a successful race day… the weather!
Congratulations! You’ve qualified for Kona! Your flights and accommodations are booked! Here’s a few things you should know before heading off to the Big Island.
Chances are you’re not from a tropical, humid climate. Depending on where you’re flying in from, it will take somewhere on the order of two weeks to fully acclimate to the weather. Try to arrive on the island as early as you can and by Wednesday at the latest. You can start preconditioning yourself by overdressing for your workouts, riding the trainer without a fan, or even hitting up a hot yoga class 2-3 weeks before the race.
The Descent from Hawi
The descent from Hawi can be one of the most treacherous portions of the course. The gusts of wind have been known to blow riders right off the road, and the air currents can be unpredictable as you pass in and out of the cutouts along the road. Hawi is home to a few art galleries, boutiques, and great restaurants. Treat your Sherpa to lunch while you preview the descent.
Racing on the Equator
Being right on the equator, the sun is no joke in Hawaii. Aside from a few fleeting spots in Ali’i Drive the race course is totally exposed. A blistering sunburn is a very real threat that can make the rest of your trip miserable. Pack some SPF100 for the race along with multiple sticks of lip balm containing sun protection to have with you at all times. Reapply frequently and cover up as much as possible – cooling sleeves are essential throughout the race.
For many, racing Ironman World Championships is a once in a lifetime experience. You’re going to be among the best of the best. Let’s face it, more than likely you’re not going to be standing on the podium after the race. This is your victory lap! Take it all in. Run with a friend. Stop to hug your family. Revel in every moment!!!