Please read if you would like to have your BEST PERFORMANCE ever at Hawaii 70.3!
***The Honu 70.3 Ironman in Hawaii is a Half Ironman Distance Race,
consisting of a 1.2 Mile Swim, 56 Mile Bike and 13.1 Mile Run. I have
raced this event two times, as well as the Ironman World Championships in
Hawaii four times. Shari and I have also raced the Xterra World
Championships on Maui about eight times. Racing in Hawaii is tough, with
heat and humidity, as well as wind.
***Here are a few things I have learned over the years when racing in Hawaii:
Honu 70.3 Ironman Triathlon, Kohala Coast, Hawaii – 1.2 Mile Swim/56 Mile Bike/13.1 Mile Run
1) Transition Set up – Read my blog on “Transition Tips” for this part.
***Two things to note on the transitions at Honu:
***A) When coming out of the water, you will grab your transition “T1” bag
off a rack with your race number and take with you to your bike. You then
have to put whatever you don’t take with you on the bike, in the bag. Then
when you come off the bike, someone will take your bike from you. You will
then go grab your run transition bag and go to a change tent. Volunteers
will help if needed. You will NOT rack your own bike in T2.
***B) Have your nutrition ready to grab as you start the ride and run. I
usually have a couple gels in my run bag, as well as some extra salt
tablets, in case I need more, or should lose some on the bike. Have salt
tablets with you. Both Bike and Run are HOT at Honu and you will need the
electrolytes to have your best race!
2) Dealing with the HEAT – read my KP Blog Coaches Tip on handling the heat.
3) The SWIM – (1.2 miles – Ocean swim, beach start)
Honu is a mass start race. That means everyone starts at the same time!
This can make for a hectic start, so be sure and seed yourself
accordingly. Fast swimmers should start near the front, slower swimmers
toward the back. It is a classic beach start! You run into the water and
may have some waves to duck under. Be sure and dive under the waves with
both hands out in front of your head. Don’t stand and let the waves hit
you in the chest and push you back, dive under them. I would practice this
before race day. When you dive under a wave, grab the sand on the bottom
and pull yourself forward, then “dolphin” up and then down again if you
are in shallow water. This is the quickest way to get through the surf.
Once outside the surf, get into a nice long stroke. The water in Hawaii is
very salty, so you are real buoyant, but may not be thrilled with the
taste of the water. Look at the beautiful fish and maybe even a Honu
(turtle) will swim under you! Be sure and sight the buoy’s about every 3-5
strokes and be sure you are swimming straight! All the turn buoys are
right shoulder (except for the last one) and the course makes a big
rectangle. The last buoy is a hard left and then a straight line to the
beach. You will have to look behind you to see if any waves are coming. If
you know how to bodysurf, then take advantage of any waves and bodysurf to
the beach. If not, just use the tide to help get you to the shore. Be
careful, as there are a few rocks to avoid. Check the swim exit before
race day. You will then have a short run up the beach and up a short hill
to the transition area. Be sure and use the little pools, or showers to
wash sand off your feet. You will run to your Transition Bag and bring it
with you to your bike. Work a quick
4) The BIKE (56 Miles, hot, windy and rolling hills)
The ride covers some of the Ironman Hawaii Bike Course and goes up to
Hawi, where you turn around and head back to the Fairmount Orchid and
“T2”. Start drinking water early in the ride. It is usually pretty warm by
the time you hit Hawi, so you want to stay hydrated. Take salt tabs at
least every hour, or more if you have a high sweat rate. I take a Gel
every 40 minutes too. Be sure and pass on the left, never cross the center
line and then get back to the right side of the road as soon as you can.
Blocking penalties are for those who stay near the center line after a
pass. If someone passes you, you need to back off by 3-4 bike lengths,
before trying to re-pass.
The wind can be a factor on this course! If you are riding a deep dish
wheel, then be ready to hang on tight! The cross winds are pretty strong
on the way back from Hawi. You will be going real fast on a downhill and
can be blown around from the cross winds. Stay on the drops, not the aero
bars, if it is real windy. (If you are planning on “peeing” on the bike,
your best bet for a longer downhill is coming back from Hawi, before
Kawaihai). You will have one good climb on the way back from Hawi. You
will make a left at Kawaihai, then have a short, but steep climb back to
the main Queen K Hwy. This is the toughest climb on the course and it
comes around mile 50. Once back on the main Queen K Hwy, you are almost
home! Get the cadence up, drink some water and get ready to run! You will
hand off your bike to a volunteer when coming off the bike. Work another
5) The RUN – (13.1 miles, road and golf course, mostly flat, but hot)
Build into your run. Start out easy and build to a faster pace. I like to
take a gel as I run out of transition. I also wear a hat so I can put ice
in it to keep my head cool. Keep up with your hydration throughout the
run. I drink mostly water and will take a gel every 30-40 minutes, or as
needed. It is OK to walk the aid stations to be sure you are staying
hydrated. They should have an aid station about every mile on the run
course. There is one long, “out and back” section where you can see some
of your competition and your KP Teammates! Be sure and cheer each other on
6) The Finish – (Nice Job!!)
Get your well deserved Finisher’s Medal and then get some
water/electrolyte. Walk around and stretch out. You are in Hawaii and it
is beautiful!! Go enjoy the islands!! Cheer on your KP Team to the
Good Luck!! NO KAIN NO GAIN!!!!!
About Your Coach: Pete Kain is the Head Coach of Kain Performance
Multi-Sport! He has raced triathlons around the world for the past 28
years! His favorite place to race is Hawaii!! He won his Age Group at the
Honu 70.3 in 2007 and placed 3rd AG overall. He has also competed in the
Xterra World Championships on Maui five times and placed top 10 in his AG