How I Qualified for Kona

I qualified to race on the big island simply by training more.  It’s that easy.
Well not quite, but that is the gist of it.  You can see in the charts below that in comparison to my first year (2010), my training in 2011 was greatly increased and much more consistent.  This is a reflection of my personal dedication to the sport and willingness to get the work done.  You can have any coach in the world, or coach yourself, but the long and short of it is that it comes down to YOU!  Remaining consistent day in and day out is your responsibility.  Skipping workouts adds up, and as you can see in my first year, the proof is in the pudding!  A lot of work went into both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but my year-end report cards read as follows:

2010 IMFL – 10:13 (7th in 18-24 AG)                  

2011 IMFL – 9:31 (1st in 25-29 AG) –  Qualified for Kona

2010 Syracuse 70.3 – 4:43 (PR at 70.3 distance)                

2011 Timberman 70.3 – 4:27 – Qualified for Vegas (70.3 PR)

2010 & 2011 Cumulative Training and Running Hours

The graph above illustrates the total hours spent training in 2010 vs. 2011.  As you can see, at this point in the year I am already 150 hours ahead of where I was in 2010.  With the rest of November and December to go, I am sure the total hours will be over 200 more than last year. My point is that consistent training week after week can lead to good things!  Most of my weeks were between 12-16 hours – nothing too crazy, as I was also employed as a full-time CPA over that time period.

2011 Training Hours as of 11.14.11

With that said, I will let you all in on the biggest secret as to how I qualified for Kona … 2011 was my second full year of triathlon training.  The simple fact is that if you want to improve in the sport of triathlon, you need to be consistent not only week after week, but year after year as well.  A fellow triathlete and friend told me that it takes between 3-5 years for your body to fully adapt to the rigors of true triathlon training, especially when training for the longer races (half and full distance Ironman).  Thus, the true reason for my overall improvement and successes in 2011 was the fact that I was building on a base of almost 1.5 years.  This not only made me a better athlete in terms of my physical progression, but also a smarter triathlete based on the race experience that I gained in 2010. (2 Ironman distance races and 2 70.3’s)  I must add that in 2011 I raced a lot more.  I jumped into numerous sprint triathlons, which I feel greatly improved my fitness, especially on the bike.  Each sprint triathlon was essentially a ~40 min time trial on the bike.  Whereas many triathletes will do power tests periodically throughout the season to evaluate where they are, I chose to really “test” myself in these short races, which did not require any deviation from my regular season plan.  Short course racing does not require the recovery that a longer race does;  therefore, adding in sprint and Olympic races is actually quite beneficial to long course training.  While providing a boost of race intensity training,  shorter races also help mentally since racing breaks up the monotony of long training weekends.

7 Comments on “How I Qualified for Kona

  1. Alright, I’m just going to put this out there, and you can do with it what you want.

    Get your act together and get a coaching license. You have a lot of knowledge and experience in the sport, and now you have a race resume to back it up. Call it “Street Cred.” There are plenty of people that would ask for your expertise in a coaching setting.

  2. I think there’s some sort of formula for hours versus results 🙂 haha, because I was at 667 hours for 2011 as of 11/14/2011 this year (completed Kona) and I was at about 500 hours the last time I tried to race an IM (did not qualify)

    Good work putting in the hours and the miles man. Long course racing is hard and often very solitary. Way to get the job done and I can’t wait to see how you do in Hawaii next year! (I’m starting my journey back as well…)

      • I wish…but I will not be gracing my presence at a WTC event in 2012. (Unless I win the lottery or something…) I haven’t signed up for anything and don’t have the extra scratch to spend right now.

        But as for 2013…lookout… :o) The plan is to get back to the Big Island pronto and spend as much time there as possible :o)

  3. Well said. Putting in the volume is one piece of the puzzle, but unfortunately this thought process will only work in my opinion after years of steady accumulation. So simply by comparing the numbers from year #1 to year #2, can be one small piece, but I’m sure we both know it’s much more than that! For example, your 2011 results also required a great deal of patience, race knowledge and dedication. I did a little write up back in May on my take on getting to the big island. http://blog.chadholderbaum.com/2011/05/my-take-on-qualifying-for-kona.html

    Now that you’ve gotten there and after you get the first one out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about how to next race Kona, not just get there! That my friend is a completely different ball game!

    Hope you’re enjoying Portland.

    • Chad,

      I very much agree with you. The numbers do a good job of representing one facet of improvement. An important one in my opinion but like you said, their is much more. I’ve got myself to the island now I need to start training for it. Hopefully a trail run this afternoon will kick it off. After almost 2 weeks off it should be very fun :). So many trails and routes here in Portland that it’s a bit overwhelming. Hopefully will get that all sorted out shortly!

      Ps..I can’t believe you did that ultra run this fall. Kudos to you, sounds painful…but fun 🙂

      -Matt

  4. I am so behind on your blog kiddo! WELL WRITTEN. I think however one thing got skipped: for much of 2010 you were injured and your run volume was severely limited, in fact your longest run leading into placid was 8 miles. That limited your annual hours greatly. As you will recall…… that injury occurred due to being so overexcited as you are passionate about your sport. (which pretty well much happens to everyone when we are new and love this so much)

    When it resolved and you stayed with the plan…… your improvements truly began.

    So don’t forget that….. it’s a big piece of why you have been able to read yourself so well since then. What you have learned as a result…. has been amazing. VERY PROUD OF YOU!

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