Was That the Greatest Ironman World Championship Ever? – with Coach Ryan Bolton

Talking to us from the Big Island of Hawaii, we chat with Coach Ryan Bolton on all things Kona and get his expert analysis on some epic record-breaking racing.


In this week’s show, we’re joined by Coach Ryan Bolton for some expert insights and analysis of the Ironman World Championship. Bolton joins us from the Big Island fresh from seeing both the men’s and women’s races unfold in what many have called two of the most exciting races of all time. For the first time ever, the men’s and women’s races were held on separate days, with American Chelsea Sodaro taking the victory in the women’s race courtesy of a 2:51 marathon run split, which was also a run course record. Norwegian Gustav Iden was crowned champion in the men’s event, taking 11 minutes off the course record (posting 7:40:25) and also breaking the run course record with a 2:36 marathon. Both athletes were Kona rookies—and both seemed to execute their race plans to perfection.

As you’ll hear in the show, we discuss the highlights of both athletes’ performances, diving into race dynamics, tactics, fueling, the importance of cooling, pacing, and plenty more. Bolton, an Olympian who raced triathlon for the US at the 2000 Games and was coached by Joe Friel, talks about the rise of the new generation and how the younger athletes are ready and willing to use all aspects of science and technology to raise their game. Whether it’s supershoes or blood glucose monitors, Bolton argues that this is the new standard.

We also talk about the fact that Sodaro is only 18 months postpartum and how her and her coach planned her return to full-time training and racing.

Whether you’re new to triathlon or a seasoned racer, there’s plenty in this show for all to enjoy and learn from, as Bolton also talks about how to get into triathlon and Ironman, as well as the importance of training/work/life balance for optimal performance. So get ready to swim, bike, and run—and let’s make you fast!

RELATED: Check out Ryan Bolton’s Polarized Workouts for Triathletes

Episode Transcript

Rob Pickels  00:04

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m your host, Rob Pickels, and today we’re really focusing on that endurance performance aspect, because today we’re talking about the Kona Ironman World Championships.

Rob Pickels  00:20

Joining me is not only Trevor Connor, but also ex-professional triathlete, and Fast Talk’s content strategist, Emma-Kate Lidbury. We also have pro triathlon coach Ryan Bolton. Ryan has had some great contributions to our Craft of Coaching series with Joe Friel that you can see as a member of Fast Talk Labs, so we called him up while he’s still in Kona to get his analysis and insights for both the men’s and women’s races.

Rob Pickels  00:47

We’re also excited to get EK on the podcast for the first time, prior to creating some incredible content, EK has six Ironman 70.3 titles, as well as two top-10 finishes at the 70.3 World Championships. We’ll also hear from Coach Adam St. Pierre about the unique demands of Kona and how to train for it. So get ready to travel to Kona and let’s make you fast!

Trevor Connor  01:11

For both beginners and veterans polarized training is the best way to get and stay fast, year after year, and this is the perfect time of year to be thinking about how polarized training can help you. In our new guide featuring Dr. Stephen Seiler explore fascinating and helpful topics like how polarized training is different from sweet spot, how to bust out of performance plateaus, how to polarize all season, how to build durability, and how to time your high intensity work. With the complete guide from Fast Talk Labs, you’ll have everything you need to polarize your training like a pro and unlock your elite. Learn more at fasttalklabs.com

Rob Pickels  01:47

EK, Ryan, welcome to the show.

EK  01:49

Thank you very much. Hello.

Ryan Bolton  01:51

Yeah. Thanks. Great being here.

Trevor Connor  01:52

Great to have you both.

Rob Pickels  01:54

So EK, you’ve been with us for a few months now. You’re slipping in some triathlon content. Tell us a little bit about triathlon and then writing career and everything briefly thereafter.

EK  02:09

Yeah, I was racing professionally for about a decade. Before that I was a journalist and have done a nice kind of circle of life and come back into the journalism world. I worked at Triathlete magazine for three years and joined you guys just a few months ago.

Rob Pickels  02:22

Awesome. And Ryan, you’ve been creating some content for us too, but you’re mostly a coach.

Ryan Bolton  02:27

Yeah, that’s true. I noticed you don’t talk about any of my accolades as an athlete because they were like four centuries ago. So.

EK  02:37

Olympian, Olympian turned, coach!

Rob Pickels  02:39

Olympian turned coach. Sorry, sorry.

EK  02:43

Ryan was on the US Olympic team for triathlon.


Yeah, and honestly, honestly, that seems like a lifetime ago. And I definitely identify more as a coach now than I do as an athlete. But yeah, yeah, coaching, you know, long course and short course athletes. And, of course, I have some age group athletes too. But you know, my big focus is on the professionals that I work with.

Rob Pickels  03:02

That’s awesome. So EK, Ryan, what are we talking about today?

EK  03:05

We’re talking all about the Ironman World Championships, which just happened a few days ago, the women’s race was on Thursday, the men’s race on Saturday, and oh, my goodness, what a show Ryan, I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like watching that live in person. But uh, you know, I know that I cancelled pretty much all my plans on Saturday to stay glued to the to the couch to watch the men’s race. And then similarly on Thursday, I know, it’s just like, set the triathlon world on fire, because they were, they were two phenomenal races when they,

Ryan Bolton  03:33

they were, you know, I mean, of course, we’re big fans of the sport, here. But it was, you know, I found myself because I was outside during the race and inside during the race, and I found myself glued to the race the entire time. And it’s eight hours, it’s an eight hour sporting event. And it’s pretty amazing when it can keep you captivated for that long, but I would say both races were both incredibly interesting this year. And, and really, I mean, they kind of had you at the edge of your seat. You couldn’t you couldn’t step away from from watching because there was constantly something happening. And I think, you know, the coverage now. And with the tracking now it’s so much easier to follow it as well.

EK  04:10

Yeah, for sure. And probably before we get too far into the weeds with what happened and how it happened and, and the impact and that of all of that. I think we should probably just give a quick overview of Ironman and the history of the sport and that kind of thing. Because, obviously, yeah, Ironman involves a 2.4 mile swim 112 mile bike ride and a marathon 26.2 mile run, which Yeah, as Ryan just alluded to, it takes the professionals around the eight hour mark, although the guys went significantly, top guys went significantly faster than that on the weekend. It’s a race that typically happens in Hawaii. So you know, a lot of people have either seen the coverage on NBC or, you know, it’s become a very iconic race, you know, really is the standout event of the year. I think yam for dinner, the world champion, three time world champion referred to it as the Wimbledon of our sport, and I think that’s a great reference. But yeah, it’s been going on now. Since it’s been going on in the Big Island of Hawaii since 1982, and started back in 78, on Oahu, and yeah, is now really just a huge event that is so yeah, like I say so iconic and attracts the very best, the best incredibly competitive. It usually has was the eight out Yeah, seven, I think 751 was the previous men’s world record. And the winner on Saturday did took 11 minutes off. That was 740 Gustav Eden of Norway. And the women’s race on Thursday, was also close to a world best Chelsea Siddhar, complete rookie took the win. First American winning, I think 25 years nearly. And she was very close to world record time to I think 833. So great stuff, great stuff. But tell us some of your thoughts right on the race, because you’re obviously you’re obviously there. Did you call any of those winners? I mean, did you call any of those podiums?

Ryan Bolton  05:49

You know, on the women’s side, I think that there were only a couple people in the world that would have said Chelsea SIdora was going to win the race. And I think that’s what’s so magical about Kona, you know, she’s a first timer, a rookie, a relatively new mom. I mean, she’s, you know, she hasn’t even been in the sport for a tremendous amount of time. And I really, you know, when you talk to people before the race, of course, you know, the and hog, Daniela reef, Lucy Charles, you know, those were the names that people were mentioning, and I didn’t hear anyone talking about Chelsea. So seeing her up front, and ultimately winning the race was a really cool thing. On the men’s side, Gustaf Eden, even though he was a rookie, and it’s incredibly rare for rookies to win here. He was definitely being talked about a lot. I mean, you know, he’s a world champion, in half Ironman already. He’s a phenomenal athlete, you know, the Ironman that he has done, he did incredibly well. And he’s kind of part of that whole new, you know, Norwegian express that they’re calling it. And so I think people were expecting him to do well, I don’t know if people are expecting him to win. But um, if you would have asked me before the race, could Chelsea SIdora win the race, I would have been like, boy, I don’t really know, if you would have asked me if gustavian could win the race? I would have said yes, definitely.

Rob Pickels  06:58

Ryan, I’d love to unpack that a little bit. You mentioned it’s incredibly rare for rookies for first timers to win this race. Why is that? Is that a purely physiological development? Or is it a knowledge for say, pacing or nutrition strategy? What is preventing that first timer from being successful? Traditionally,

Ryan Bolton  07:15

yeah, it’s a knowledge of this race, and Kona is it’s special. And I think anyone who’s been here recognizes that it’s different from any Ironman I’ve either competed in or been to, in that the conditions are usually, you know, extra harsh the energy here, the sun radiation. And this course, has, it takes experience to learn how it works, I think first timers and people who, you know, have a tendency to race aggressively, often get nipped here, and you have to learn how to deal with that. And also, I don’t think people, you know, ultimately are prepared for what the heat feels like, or what the wind feels like here. And so, you know, like I said, historically, you see it people who have experienced here and who have been here and who are used to these conditions, even athletes that I’ve worked with before, you know, when they come after their first time here, I’ve always like, Okay, now, you know, now you know what this is all about. And now you’re much more prepared, you know, to do well here. And I mean, and also just historically, looking at results. I mean, you’d have to look on both the men’s and women’s side. But, you know, I think it’s only a couple times on each side that a natural rookie has won this race. So this year, the fact that two rookies won is is pretty special.

Trevor Connor  08:28

But another thing that’s extraordinary about this is not only were they rookies, in both cases, they had only ever done a single Iron Man before this. So they’re still learning just how to pace an Ironman, let alone deal with the Hawaiian conditions. And it’s not a case of they showed up and there just wasn’t competition, there were a record set in both races. This was both the men’s and the women’s race were fast races.

Ryan Bolton  08:54

It’s very true. And if you look at how both of them won, this race is almost always won on the run. And the fastest run split often wins. That definitely was the case this weekend. However, I would say what was different is, you know, Gustaf came out of the water in the front pack was at the front of the race the entire day, and then had the fastest run of the day. I mean, beating that is incredibly difficult. on the women’s side, the same thing with Chelsea, she did not come out like right up front, but she came out in kind of one of the main front packs, and then hung right at the front on the bike all day and then have the fastest run of the day. So they both won. And they both won like by basically putting together you know, three, three legs, three very strong legs, their swim bikes and runs. Were all like very little chinks in the armor of either of those guys to win this race.

Rob Pickels  09:41

I think that this echo is something that we’re seeing on the cycling side of things to where these young athletes are coming out of nowhere, and having huge success in some of the biggest, most grueling in the Tour de France, Ironman World Championships events that traditionally we wouldn’t expect a young, relatively inexperienced athlete to do Well in, is this just the new guard? Is there something in the water?

EK  10:04

Yes, that’s super interesting because I think there’s something to be said for like the is it the confidence of youth right that we see in this new generation of youth? Is it the confidence of it? Because I know certainly the the Norwegians seem to have this. I think Sam long who Ryan coaches who’s also that caliber of athlete, he has that, that this exuberance, this confidence in my training in my talent in what I can do when it comes down to the racing, I think, I think there’s partly that, is it also and this is a question, I’m interested in your response to Ryan is it also the the rise of science and technology and the confidence that that gives in training in, in, in performance, you know, like, I don’t know whether you’re watching the back end of the race, but in the coverage of Gustavo, every time the cameras on him in those closing miles, he was checking his watch. And I didn’t know whether he was checking his pace, whether he was checking his blood glucose, you know, like it was, it was very, very interesting.

Ryan Bolton  10:56

I would say the racing is definitely and you mentioned cycling, but in triathlon, for sure, it’s more scientific than ever. And I would add that to it. And when we’re talking science, like, you know, monitoring, you know, physiological items. But in addition to that, I would say that technology is in general, like when we’re talking about bikes, when you’re talking about shoes, like that’s at the next level, too. And that really has evolved over these last, you know, few years. And these young athletes, I think, are more open to trying that stuff. And, you know, more interested in using those technologies. And I would also say there is like this young, and it’s kind of a generational thing that these young guys are coming in, and they’re very, very confident. And they’ve kind of put like the the old guard or, you know, the the pros who, you know, were on top just a couple of years ago on their heels for sure. I mean, the game has changed in both races, and it’s just the racing is more aggressive. These guys, they didn’t have to adapt to this. This is the way they race, the people who are older are having to adapt to this new way of racing. But there is

Trevor Connor  12:03

Something else that we need to call out here because I believe it’s Gustafson. He’s what 2324 He’s pretty young. But Chelsea, I’m not going to call her old. But she’s, I believe, 33 years old. And more importantly, 18 months before winning this event, she gave birth to her child. And I think if you went to a coach, six months after giving birth to a child and say, what I want to do is prepare for the World Championships and Ironman and win it in an event I’ve never done before. Most coaches would say, hold your horses. That’s that’s a little bit of a crazy thought, maybe a few years from now, but I mean to pull that off is extraordinary in its own.

Rob Pickels  12:44

Yeah, I’d love to get some more insight into Chelsea and how she accomplished this. What did she do differently in her training? In her pacing and her nutrition in her arrow? Is there something that we can point out that says yeah, this is why she was successful. You know,

EK  12:59

I know that Chelsea had a pretty strong plan for returning to racing postpartum. I think it was like she was planning to have the first six weeks with her baby. And then she wanted to make that Collins Cup team for last summer. So she, she got back to racing pretty swiftly. So yeah, within I think like, I want to say like within three months, she was back up to a pretty solid amount of training, and obviously having to be pretty flexible. And I’ve seen some YouTube clips of her saying, you know, hold now if I get six hours sleep a night, it’s phenomenal. If you’d asked me this pre having a baby before being pregnant. If I did, if I told you I was having six hours of sleep when I’m training full time I had been freaking out. Yep. So she had I do know that she had a pretty robust plan for coming back into structured training. So it might not actually be that rare. Although it seems crazy. In terms of other sports. There has now been a lot of female professional athletes who have come back from having their first child, their second child and return to racing at pretty high level. So she is in some very good company. But she’s obviously the first person to have arrived in Kona and one postpartum. So like, yeah, it’s it’s pretty phenomenal.

Ryan Bolton  14:10

And I think that’s what’s unique about Chelsea is that it is it was Kona, you know, she is the first mom to win Kona, which is really great to see. But I also really agree with ek is historically an endurance sports. I mean, you even look at you know, the best runners in the world, the East African women, some of those women are winning World major marathons in near world record time. And they have they have three children at home. So I mean, it’s actually it’s actually, you know, somewhat of a, I don’t know, if you would call it a common thing, but, you know, people are doing it. And I think, you know, based on what ek just said, I mean, Chelsea approached it in a very, like cognitive, very smart way. And, you know, I’m sure she’s guided really well. And, you know, she probably built up progressively but you know, it was 18 months and I mean, you know, from a coach standpoint, when I look at that 18 months is more than adequate time to get tip top condition.

EK  15:01

Yeah. And she’s coached by Dr. Dan Plews, who I think still holds the age group record for racing for Ironman Kona. So there’s, there’s obviously some pretty deep insight there and knowledge and in terms of although she’s coming to the island as a rookie, she’s come in with some great, great, great input and expertise on her on her team. I know she’s done a lot of training camps on the Big Island too, which obviously helps. So, you know, to all intents and purposes, a rookie, but a very well educated, you know, very well prepared one. And in terms of her actual race execution, you know, from everything I’ve seen from her post race, she says, like, Oh, I just executed the perfect race. I did what I did what I was, I was here to do. And certainly on the run, it just looked like she was consistently running at a very, almost like metronomic pace, you know, just like clocking out those miles and she just, and I know, it’s very, it’s very easy, especially for the armchair spectator to be like, she’s gonna blow she’s gonna blow up. At what point is this gonna, you know, you had all the commentators on the coverage, sort of expecting her to blow any point, but she just looked very steady.

Rob Pickels  16:02

Yeah. And I noticed something. Alan cousins who’s a pretty prolific tweeter, and a great contributor to fast talk tweeted out, essentially, it said, age groupers, take note, take the time to look after yourself properly at the aid stations is ultimately an investment and running very fast between them. Right. And so it seems like he’s chalking this up a little bit to staying on top of that nutrition plan. Even I think when you’re back on the bike is really a big key to success in being successful, like you said, in the running portion, which is one of the biggest determinants of how well, you’re going to finish in this race. Yeah,

EK  16:35

definitely. And Ryan can probably speak to this too. But I think one of the things that really stands sets a lot of great competitors out at Ironman or even shorter distances to but is like viewing your body as a machine. And it’s like, how do I keep this machine ticking and operating at its optimum function for as long as possible? This is a long day, but how do I keep How do I keep my body? How do I keep my machine? How do I keep my unit functioning optimally. And we saw her dumping ice on herself. We saw her walking through aid stations, drinking water, electrolyte Coke, all the things, pouring ice wherever you get ice. Right? And I’m sure that’s probably something you’ve always advised your athletes to. But it’s like, how do you keep? How do you keep the human body working at its physiological best? And and obviously, psychologically, you know, when you’re in these conditions, when you’re at the front of a world championship race,

Ryan Bolton  17:22

yeah, and to execute a good Ironman, no matter where you are, in the world, nutrition is incredibly important. And you have to go into and like these top athletes, I’m sure do most athletes do you have to go into the race with a very specific nutrition plan. Then in Kona, what you add on top of that is the heat and the cooling plan. So you want to cool yourself as well. And I think one thing that you just mentioned UK was, you know, you are, you’re like a fuel tank. And that’s what I always talk with athletes about is like, you know, you’re starting the race with a full fuel tank. And you’re also your engine is at a nice cool temperature, as well. And you need to keep it as cool as long as you possibly can. And you need to keep your fuel tank as full as you possibly can. The entire race, it’s impossible to keep it absolutely full. You know, as you progress through the race, it’s always going to be like gradually going from full to empty, but as long as you can make it to the finish line before it gets to empty. You know, that’s the ultimate goal. And you see that people are watching with the new glucose monitors. They’re watching, you know, what their blood sugar is doing throughout the race, which helps them with when they need to feel. But like I said, I know that you know, Chelsea and Gustavo, I mean, the top two people, you watch both of those guys, they’re very, very effectively taking in nutrition at every aid station and sometimes, you know, slowing down significantly and that’s true. I mean, I think Yan for Dino was the first trendsetter with that, you know, he’s winning an Ironman and people were watching him walk through aid stations, they’re like, oh, no, he’s in trouble. And he wasn’t in trouble. He was just being smart. He was keeping himself cool. He’s making sure he’s getting in the calories you knew that was important.

Rob Pickels  18:55

Ahead of this episode, we had a chance to talk with Adam St. Pierre, who is an experienced coach and physiologist who’s worked with athletes of all types. We asked him about the unique training demands of Kona,

Adam St. Pierre  19:04

I think you can look at the specific demands of of Ironman and then you can look further at the specific demands of Kona. So to be successful as an Ironman triathlete, pretty obviously you need to be able to maintain a high, I won’t talk at all about swimming because that’s an area I’m I’m pretty negligent about and even when I have coached triathletes, I would always defer to a you real swim coach, as far as that goes, you know, but on the bike, you want to improve power lactate threshold, because that should trickle down and allow you to push more watts at a lower effort. You know, you can look at the duration of the cycling leg, you know, whether it’s four hours or six hours, you know, for the competitive Ironman athletes definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. It seems absurd, but I think it’s pretty darn fast. Yeah, like, you know, over a four plus hour event, that’s definitely not a threshold event. And probably not even, you know, a sweet spot or a sub threshold events you’ve got I have the capacity to go pretty hard for a pretty long time. So that gets into sort of, you know, ultra endurance training, where where your long rides and your, your long ride run workouts become sort of the the crucial components. I do recall like in working with with Ironman triathletes, the vast majority of training is done on the bike and recalling I remarking at the low volume of run training, they typically did, given how fast they were then able to turn around a marathon been a running a sub three, or even a 230 marathon on 40 miles a week seems kind of kind of ridiculous, but then you factor in the amount of additional aerobic work they’re getting. And I guess it’s not that crazy.

Trevor Connor  20:46

So that’s something that I found really interesting watching actually watched a kind of highlights of both races, and for both, even and for Chelsea. It was funny, the commentators when they saw them that they’re starting run pays when Oh, rookies, haven’t figured it out yet. They’re going out too hard, they’re going to blow up. And in either case, they blow up both of them set a record for the marathon and go stuff in the last four or five miles started doing a Ford 38 minute pace, he sped up. So that’s an by contrast, so again, I’m gonna butcher these names, I apologize. But in the women’s race going into the run, there was a woman who is a reef Fenella reef who was leading, and she lost 40 minutes in the run, and she’s a two time champion. So that’s what I was wondering what have these newcomers figured out? Is it just the nutrition side? It seems like the more experienced athletes might not be following.

EK  21:43

Oh, no, I mean, Daniella reef certainly has her nutrition dialed i think it was just that’s kind of a little bit right. Ryan, you might be interested in your take too. But this is kind of one of those things where Kona just gets you sometimes this is like the, the quote unquote magic or the or the mystery of the island that some of the athletes you might have heard some of the athletes refer to. Some days you have magic days, some days, you have terrible days and goodness, like we’ve seen Daniella reef absolutely crushed the field here on the Ark Encounter before. But it wasn’t her year. You know, she won convincingly in St. George at the Ironman World Championships in in May, earlier this year. But she was one of the first to congratulate Chelsea Citaro at the end of the race, because Daniella didn’t have it. And I don’t think it was I don’t think it was just nutrition. It was a combination of factors. You know, it’s like I think I read Daniella say she’d gone too hard on the bike and tried to close the gap out of the swim gone too hard on the bike and didn’t have the run legs that she needed in order to compete at that level on that day. But that can be very, very different. You know, Danielle has won that race three times. So but yeah, Ryan interested in your thoughts on that team?

Ryan Bolton  22:43

Yeah, no, I totally agree. I Danielle is like the definition of professional in this sport. And I’m sure if she had a really great game plan coming into this, and like you said, it just wasn’t her day, which is crazy. Because you look back at St. George, you know, she just dominated that race. And I mean, I think she if if most people and I didn’t look at the surveys before the race, but I’m sure she was probably the favorite and, and she had a planned, you know, to win, but um, it just didn’t work out for her. And I mean, same thing on the men’s side, you know, you look at how stacked both of these fields are. And if you’re here, if you make it to Kona, like you’re likely pretty pro, you have a good plan in place and everything. But man, that’s the crazy thing about this island. And I mean, and like said it’s sometimes it benefits, like it benefits those young guys. And it was interesting because some of the older experienced guys on the men’s side, like Sebastian Kinley had an amazing race. Honestly, that race that he had here this year, probably would have won it almost any of the other years that he raced here, you know, and, you know, but it didn’t that I mean, he really, really put it together one of my athletes on In contrast, who he’s one of the most professional athletes that I’ve ever worked with Ben Hoffman, you know, he’s been taught five here many, many times. It’s funny that his nutrition went bad he went sour on nutrition on on the bike, and we can’t what you said he K is just Kona, like, it’s the same nutrition plan that he’s been on and, you know, little modifications here and there, but it’s still just kind of it blew up on him and and ended up you know, resulting in not not an optimal race. But the island does that to you. And this race does that to you.

Rob Pickels  24:17

And that’s the thing with having an event that’s this long, that’s this hard this grueling in these conditions. If you’re 1% off in a crit, you might be able to hide that and then sprint for the finish, right. But if you’re 1% off in Kona or anything like it, you might just blow up catastrophically because you are trying to make up for that 1% throughout the swim throughout the bike. And by the time you get to the run, you’re so far behind at that point, your gas tank runs empty, or you’re overheating or whatever it is. And so I do think you see, you know, big differences in performances as opposed to what a 1% you would otherwise think would be a small difference in performance.

EK  24:56

Yeah, definitely. And I think with the second on the on the men’s side Like the second place finisher, Sam laid low, who again, you know, like, holy moly, like we knew that he could ride a bike bike course record. Did anybody know you could do a four four and Kona and then still run off it the way he did? You know, obviously, the Norwegians didn’t think that he could because they let him go up the road and then discovered that he’d got like a five six minute gap and they showed Gustavo Eden’s face when he found out they had a he had a five, six minute gap. And he was like, what? And I guess they still thought they could, but they could really mean but then there you go. There’s, there’s a guy who’s having the race of his life on the most important day of the year. And again, total rookie, he’s he’s raced some Ironman, but and he’s been around and he’s had some great battles already. But did you pick him? Did you have your eye on him run?

Ryan Bolton  25:43

Well, you know, it’s funny, because he’s such a strong swim biker, but historically, you know, he, he melts on the run, and he ends up walking around courses often. And I think that, you know, those guys, and that’s what happens in Kona, too, like those guys, they did let him go on the bike. And I think they got off the bike, and they’re like, Okay, you know, fine, he’s gonna be walking at the, you know, six mile mark or 10 mile mark or something. And you could see panic on their faces when they got out onto the Queen K. And they started realizing he was not coming back to him. And he was on a good day. And yeah, the thing is, is what laid low knew, and I mean, I think you know, what we all know, he’s a phenomenal athlete. And he’s an incredible athlete. He just hadn’t put together a race like this before. He was capable of it, and it was within him. But now he’s put it together, you know, I can guarantee you next year, if the same thing were to happen in Kona, those guys wouldn’t let him go. And, yeah. But yeah, the thing is, that was I mean, he rode incred. I mean, by course record by, you know, five ish minutes. And I think that, you know, that no one else really could go with him. I mean, you know, I think when he went, like those guys would have been, it would have been detrimental to their races to actually go with him. And they had to take the risk of letting him go and hoping to run him down. And you know, they barely did. And I mean, the only person that did was eaten, and it took the course record to do that. So yeah, it’s a super impressive performance by him. So

Trevor Connor  27:05

Ryan, that’s something that I want to ask you about. Because what I got out of this race was the extraordinary importance of pacing, I saw interviews with both of the winners, and they both talked about I followed my plan, the plan worked to a tee. And that involved being okay with not being the first one out of the water that actually involve being okay with losing some time on the bike, and just saying, I’m going to go my own pace, and then I’m going to take it back in the run. So I have to believe with all the athletes that, particularly in a race like this, where Rob said, if you’re off by 1%, you can blow up spectacularly, you have to really know yourself and know where you’re going to shine, or you’re in trouble is that the case?

Ryan Bolton  27:48

You know, in Ironman racing, it’s especially true, it’s such a long race, that you’re racing yourself, you really have to like, follow your plan. And if you start following someone else’s plan, it can get you in trouble, you know, spiking energy spiking power, you know, can put you into into some bad metabolism, you start metabolizing too much sugar too early in this race, and you’re gonna be in big trouble. And I know, you know, those guys, they’re definitely all racing out there. But they are following their parameters really well. And even before the race, they know exactly what those are just to make sure that they’re not there. You know, like, in laid low. He’s a good example. I mean, I think Laidlaw knows where his limits are. And he clearly, you know, stayed within those limits and everything and, and ended up having a good race, while people were watching it. They were thinking that he was maybe above his limit. But I mean, he’s a smart guy. And, you know, he knows what his limits are. And like you said, gustavian, you guys, you watch those guys, you know, on the course, they’re constantly, you know, monitoring their power number, they’re constantly monitoring their pace numbers, so that because they know exactly where those limits are, and they don’t want to go over them. But there’s also a race component that does come in there. And that definitely takes over it sometimes. But sometimes it takes over to their detriment, but those guys clearly stayed within their limits and, and had good ones.

Rob Pickels  29:06

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Trevor Connor  29:54

There are a lot of unique elements to the race this year. But there was one other that I really feel we need To dive into a little bit and hear what sort of impact that had, which is this is the first time they had the women’s and the men’s race on separate days.

Ryan Bolton  30:08

Yeah, that was, I think, you know, it’s been being talked about for years separating the women’s and the men’s race, just to make it a cleaner race for both of them. And, I mean, I loved the format, having the women race on Thursday, and being able to just watch their race, focus on their race, highlight their race. And the coverage was, you know, just so much better on both days of each of each of the men and the women. But there’s just so much value in that. And it really highlighted the performances more and I think allowed us to just track the athletes so much better, you know, throughout the entire day, on the women’s side, you know, normally they, they’re out of the water, and they kind of get caught up with all the men’s stuff. And they’re going back and forth with the coverage. And it was just it was just so much more beneficial. The one thing that it actually caused a little bit of a strain on the island, I was told because of staff and because of road closures on Two Days and everything. But to me that having them on separate days was absolutely worth it. And I hope that they continue to do it in the future

Rob Pickels  31:12

is so does that affect, say pacing strategy for for women or for the men having the groups mixed? What is the actual practical implication on the race course of the two different days?

EK  31:24

Yeah, for the women, it’s often been a problem, because the lead women often have the tail end of the pro men that get caught up in the you know, I know, some of the lead women have gotten out onto the bike course. And then eventually they get caught up in the back end of the male race. And it really affects like things like drafting penalties, you have to this is not draft legal racing, that there has to be a legal gap. And this often leads to more in the past, it’s often led to more penalties and just basically impacts the front of the women’s race. And yeah, just is not fair. It’s also the first time there’s been 50 women on the start line as well as 50 men at Ironman was one of those sports that was still not having equal representation even at this point. So it’s a very, you know, that was that was a very significant and impactful move and progression. And I’ve read that it’s meant to be at least another year where they’ll have the two separate races, I think, really everybody’s going to be calling for it to be a permanent fixture, not just something that happens for the next year. But yeah, and it was great to see dedicated coverage of the women’s race, as well as the, as the men’s because there’s been so many times in the, in the past where the you know, they cut from something significant happening in the women’s race in order to go cover up, you know, something happening in the men’s race. And it’s kind of like, Come on, guys, we can do better than this. So that was really, really good to see, you know, as a fan of both sides of the sport. It was it was really, really good to see.

Rob Pickels  32:44

Ryan, what did you notice being there on the ground?

Ryan Bolton  32:46

Yeah, it made it for a more fair race as well, you could see in like what ek said, you know, you would have problem with the women running into the back of the men and more age groupers around them, and it kind of that can mess up the race dynamics. And in this race, you saw it because the other thing is is like the draft marshals, the technical officials could like be more in tune with, you know, each race on each day. And you saw that this year, there were there were drafting penalties. There were more penalties than I’ve ever seen before. And they were being very, very strict with those penalties. And I think that they could, because a they need to be and they’re getting the feedback that they need to be but be because they weren’t spread out so much over over so much period of the course and over to you know, between the men and women. So it ended up being a fair race because of that, I think,

EK  33:33

yeah, definitely. Great.

Rob Pickels  33:35

I’d love to switch gears here and get into a little bit more of the nuts and bolts of training and preparing for Kona, multiple times throughout this and in my opinion, it’s Ironman, it has to be just impossibly hard in general. But ek Ryan, you both pointed out that Kona is especially hard. Why is that? Why is it harder there than then doing something anywhere else?

EK  33:58

I think it’s just like kind of a combination of environmental factors. The heat, humidity, the wind, I mean, we haven’t talked too much about the wind wind didn’t play as big a factor as it is it can sometimes do. But gee, yeah, I mean, that’s the wind in Kona, if you get a windy day, it’s you’re riding sideways just to keep the bike up. Right, you know, and that makes it incredibly hard. It is the best of the best of the best gathering in this tiny, tiny little island in the middle of nowhere. This is intensity that type A plus A plus comes with being an extremely competitive athlete. There’s an intensity of these combination of factors and this and the fact that it’s just such has such a special special place in the triathlon, interest on history and the triathlon race circuit. I think all these things combined. Make it you know, there’s 40 plus years of history of this race and triathlon superfans will triathlon fans just wait for it every every year, you know, sponsors industry experts, athletes, coaches, everybody. Anybody who wants is interested in triathlon is interested encounters like that didn’t. It’s the Olympics. It’s mumbled and it’s everything rolled into one. So I think that is one of the reasons why it becomes so hard to do well there because this is so there’s so much expectation, there’s so much pressure, whether it’s on from yourself or from other other sources.

Rob Pickels  35:13

UK Ryan, you both have experienced racing. I mean, the absolute very top of this at the Olympics at World Championships. Is there anything about those ultra high level events that maybe takes you out of the game a little bit? You mentioned, it’s Kona, there, it’s the best of the best, it’s the hardest one. And in my mind, I originally thought, yeah, if I was in that situation, I would want to just be going 1%, harder, 1% faster. Everybody around me is so good. I need to try extra hard. Do you see that in athletes? And do you see things like that ultimately being undermining their race? Because they didn’t pace? Right? They didn’t do their nutrition, right? That just the event itself disrupted the plan. And there were negative performances because of that.

Ryan Bolton  35:57

Yeah, earlier, we were talking about, you know how important it is to follow your race plan and how the people who won this year, you know, that’s why they are successful is they they followed the race plan. But that’s so true. You know, EK touched on the few things that make this special, but like, it’s such a pressure cooker in Kona, and people do easily get pulled off their game plans when that happens, you know, they think they need to add that extra 1%. And the truth of it is, is you just have to race to your potential here. And if you race to your potential do well, because most people are trying to erase race above their potential because it is the best in the world. It is the highest level of competition in the sport. Then, like I said, it’s the pressure cooker. Another thing that ek knows well about is the pros, when they come here, they have so many sponsor obligations. You know what other Iron Man’s other races they don’t nearly have as many commitments but here, I mean, if you looked at, you know, what they have to do on a daily basis with sponsors, I mean, they’re going to multiple events every day. And in a race that’s not a normal lead up and managing that is difficult for some athletes. So I think that adds to it but uh, touching on kind of the the other thing that ek talked about, and we talked about earlier, as the climate here is, it is one of the harshest condition races and the winds sometimes out on the Queen K, or I mean, they knock people over on their bikes. And I will say that this year, and you know, I’ve been to Kona, maybe about 10 times for this race, I would say this year is definitely the most mild conditions I’ve ever experienced here. The the winds, I couldn’t believe being out on the Queen K, you know, on the bike course and stuff like it was almost non existent at times. And then when they did pick up, they’re almost favourable, I felt like and on the run course, as well. And it also, you know, it was hot, it’s always hot here, it’s always muggy, but it wasn’t incredibly hot this year. And I think that really helped the athletes too. So you know, seeing the record set, I do think that the the records that were set on the men’s side, were phenomenal performances. But I also think that they they were helped by, you know, by optimal conditions. And I think that next year, people could come back and actually do a harder race or a faster race. And it wouldn’t be reflected in the times because the conditions just might be tougher, but that’s the way cone is. And when you come to Canada, you don’t come to race, you know, for a fast time you come to race to win

Rob Pickels  38:23

the So Brian, when you’re working with athletes, that you’re coaching for Iron Man’s, but also for this event, in particular, you know that you’ve pointed out there are so many different things that make the race difficult. How do you integrate that into training? Are you just focusing on the physiology that it’s going to take? Are you doing simulations for the hot weather? You know, using a heat chamber or sauna? Are you focused on mental preparation? Maybe the answer is all of the above. But how do you when you’re writing a plan? How do you bring these together?

Ryan Bolton  38:55

It is all of the above. And I think he came mentioned that, you know, Chelsea Sodaro had been coming out here for training camps. I encourage and I know that’s not such a practical thing. But if people have a chance to come to the island before the race and not I’m saying like in the week before the race, I’m saying months before the race to get out and actually see what it’s like here because I don’t think a lot of people don’t understand what it is actually like here until they get out on that course. I know that’s not the most practical thing for most people, the professionals can do that. But for athletes that I work with every athlete that comes to Kona goes through a heat training protocol at home wherever they are, you know if they’re in Colorado, or even in Arizona athletes, and I mean, I actually have specific athletes that will go to a warm weather place to be training in the heat prior to the race, but also if that’s not available to them. All athletes do usually specific like sauna protocols in the weeks leading up to the race so that their body is acclimatized to the heat as much as possible.

Rob Pickels  39:53

Let’s hear again from Adam St. Pierre and his thoughts on the importance of training specifically for the event, especially Dealing with the heat

Adam St. Pierre  40:02

in training, you know, ultra marathon runners, gravel cyclists, skimo, Leadville, 100, mountain bikers, I think the key thing is to look at the specific demands of the event for which you’re training, then focus your training on meeting those specific demands. For instance, like John Gaston has been top 10, a couple of times that deliver the 100, including second just a couple of weeks ago and 2022, I’d love to have him work on his view to max a little more with with some shorter higher intensity work. But that’s not super specific to the demands of the events He’s been training for. Typically, that’s something we would do almost at the beginning of the season, and then get more and more specific to the event. As we get closer to the event.

Trevor Connor  40:44

Are there particular demands that are unique to Kona that are different from other Iron Men?

Adam St. Pierre  40:49

I mean, you’ve obviously got to account for the heat. I don’t know if that’s necessarily specific to Kona, because there’s a lot of Ironman races are undertaken and fairly warm places. I think, coming from a background as a physiologist in Boulder, Colorado where Kona was, you know, an October race? And sometimes, I guess September is still pretty darn hot in Boulder, isn’t it? But you’d want to make sure athletes were getting out in the heat of the day. You know, some triathletes, particularly the you know, the the working working person triathletes, the non pros, they’re, they’re up and they’re doing their workouts, five to 7am, where it might only be, you know, 5060 degrees. So then when it gets to Kona, and they’re out there in the heat of the day, they may not be adequately prepared for that. So you know, looking at the specific demands of what time of day will you be racing? What are the conditions likely to be when you’re on the bike when you’re running and trying to mimic those summon training? I mean, spring races are the worst for training for and Colorado. Trying to train for a hot April or May race in Colorado is pretty challenging. Like I had an athlete do do Western states in June from Boulder, so we were doing a lot of sauna work, make sure that he got some heat acclamation. I’ve got an athlete, Hilary Allen running UTMB next week, when UTMB is unique, because I think it’s a 6pm local time start. And Hillary is someone who’s she’s up and running by 6am every day. So the next two weeks we’re focusing on, okay, do your running at 6pm. Get into that, that habit that roll make sure it feels okay, you know, get your body into that rhythm.

Ryan Bolton  42:22

The other component that is is the mental thing and just being mentally prepared for you know, what the island has to offer. Like I said, people if they haven’t been here before, I feel like they, you know, everyone says, oh, yeah, it’s hot. Oh, yeah, it’s windy and everything, but actually letting them know that yes, this is the case. And I also think giving them a game plan on race day, you know, to be maybe a little bit more conservative, and you know, to make sure that the nutrition is spot on for these conditions from both a hydration and electrolyte standpoint. You know, going in with that type of planning is just, it’s so much more critical here because of the conditions.

Trevor Connor  42:55

So Ryan, a practical question that I have for you and advocate, I’ll ask you this as well. Going back to the fact that we just had to rookies when, if you’re working with an athlete who let’s say they have Olympic triathlon experience, even half Ironman experience, and they now say, I want to move to training for an Ironman I want to go and perform at something like Kona, what do you change in in their training? What are you focusing on to get them from the distance they were doing to be able to be successful to an event of this length with this difficulty with this environment? Yeah, you

Ryan Bolton  43:28

know, the training is different because there’s more volume and more strength involved. And I mean, that’s just kind of practical, of course, you think about it, you know, that you’re moving up in distance, you’re gonna want to move your your training, volume up and distance. I think the another piece of that is, is nutrition becomes incredibly important. It’s a huge part of the race and Olympic distance race, you can mess up the nutrition, you’re going to be fine, likely, in a 70.3, you can make these small mistakes and still be fine in an Ironman. We talked about this earlier, you know, you you’re 1% off on that day, and the entire race can really go into a downward spiral quickly. So the training, nailing the nutrition and then I think the other big thing with Iron Man that’s different in preparing athletes is the pacing component. Once again, you talk about the shorter distance races, they can be more aggressive, you can be a little bit more responding to other athletes and racing in the race as the races get longer. As you get into Ironman, you really have to focus more internally and on your race and on your numbers and really stick with that program. And it’s easy for people to get pulled out of that, you know, when they get into a race situation they they all of a sudden get you know into Race mode and start racing other people but you know, in an Ironman leading in especially if it’s their first Ironman, you really got to be conservative and and really stay within your own numbers.

Rob Pickels  44:46

So Ryan, how do you bring that into training? You pointed out the pacing is important that nutrition is important that that strength at the end of the event is important. But there’s absolutely no way you can mimic this in Everyday training, right? I mean, you would just sink an athlete, you can’t even race that often. Are there special things that you do or that athletes that can do to bring this into their Monday through Friday training they have going on?


For sure you, you know, you have to bring it in, like you said, it’s impossible. You can’t just go tell an athlete, okay? Do go do an Ironman tomorrow. Even if they build up to that, you can’t do that. So you have to do this progressive build, and kind of this progressive fatigue on an athlete system, so that they are actually getting the replication of a fatigue of what an Ironman feels like, just not like in one, you know, a cute day, because, of course, you have to recover from it as well, I mean, recovering from an Ironman race takes a significant amount of time. And, you know, it wouldn’t be a practical thing with training to say, Hey, you’re just going to put in an Ironman effort, and we’re gonna get that level of fatigue leveling into you. So yeah, the way that I like to do is really blocking out the training, really polarizing the training, you know, with some really heavy loading, and then some really light loading, you know, to allow for full recovery. I mean, that’s, that’s a big piece of it. But there’s also I mean, there’s kind of secret, you know, or, or key workout sessions, where you can load the legs to simulate how they’re going to feel like say, on the Ironman run, because it’s once it’s hard to replicate what you’re going to feel like it 20 miles into a marathon run both metabolically but also physiologically, on a race day. So by planning, specific training, you know, putting a great example is you know, putting a big bike day, that’s pretty fatiguing bike day, with a swim, you know, prior to a day where you’re going to do a decent bike day with a longer run off it again. So when you get into that run, your legs are feeling that replicated feeling of what it feels like and you’re having to use the strength that you use in the race on the race day, you know, doubling up workouts, to doubling up bike workouts, doubling up run workouts, putting in blocks like that can help replicate that too, without beating you up too much, but still giving you a similar replication.

EK  47:04

Yeah, I would say I would just jump in there and say like learning to train on really tired legs wanting to run on really tired legs, is the probably the best way that I was used to learn to mimic that simulate that race day feeling because you can’t let it like right Ryan says you can’t send an athlete out to go ride 112 miles and then run a marathon off it as part of training. But you can do like like cumulative effect, a fatigue of Big Bite sessions with smaller runs off. And then some long run, like a big four day block or five day block like that, where you’re really, by the end of that block you are, you’re tired, you are really trying to learn how to cope with running and or training and being fatigued being mentally and physically. And I think that’s one of the ways that you can achieve that without having to having to bank that kind of crazy, crazy mileage.

Rob Pickels  47:51

I think this is something I would struggle with. As an athlete, we talk a lot about polarized training here, a large block of volume at low intensity work and then is some higher intensity. But ultimately, you’re oftentimes trying to have relatively fresh legs so that that’s the purpose of this high volume of low intensity is you’re not building up all of this fatigue that’s preventing you from doing your high intensity really well. And I know me as an athlete a little bit more of a faster Twitch shorter effort type of person, you know to hear you say you just have to train tired you have to get good at that is a total one ad from anything that’s ever been in my mind for training.

EK  48:30

Yeah, well, if you don’t want to get too tight, I mean, I’ll let Ryan jump in here but you don’t want to get too tired because then you’re obviously going to get into the stage of overreaching, overtraining burnout, all the rest of it. But I do think there’s something to be said from learning to run on tired legs. Yeah.

Rob Pickels  48:41


Ryan Bolton  48:42

Yeah, well, and another thing that I would add to that and is that you don’t always run on tired legs and you don’t always do you know, your quality run workouts on tired like some of your quality run workouts you actually put when your legs are fresh, so you can get the quality into the legs that you need to but it’s a delicate balance between, you know, doing the hard and doing, you know, doing it on on tired legs. And I would say another big big piece of it is it is with you know, periodized thing. The schedule is you don’t just dive into this stuff, you know, I always say if someone says hey, I want to be successful, you know, at an Iron Man, how long is it going to take me? And I’ll say how long do you have because the more time you have to build into it, the better the more volume you can put on into the system, you know, the more strength you can get into the system is the more successful you’re going to be in also you’re probably going to be able to be more healthy as you do it. So you know, it’s not like you can just dive into this stuff and I think that’s you know, a big thing is people when they do an Ironman, getting as much time under your belt or allowing for plenty of a long build so that you can really successfully get to it with everything you need.

Trevor Connor  49:53

That was something I was gonna raise which is periodization is so critical. You know, Emma K pointed out that you Sometimes you got to train on tired legs and learn how to do that. But if you’re on a recovery week and you’re training on tired legs, you’re you’re off plan, you have to adjust to that. That’s something, you know, certainly with the few triathletes I’ve worked with, sure I want them training on on through fatigue sometimes, but it needs to be planned, we need to pick those times when they’re doing that.

Rob Pickels  50:19

Come on, Trevor, anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

EK  50:23

We call it anticipated fatigue. So if you’ve got anticipated fatigue, that’s all good. And that’s what you want. But if when you’re and you’re completely burnt out and shelled on, especially on a Recovery Week, then that will be Yeah, when you’re revisiting the plan. But I’m not just gonna say like, I think a big part of Ironman racing training, all of it is learning the art of patience. In Trevor, you said what’s the difference between an athlete stepping up from racing Olympic or 70.3 into wanting to race Ironman wanting to train for Ironman is learning the art of patience, both for training and and certainly for basic execution? You I can remember in some of my only race five Iron Man’s, but I remember the first couple I was sitting on the bike and I was like, this is the early stages of the bike, I was like, this is really slow. This is my Watts were riding at those Watts was just like, Oh, this one’s this race gonna get good. You know, like, this is boring. It’s not boring. But you know, it’s kind of like, you’re very much holding back, holding back holding back. So it’s all about that the art of patience. So

Rob Pickels  51:18

love that you open that with? I’ve only raised five Iron Man’s,

EK  51:21

like, compared to some of those guys on the Big Island. That’s nothing. Yeah.

Rob Pickels  51:27

UK Ryan, we spent a lot of time and a lot of great conversation on the professional side of the sport. But there was a heck of a lot of amateurs out there, too. Yeah, you know, I’m wondering and working with both groups, what commonalities do we see that help people be successful in an event like this, this, I’m sure, there are some features of being a pro and their training or how they approach the race. That is also leads to success for your common age group are free for every athlete that’s out there listening to this? Yeah, I’m

EK  51:55

sure Ryan has plenty of good insights here. I will just jump in and say I think, you know, when you see the demographic of the age group athletes on the Big Island, those who have qualified for the World Champion Ironman World Championships, they are extremely successful in pretty much everything they touch, right, everything they do. And in order to arrive on the Big Island and race well and execute great race, you have to have got one of a better phrase got your shit together, right? You have got everything in your life in balance. I think you know, you are executing training within an allotted timeframe, your family, work life, social life, things are all pretty much they should be in a healthy and relatively healthy balance. And I think that’s where you see. That’s, that’s what’s of interest. I think, and I’m right on. I’m sure you I know you’re coaching a lot of age groups out there. So I’m sure you can give us more more detailed insights. But I’m striking that balance. How do you help your athletes do that? How do you see that playing

Ryan Bolton  52:50

out? It’s funny, because when I was in college, I had a coach, my coach said, you can do three things in college, he said, You can party, you can go to school, and you can run well because I was a runner. And he said pick two of those things, and do them well, because you cannot do all three well. And he’s basically telling us to go to school and run and not party. And it was true, you could probably do two of those things really well with triathlon, I always tell athletes that I say hey, listen and to be successful in Iron Man, I think exactly what you’re saying, Okay, you have to be a well balanced athlete and my age group athletes who do make it to Kona and who do compete here, are very good at balancing their family life, balancing their jobs and balancing their training. It’s not easy, but like you said, they’re usually you know, people, successful people who are good at managing these types of things. But I can see athletes when, you know, they start letting go of their family commitments, it actually affects them, it affects their training poorly, you know, and vice versa or with with, you know, training and family and work. I mean, it’s this really delicate balance, but people who do have perspective on what’s important with all of the all three of those things, and managing those things really well. You can be you can do it effectively. You know, the other thing that I noticed with successful age group athletes here is that they do they treat triathlon, like my professionals do, and that they’re very professional in the way that they approach things. You know, they ask the right questions about nutrition they ask the right questions about travel about a climatization about training and they really try to balance that stuff and think about it you know, like a professional does because they want to get it all right and when you are here or even just to make it here you do have to have all of that stuff balanced out and, and and it helps and I would say the most successful guys I this year, I had guys this was fun. from a coaching standpoint. I had guys go first and second the 60 to 64 age group. Oh, and both of them. Yeah, it’s really cool. They He came out on a league drive and they came off the bike almost together. And it was really fun like to see basically the two of them running together battling it out for, for first place. And before the race, they knew that was a possibility. But what I would say those guys are, they’re 60 years old. There’s some of the obviously the some of the most, you know, successful athletes in the race. And they’re both incredibly well balanced people who do have families who who fail in that time with their families important, they still both work a bit and their work is very important, and they have difficult jobs. But both of those guys came to the island incredibly well prepared and, and both, you know, with the help of me, but really, because that’s the type of people that they are and you know, it’s fun to see and of course, you know, not that this is necessary, but you know, they had big support groups here when they’re here as well. So you know, making sure that they have that kind of team with them they’ve built a team around them and that’s what I would tell any group athlete is build a really nice strong team around you and utilize them

EK  56:01

Yeah, so I think you know, I’m I’m, I’m in Hawaii has locked for a long time has inspired 1000s and 1000s of people I think partly the Julie moss crawling the NBC coverage that’s been on on TV for decades. It’s obviously inspired a lot of people to step up and step up and step into the sport and give triathlon or give Ironman ago for those listening who may be completely unfamiliar with the sport may be inspired to give it a go maybe if it’s sprint distance, Olympic distance. Brian, what would be your tips for somebody who wants to take that first step into getting into the crazy world of swim bike run?

Ryan Bolton  56:33

I think it’s it’s exactly that I can think of about 10,000 Proverbs, and it, they’re all about basically taking that first step. And that’s all it takes. It starts with one step. And, you know, you see athletes who ultimately end up making it to Kona, and that’s what they just made a decision one day that you know, I’m gonna start getting into triathlon, and, you know, they start getting into the pool a little bit, they start riding their bike a little bit, and they start running a little bit. And I know that, you know, it seems like it’s such a monumental giant thing, but like anything big, it is just starts with one step and ultimately, just the initiative to get it going. And then really progressively building into it. And I think an important thing with an endurance sports is it doesn’t happen overnight, and you have to be committed to the lifestyle and committed to the journey. But once again, too many cliches and Proverbs but the journey is what this is all about to almost everyone that’s doing this for it and, and it just it just does start with that first step and that first decision

Trevor Connor  57:33


Rob Pickels  57:33

Yeah, full Ironman sounds pretty daunting, right? But there’s there’s things you can do before that there’s sprint distance races, there’s Olympic distance races. And, and frankly, if you’re inspired by this, you you can just go for a run tomorrow. That’s a great first step. You don’t have to just hop skip and jump straight into Kona.

EK  57:52

Yeah, I would not recommend that. Yes. It might be too much for hop, skip jump.

Rob Pickels  57:58

I don’t know that might be the way that you win based on this year, right. Yeah.

Trevor Connor  58:03

All right. Well, I hate to say it, but I think it’s time to start wrapping up. So it is time for take homes Ryan and Emma Kate, you’re both new to this. So this is how we wrap up. All of our episodes with each person will go around the room here gets one minute to talk about what they think is the most important lesson or salient point from this episode. Brian, would you like to go first?

Ryan Bolton  58:28

Yeah, you bet. I would just say, Kona, this year was just off the charts, a lot of firsts. It was an amazing race. That was the first time you know separating the women’s and the men’s race. We had a rookie winner on the women’s side, a rookie winner on the men’s side, both with really stellar performances and interestingly, very mature performances, you know, great pacing and everything. But I think it was also cool to see so many people on the island of Kona this year, and you know, it’s a bigger event than it’s ever been before. And it opens up opportunities for more athletes to be here in the future. And I mean, I hope it inspired a lot of new athletes at home as well.

EK  59:09

Yeah, I think it’s definitely definitely been inspiring. I would say, looking at the performances of to your point, Ryan, anybody who’s shown up to race, Kona, they’re successful people. They have done a great job of surrounding themselves with the very best people that they can possibly have in their life have in their world and it’s the I think it’s oftentimes especially in Ironman triathlon is a very individual sport. But it’s also not an it’s the people that you have in your, in your backroom staff. So just be your entourage, or for want of a better word that can often determine and decide how, how close you get to achieving your potential and how successful you are both in terms of results in terms of in terms of being the best version of yourself. So I think what I saw across both races was the people who crossed the line crossed the line for themselves, but also they’re a bigger team and they’ve served Under themselves were the best coaches, nutritionists, psychologists, they’ve done a great, they’ve done a great job of doing that. And I think that’s, regardless of whether you’re racing Ironman, whether you’re racing, cyclocross, or whether you’re independent. And obviously, you could be at any level, we’re not just talking about professional athletes, I think, surround yourself with the best people for you.

Rob Pickels  1:00:16

Yeah, that’s real similar to my take on Emma Kate, where there’s definitely factors on race day that are going to affect performance. Maybe those are the difference between setting a world record and not. But ultimately, it really sounds to me like success in events like this. It comes from the preparation that comes from everything that you do for the months prior. And so for people to be on top of knowledge and learning and reading as much as they can, and talking to people and watching everything they can, and formulating a plan, thinking about their nutrition, thinking about their pacing strategy, and going in with that dialed ahead of time, all of that preparation is ultimately what’s going to make you as successful as you can be individually.

Trevor Connor  1:00:55

I guess for my take home, I’ll kind of round it out with something I found really fascinating watching these races, or at least watching the summaries of these races, is that importance of pacing, which I think is really critical for every endurance sport, we often talk about, you know, what’s the biggest power you can put out how badly you have to hurt to perform well and racing. But I think we sometimes forget that it’s not just about how hard you can go but finding just that right intensity, to get through the event and do your optimal performance. And sometimes, in that enthusiasm, you can go too hard and really pay a price for it. So in all sports and all endurance sports pacing is a really critical thing.

Rob Pickels  1:01:40

That was another episode of Fast Talk, subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of individual as always, we love your feedback. Join the conversation at forums.fasttalklabs.com or tweet at us with @fasttalklabs. Head to fasttalkabs.com To get access to our endurance sports knowledge base coach continuing education, as well as our in person and remote athletes services. For Ryan Bolton, EK Lidbury, Adam St. Pierre, and Trevor Connor. I’m Rob Pickels. Thanks for listening!