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One-hour trainer workout: Kona Edition


One of my favourite ways to mix up an indoor ride is to do a session that simulates a big race that I have done, or plan to do. It can be extremely motivating to be thinking about race day while training indoors. The better you can visualize yourself out on the road, the better you will be able to transfer your indoor training to race day performance.

The Kona workout consists of a warm up simulating first 10 kilometres that take you up the Kuakini and Queen K highway. On race day this is where everyone rides crazy hard, but for this workout we are going to ease into it. The next set takes you out on the rolling hills of the Queen K highway and past Kawaihae. Next up is the climb to Hawi. There is almost always a headwind on this section so it feels more like a low cadence strength set than a climbing set. The high cadence portion simulates pushing the descent down from Hawi. The Ironman Hawaii bike course is an out and back so you are back onto the rolling hills set. Usually the wind kicks up on the way home and the last 40k can be into a relentless headwind. This is best simulated by a sustain efficiency set in the aerobars. Think about perfect pedalling and making this final effort feel as easy as possible given the workload. Imagine yourself flying through the lava fields.

To really get the Kona experience crank up the thermostat, ditch the fan, and replenish your glycogen with a mango smoothie post workout.

The perceived effort scale is 1 to 10. With 8 being Olympic distance or 40 km effort, 7  being a half ironman effort, 6 Ironman effort and 5 as an easy long ride effort.


RPM Effort Total Time
Warm Up
3 mins easy 90+ 3-4
1 min 90+ 5
1 min 80 6
1 min 75 7
1 min standing 70 8
1 min easy 90 1-3 8 minutes
Queen K to Kawaihae – Rollers (repeat 3 times)
2 min aero bars 90 7
1 min standing 70-80 8
1 min fast cadence 100+ 6
1 min easy 90 1-4 23 minutes
To Hawi and back
10 min aero bars 60 6-7
1 min 90 6
5 min 100+ 6 39 minutes
Queen K to Waikoloa – Rollers (repeat 2 times)
2 min aerobars 90 7
1 min standing 70-80 8
1 min fast cadence 100+ 6
1 min easy 90 1-4 49 minutes
Back into town – efficiency set
8 min aero bars 85-95 6 57 minutes
Cool down into transition
3 mins easy 90+ 1-4 60 minutes