Having the right equipment for an Ironman is essential.
The must-haves include a wetsuit, hydration system, time trial bike, aero helmet, running shoes and a nutrition plan for the race.
But what if you want to get to Kona?
Let’s be clear, first you need to have the ability before you consider the thought of qualifying for Kona. But once you have the fitness, the question becomes, “What equipment can I add to my arsenal to help me get there?”
Related: How to train for Kona
Below are five “hacks” you can purchase to help you optimize your performance on race day.
Training: A smart trainer
Gone are the days of rollers. Nowadays, if you want to make serious gains on the bike, it would be in your best interest to get on a smart trainer. With the training features offered, you’ll no longer dread the four-hour trainer ride.
These trainers give you all the benefits of training on the road, while you hammer away in the comfort of your home. Trainers like the Wahoo Fitness Kickr allow you to program set intervals and workouts, as well as manage your power output.
You can add to the experience by hooking up the trainer to a training software like Zwift or TrainerRoad. These platforms help you monitor your training, and provide different workouts and social events, like races and group rides. Plus, they offer a visual stimulus to keep you entertained and focused while you’re doing your long training sessions
You may or may not have heard of Maurten, but it’s an energy sports drink that is backed by marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge. In 2017, Kichoge came 25 seconds away from breaking the two-hour mark in Nike’s Breaking 2 marathon project. Then, in September 2018, at the Berlin Marathon, he smashed the world record by over a minute, setting the new mark at 2:01:39.
Having developed their hydrogel technology in 2015, Maurten sports drink has been able to deliver high concentrations of carbohydrates to fuel endurance athletes.
Maurten has three different products – two drink mixes, the 160 and 320, and the Gel 100. The 160 drink mix provides 40g of carbohydrates in 500mL, and the 320 is double that in the same volume (80g in 500mL). Maurten’s gel product delivers 25g of carbohydrates per serving.
What makes Maurten’s products so effective is their hydrogel technology. When you take a sip from your bottle, the drink mix is converted by the acidity in the stomach to a hydrogel which encapsulates the carbohydrates. This allows the carbohydrates to be transported to the intestines where it can be absorbed and delivered to the working muscles.
The Swedish product isn’t just used by arguably the best marathoner in the world, it is also used by Jan Frodeno, a two-time Ironman world champion and Olympic gold medalist.
Training is great, but it means very little on race day if you don’t stay fuelled. “It’s all about getting enough energy,” says Frodeno. “I believe this is why I’m finally able to put together on race day what I feel should be possible, judging by my training.”
You too can fuel your Ironman like Frodeno because Maurten is available in Canada at select retailers.
More often than not, you’ll probably have a legal wetsuit swim on race day at an Ironman in North America. But if you’re planning your Ironman qualifying race in a warm destination spot, you’ll want to get a swimskin. It’ll save you tonnes of time in a warm water start and help you conserve energy for the remaining 222.2K.
Made with a hydrophobic layer of coating, the swimskin will help you slip through the water and provides added buoyancy. Along with strategically placed panels and a compressive fabric, this product help to keep you in a streamline position and move effortlessly through the water.
The difference between wearing one or not could be the difference from lining up at Dig Me Beach in Kona or sitting on your couch watching the race.
Bike: Cervélo P-Series
Cervélo has been involved in triathlon since their inception in 1995. From then to now, the Canadian company has driven performance forward thanks to their innovation on the bike.
The Cervélo P-Series is their time trial and triathlon specific line of bikes, delivering a bike that is aero, stiff and easy to fit. The P family includes the P2, P3 and P5.
With three different models and years of innovation behind each one, you’ll be selecting the most trusted bike brand in Kona for the past 13 years running.
The P2 is built for performance, while also being sensitive to your price point. Not just easy on your wallet, the P2 features the aerodynamic details ironic to Cervélo. The P2 model is the same the bike that helped deliver Chrissie Wellington to the first of her four Ironman world titles in 2007. The P2 is a bike that set a precedent for all other Cervélos.
The P3 offers the same high-performance features as the P5 while providing a wide range of fit options. Cervélo developed the new P3 out of the lessons learnt from older P5 models, while still providing triathletes with a bike that won’t hurt their bank account.
The P5 is on the high end of the P-Series. Since it first was introduced to the P family in 2012, the P5 has been one of the fastest on the tri circuit. It features an aggressive aerodynamic geometry that allows you to get low and cut through the wind. Another notable feature about the P5 is its stiffness, optimizing your power transfer to the road, stability and delivering precise handling.
Then there’s the P5X, part of the P-X Series. The impressive design highlights Cervélo’s dedication to research, development and testing in the triathlon community to deliver the best bike for Kona.
Run: Nike VaporFly 4%
After a 3.8K swim and 180K bike, all that remains is 42.2K run. The months of training will help you get to the marathon in good shape. But, you need the equipment to help you get to the finish line as fast as you can.
The Nike VaporFly 4% is the marathon shoe for you. Innovated as part of Nike’s Breaking 2 project, the four per cents are proven to be one of fastest shoes available to the public. left people feeling fresher when tackling a marathon.
Featuring the ultralight ZoomX foam and a carbon-fibre plate, runners around the world have marvelled at the shoe’s ability to propel you forward and keep your legs feeling fresh well into a marathon.
With the release of the Flyknit model, the knit material provides extra breathability and support – features that are important when you’re on the last leg of an Ironman.
If you’re going trying to qualify for the big dance in Kona, you might as well go all in.