2022 Kona Qualification Plan

Hello TR. I wanted to run my 3 year plan past you all and see what you think about my goal to qualify for Kona in 2022 (or possibly 2021).

Some quick background on myself, I have 15 years of marathon experience (3:14 PR and 1:27 HM PR @215lbs) and quite a big aerobic base there to launch off. I’ve always incorporated some speedwork in my running but mostly I just plodded along racking up miles. In 2014 I began dabbling in triathlon, with Ironman Wisconsin in 2016 as my first attempt at that distance. (12:05). Since then I’ve shed some weight (down to 192lbs or 87kg), gotten more experience on the bike, used TR to get my FTP W/kg up to 3.5 from around 2.9 this time last year. This year I have been competitive in the local triathlon scene in the 35-39AG (I turn 35 tomorrow), taking home some hardware in just about every local race I do, including a 4:47 on a very hilly HIM course. This last weekend I did Ironman Florida where I came in at 10:27, though I was suffering through a cold that really derailed me on the run as I was having issues breathing and GI issues I attribute to that nasty nasal drainage you get with a cold.

Anyways my plan for 2020 is to work on my speed at the Olympic level primarily. I have no plans of doing a full or even half IM and really want to put my effort there. I would like to come in the top-10 of my AG at USAT Nationals in August. To do that I figure I need to take 3-4min off my 10k time off the bike from 42min to 38min. Though that 42 I did a couple times this year was never during a taper and just part of some weekend racing. I also want to get my FTP up to around 3.8W/kg. That coupled with an actual tri bike (I have a frankensteined Caad10) should get me some bike speed. I am also committed to working with a swim masters group and possibly coach to work on my swim. Swimming is naturally my strength but I think there is a lot of room for improvement. My IM pace is around 1:40/100m and for an Oly I can usually hit around 1:35/100m. So I’m no slouch but I also train my swim maybe once every other week.

The plan in 2021 would be to do another IM distance race with the goal of creeping closer to KQ territory if not getting it with a great race. Then 2022 would be the year I go all out for the KQ with a race age of 38. Then that leaves me 2023 to give it another go in the 35-39 AG if 2022 doesn’t work out because I’d love to qualify in that division.

So what are your thoughts on the plan, and even some high level suggestions for how I achieve this? I think I have an idea of how I want to go about this, but I would love the community feedback.

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I think that your plan to focus on Olympic distance to build up speed is a good idea. I’m gonna do something similar before going back to the Ironman distance. Good luck with your journey!

It sounds like it’s a good way forward. The reality is that depending on how the swim/bike improvements play out over the next couple of years in that AG (and most others under 50!) you’ll need to be running at least as fast if not slightly faster than your current open marathon run time off the bike to KQ. You’ll need to build that base speed up and dropping down the distances for a year or two will give you the opportunity to work on that.

Again in that AG you’ll likely need to be capable of around a 9hr IM time or lower on a fast course to KQ, obviously that time will scale to the course difficulty, and how you get there will depend on your relative abilities in each sport. If you can get to a decent swim time on relatively minimal training that will help as it’ll give you more time to work on the bike and run times.

If you have ‘easy’ gains to make on the bike by changing to a tri bike that is low hanging fruit to grab if you’re able to do so and will make a big difference. The bike may be the longest leg of the race however but it’s on the run where a good performance will really show if you can run up the field. It’s very easy to have a fast bike leg but it’s almost always the run that counts towards the front of the race and the more ability you have in that discipline the more chance of getting towards the KQ places you’ll have.

I’d be interested in hearing the ideas you have for moving forward.


happy birthday!

I don’t have much to add, but wanted to leave that I appreciate you sharing your ambition here and it’s great to read along with the responses.

I think Julian’s nailed it, he’d know after all.

I’d add a few points;

  1. training time - how much can you put in?

  2. Ironman has a lot of art as well as science to it, I’d be tempted to put one at the end of each season rather than leave it out for a few years to work through your personal niggles.

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That’s exactly the point. I was really hoping to see if I could hold onto my 3:30 pace at IMFL, but that cold I had was just making it way too hard to breath by around mile 10 :frowning: Anyways I did feel like my legs had plenty in them and aside from getting enough air in, everything felt pretty easy, but you should feel like it’s easy at mile 10. Just a whole lot of unknown for me here but I’m thinking I can get that run down quite a bit, and I’m confident in my training this year that I could have set a marathon PR had I done one in October, so I don’t think I have super-far to go. And I’ll keep you all posted as I try to go short and fast.

Thanks. I’ll try to update this thread every couple months or so and maybe make a long term thing out of it. If nothing else it adds accountability to me :wink:

One of the reasons I’m not doing another full in 2020 is the wife thinks I train more during IM season…little does she know that I’m rarely under 10 hours a week regardless of what I’m training for. I guess it’s the 6+ hr bricks on the weekend that really get her attention, and not the 90min bikes during the week. So anyways as long as I’m not taking up a whole Saturday too often, I should be able to keep up around 12-15hrs this year. And again, don’t want to do a 2020 just because of the perception on her part. But you’re right in that it would be really nice to have some real data on how my body reacts to the run since I didn’t get that datapoint this year. But that’s why I’m wanting to get a 2021 test run in there before really going all out in 2022. (And maybe I do the race the TR guys are doing then too to see if I can take a KQ spot away from Jonathan)

Thanks again for all your responses. It’s invaluable to bounce these types of ideas off you all.

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