Josh Amberger is in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for his second appearance at this weekend's renowned IRONMAN World Championship. After an encouraging performance last year filled with trials, tribulations and plenty of learnings, we decided to get a firsthand insight into his lead up this year around!
“Kona is a different beast. The race is so massive, and there's such an industry behind it that it's very demanding on all fronts. It's a World Championship, so you have to prepare for it as such, and look after yourself and prepare as best you can because you're going to war with the best athletes in the sport on race day. Then there's the appearances for sponsors and media, which literally just fill up the days for a week or more leading into the race. You have to be very careful to balance yourself, because a lot of the time you can feel like you're spreading yourself too thin when you know you just need to kick back and rest.
I arrived last Wednesday and didn't have much of a problem with jet lag. Kona is 20 hours behind Australia, so really it's a day behind and it's just like taking an early mark to bed, which we can all afford ourselves every now and then!
Now it's Monday in Kona, 5 days out from race day, and I've just finished my last day of training before the second part of taper begins. The first part of taper ended about a week ago, and it meant I just dropped my training load by roughly half in terms of total volume, and this second drop down will see another similar change. Now it will all just be about providing the body a short period of stimulus each day. Rest is the priority now. The diet will slowly shift to low fibre options closer to race day. I don't have a particular diet, but I just try to avoid high fibre food to increase electrolyte and carbohydrate absorption and decrease chances of toilet stops on race day. In Kona, the conditions are extreme. You want to make sure you are constantly drinking and never going low at calories at any point before race day. I always take a snack and drink with me when you're out and about.
I want to play a more conservative game this time around. Last year I swam so fast that I isolated myself at the front of the race and felt like I was committed to staying there as long as I could. I was in the lead for three hours, then died a slow death until I had to start walking 30km into the marathon. There's a chance I could find myself in a similar situation this year, but in that event I will be thinking of the suffering I had to deal with last year, and I'm sure that will help guide my tactics on the day.
I've had a good three weeks of consistent running in my legs now, and I've gone through all the soreness that comes with returning to running load and thankfully have that behind me. I've been happy with my running sensations since returning, and I know I still have a good marathon in me because I've had a great year of training to date, and have a lot of aerobic fitness in me that should see me through. The great thing is that as a result of the injury, I'm not over trained at all. I think I suffered a bit from this last year, and perhaps went in to Kona with all the fitness in the world but no freshness. I think the freshness should give me an edge this year. It's always an x factor that can't be underrated.”
We wish Josh all the best this year at KONA and will be cheering him on!
WIN 1 OF 3 $250 PERFORMANCE PACKS!
As Josh is revered for his swimming prowess, we decided to run a competition to guess his swim time at this years event! Click the link to submit your time