Categorized | Multi-sport, Sports

Team Mauna Lani offers triathlon tips

Luke Bell and other members of Team Mauna Lani offer up some race tips ahead of Ironman 70.3 Honu. (Photo courtesy of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel)

Special to Hawaii 24/7

Around 50 competitors gathered at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows this morning to gain some last minute tips and advice from Team Mauna Lani pros before Saturday’s race.

Matt Lieto, Luke Bell, Bree Wee, John Flanagan and local Hawaii Island triathletes, Penn Henderson, Rani Tanimoto and Andrea Bess offered insiders knowledge on the course and shared some of their own personal pre-race rituals.

Wee stressed the importance of starting the race with confidence. You’ve trained and put in the hard work, so now it’s time to get out there and give it your best, she said. Remind yourself why you are doing this, especially when the going gets tough. Each person has different reasons for competing, so remind yourself of those reasons.

Luke Bell recommended breaking the race down into achievable goals, helping you to mentally overcome the distance. When you start the swim, only think about the buoy you are swimming out to, he said. This is not the time to be wasting valuable mental energy thinking about the run.

Radio host, triathlon coach and NLP practitioner, Simon Gowen, was also on the panel and emphasized the importance of staying within your own personal race plan. Don’t focus on everyone else, just focus on yourself, he said. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line and how you will feel when you accomplish this.

Simon recommended selecting your favorite song and playing this over and over in your head to keep you motivated. AC/DC’s TNT is a great choice, he said.

John “Superfish” Flanagan, known for being first out of the water, recommended swimming straight toward the buoy rather than veering off the side. Select a focus point straight in front of you, such as a spot on the mountain, rather than the person in front of you, as they may not be swimming straight, he said. If you can draft off someone, go for it.

The heavy wind on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway was a concern for many racing in Hawaii for the first time. Local athlete Penn Henderson said to go in prepared for strong winds as they are not likely going to ease. Instead of concentrating too much on the wind, focus on taking in adequate nutrition and hydration.

Matt Lieto noted around 40 percent of the run is on the Mauna Lani Resort golf course, making the terrain spongy and somewhat challenging. This means you won’t have an even pace, however don’t be too concerned as this is the same for everyone.

The Q&A session ended with a swim in Mauna Lani Bay led by John Flanagan and Matt Lieto.

At the end of the day, whether you are a pro, or beginner, the athletes acknowledged that everyone experiences the same pre-race nerves and anticipation. It’s natural, they agreed, so just get out there and enjoy the experience.

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