Heather Jackson’s Road to Kona

2019-10-02

Heather Jackson is heading into the Ironman World Championships in Kona with a stellar 2019 season so far. After racing late into the year in 2018 – taking the win at IM Arizona in November – she took a bit more time off than usual in early 2019. She got going with a bang, though, defending her title at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga in May and winning 70.3 Coeur d’Alene in June. “Chattanooga is one of my favourite courses,” she says. “It’s hard, but it’s one of the best. So it was great to get that title again. And at Coeur d’Alene I was really working on my run, trying to test out my run, so it was great to have that come together.”

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Heading into Kona, Heather is reflecting on these successes, but also the challenges of past races. After being disappointed with her performance at Kona last year, she studied what went wrong there – and what went very right a few weeks later at IM Arizona. Her team adjusted her training schedule accordingly. “We’ve learned a lot from last year. I went into Kona last year overcooked, over-trained. This year we adjusted, and I did the bulk of my volume training in the past five weeks. So in the next few weeks I will focus on getting the speed up and feeling fresh, just working to get to the start line feeling as fresh and sharp as possible.”  

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Getting that perfect taper going into a major event is always a challenge, but Heather has nailed the feeling of being ready. “I know if I’m going into a race feeling good when I can’t wait for race day. In the week or so leading up, if I feel kind of caged-up with all this energy and can’t wait to get out there, that’s when I know I’m motivated, when I’m just purely excited for race day. Most of the pros have relatively similar training techniques, so really it’s about the day, that feeling on race day.”

Chasing and celebrating that feeling is what she advises first-timers at Kona as well. “Really enjoy the race. If you’re enjoying being there, and it’s not about getting through the course itself but about enjoying it, being thrilled to be there, that’s what will give you a great race.”

 

Images : Nick Wilson

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