I’m in the final weeks of my preparation for Kona and part of that process includes heat acclimatization. In a nutshell, in the remaining four weeks leading up to the race, I slowly add layers of clothing until the final week when I am completely donned in winter gear which will prepare me for the heat and humidity I will experience while racing on the Big Island.
The neighbors think I’m a little crazy as I go running down the block in the middle of the day wearing a thick beanie, winter gloves, a long-sleeved compression top, and knickers. And with the triple digit days we’ve seen here in Northern California lately, maybe I am.
Truthfully though, it’s just a matter of adding layers slowly over time until your body adjusts. The extra layers definitely feel uncomfortable but completely tolerable even in triple digit heat. The most difficult challenge I face is staying focused on form and pace.
The Tempo Trainer, while probably designed more for pool use, is a very effective running tool that I’ve used throughout this process in order to keep my pace in check.
Set the correct tempo, put one foot in front of the other, and follow the sound of the beep.
Vince Matteo is a multisport coach and a multiple-time ironman finisher whose recent accomplishments include numerous top ten age group finishes as well as qualifying for Kona.