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Women's Ironman World Championship Heads (back) to Kona

A look ahead to next weekend's world championship, the hardest job in triathlon, and how to fix sinking legs while swimming

Good morning everyone,

This past weekend I competed at the New York City Triathlon. I had a really great race, and it was surreal racing on the streets of one of the most iconic cities in the world. We even finished in the heart of Central Park! Which was great but also hilarious as we had to navigate through the masses of Sunday joggers 😆

In today’s edition:

  • A look ahead to this weekend’s Women’s Ironman World Championship.

  • Are your legs sinking while swimming? Here’s how to fix it.

  • And what is the hardest job in triathlon?

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 

ONE BIG THING

Kona in the Spotlight Ahead of Women’s-Only Ironman World Championship

Ironman

What is it: In January, Ironman announced that it would be splitting its iconic World Championship between longtime host Kona, and Nice, France.

  • Each location would host either the men’s or women’s Ironman World Championships.

  • They would also swap during each year of the agreement. In 2024 the men will return to Kona, while the women will compete on the challenging roads of the Cote d’Azur.

  • Concerns in the Kona community, a more focused race experience, and the opportunity for more revenue are a few of the reasons why the split was made.

Nice was nice: The first iteration of the standalone World Championship took place a few weeks ago in Nice. Just under 2,000 men competed on the hilly and technical course.

The change in course created new opportunities for differently-skilled athletes and Sam Laidlow (FRA) took full advantage of the challenging bike course to solo away to a shocking victory.

  • The world-class venue, incredible crowd support, a surplus of accommodation, and easy access for global athletes were some of the athlete’s feedback on why the event was a success. 

  • We asked an athlete and a coach to share their thoughts, and they agreed the race was well executed.

Looking ahead: As the women head to Kona, fewer athletes may be competing than Ironman would prefer.

  • World Championship slot rolldowns have seen many athletes (male and female) decline a World Championship berth.

  • Earlier this year Ironman even emailed competitors with offers of World Championship slots (for the typical registration fee, of course).

Incredible racing: With a World Championship title on the line, the best women in the world will be fighting it out for the title.

  • Returning champion Chelsea Sodaro is coming into the race in good form after a podium finish at the competitive PTO Asian Open.

  • Anne Haug (GER), Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) and Kat Matthews (GBR) will all be strong picks to be on top of the podium come Sunday.

  • But the biggest wildcard is definitely Taylor Knibb (USA). The incredibly talented American always pushes the pace from the front of the race, and could completely redesign what the Kona podium will look like.

FAVOURITES

🛟 The hardest job: The hardest job in multisport? Definitely the lifeguard. With hordes of athletes entering an often fraught environment, they have to keep their eyes peeled for any sign of distress. [Triathlete]

💪 Key muscles: There are lots of muscles in the body, but which ones should triathletes focus on? Pretty much all of them 💀 But there are ones triathletes should focus on more, including glutes, hamstrings and lats. So here’s some exercises you be doing. [TrainingPeaks]

🎮 Game-changing training: For many of us, training without Zwift is unimaginable. But it wasn’t too long ago when the online cycling platform wasn’t even available. Now, it is ubiquitous in the triathlon world, and it may have changed training forever. [220 Triathlon]

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Sinking Legs While Swimming? Here’s How to Fix it

Having more muscle on our legs is great for riding, running, and looking good in shorts. But it can often make our swimming more difficult. The dense muscle does not promote flotation and can lead to the dreaded sinking legs.

But there are a few ways you can help keep those heavy legs afloat and swim much quicker:

😁 Head position: If you think of your body like a seesaw, with your head at one end and your feet at another, where your head is relative to the water level is critically important.

  • If it’s too high, your hips will fall. By lowering your head position, you can easily keep your hips (and legs!) higher in the water.

  • This video from GTN does a great job explaining this concept.

😮‍💨 Breath holding: If your legs are sinking, it may be because you’re holding your breath while swimming. By keeping your breath in, the air in your lungs creates extra buoyancy in your chest.

  • Make sure when your head reenters the water after breathing that you let the air out of your mouth.

🦵 Proper kick: Kicking while swimming helps propel your legs forward. And the downward pressure on the water also helps keep your hips up.

  • Again, this video does a great job explaining this concept.

QUICK NEWS

🤮 Getting sick: An investigation has been launched after some athletes fell ill at The Castle Race Series at Hever Castle, after swimming in the River Eden in Kent. The organization is investigating, while the water company responsible for treating the water said there were no issues. [The Guardian]

🚴 Passing: The Canadian triathlon community is mourning the loss of triathlete and coach Caron Shepley. Her husband Barrie Shepley shared a moving message about who she was. You can read it here. [Triathlon Magazine]

🗾 Asian Games champs: It was all Japan at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games Triathlon competition. Yuko Takahashi and Kenji Nener won the women’s and men’s individual races, while the Japanese team handily won the mixed team relay. Full results here. [Triathlon.org]

Racing no more?: You won’t see Lionel Sanders racing anytime soon, he said on YouTube. He says he needs to work on his racing before returning, or “pivot to work with people who believe and have the capacity to contend.” It’s unlikely that means coaching given his history of working with coaches for shorter periods. [Triathlon Magazine]

RACE WEEKEND

Mayhem in Super League Triathlon Malibu

After a last-minute approval from the city council, the athletes hit the surf of beautiful Malibu, California for the penultimate event of the Championship series.

Men’s race: After a devastating penalty in Toulouse cost him a potential victory, Hayden Wilde (NZ) was out for redemption.

  • The surf was a huge factor. In each round athletes would either catch a glorious wave into shore or have it crash over them and cost them precious time.

By the final round, Wilde had a strong lead over Leo Bergere (FRA) and Matt Hauser (AUS). However, Bergere was able to navigate the surf and ensure he was with Wilde after the swim and bike.

  • On the run, Wilde made no mistakes as he pulled away from Bergere for the convincing win.

Women’s race: Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and Emma Lombardi (FRA) showed their class on the opening two stages. They had a strong lead over the rest of the field in the final round.

  • They further gapped the field on the swim and pushed each other on the bike to keep the likes of Jeanne Lehair (LUX) and Kate Waugh (GBR) at bay.

Unfortunately, American Summer Rappaport took a nasty spill on one of the final laps.

In the end, Beaugrand would not be stopped as she took the series win. Lehair now leads the overall Championships series.

REEL TIME

Travelling with your bike can be nerve-wracking. And pro triathlete Cody Beals does a great job showing why! 🤣

WHAT YOU SAID

Here’s what Tempo readers said about what surface you prefer running on.

Reader: I've had Arthroscopy on both knees and uneven surfaces scare the crap out of my knees :)

Reader: Hardpacked rootless rockless dirt is the only the only off-road running surface I'll take a chance on. My ankles are just too unstable

Reader: I run a lot on crushed limestone and generally find my knees and ankles aren't as sore after, compared to a run on asphalt. Muscle soreness in the calves, quads and hamstrings is generally the same though

MEMBERS-ONLY

Will Training in an Altitude Tent Elevate Your Performance?

Loren Nelson is a professional long-course triathlete from Redcliff, Alberta, Canada. Loren wanted to experiment with altitude training, but without having to leave the comfort of his home! He tells us about the good, bad, and learnings of his recent experience training with an altitude tent.

Why the altitude tent?

Diving into altitude tents seemed like a great option to be in the comfort of my home with my regular routine getting the benefit of altitude. I have continually worked on every little detail as I can while keeping training, sleep, and nutrition as the primary focus in day-to-day operations.

TEMPO EXCLUSIVE ARCHIVE
LATEST EDITIONS
  • Incredible Women’s Ironman World Championship start list released, and are softer surfaces actually better for your running?

  • Grand Final dishes devastating drama, quick and effective swim workouts, and do you need orthotics?

  • Malibu Triathlon loses key appeal - could be cancelled.

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