We’re just hours away from the start of the most grueling and most prestigious event in all of triathlon — the world championships in Kona, Hawaii. One of the elite men who’s been in the spotlight as a contender for the top spot, Timothy O’Donnell, “TO,” took some time earlier in the week to tell us about his training with the new Forerunner 920XT and to share some tips for all of you aspiring triathletes back at home.
Peg: As a pro triathlete, you have access to the best gear and coaching, but you’ve said that simplicity in equipment is important. How does the new 920XT simplify your training?
TO: I noticed right away when I turned on the watch how quickly it gets that GPS fix and how easy it makes it just to get out the door and get going. And then being able to flawlessly move through the different sports with one button press and to have all my critical data on one watch that directly links to my computer through Garmin Connect makes my training simpler.
Peg: I hear that Saturday’s race could all come down to fastest man on the run. How is a feature like running dynamics important to long course triathletes?
TO: Most people think running well in Ironman comes from lots of hours of training. But working on your run form and your stability and the ability to hold that form when tired is really important. For me, being able to monitor my cadence and time on the ground with the 920 helps me keep track of everything and stay on top of the really important parts of my running.
Peg: Best tip for triathletes who want to take their training to the next level?
TO: When it comes to making that next step in your triathlon career, getting a great coach and having consistent training will be the most important factor. It’s not one workout that’s going to make or break your triathlon career. It’s being able to stay healthy and repeat workouts and having a great coach who will help you monitor and stay on top of everything.
Peg: What tune-up workouts have you been doing here in Kona?
TO: This year I’ve approached my Ironman taper a little differently. In the week before the race, everything was very light. I did some short 10-30 second pickups on the run and the bike and one key swim on Wednesday, but other than that, I took care of most of my key sessions and tune-up sessions about 9 days out from the race. We’re racing Saturday, so last Friday, I did my last longer ride and my last long run the following day. So that’s when I made those fine-tune adjustments for the race.
Peg: Kona is crawling with the fittest of the fit, running up and down Ali’I Drive at all hours of the day, biking on the Queen Highway. Does it make you want to jam in some extra training right before the race?
TO: When we talk about training, more isn’t better. Focus on the key sessions. I had a great bike-run last Tuesday, but my heart rate was really high, and my recovery advisor on the 920 told me I needed a long time to recover, so the following day, I cut a workout out of my schedule. And I was very smart with the workouts I did the next day, and two days later I felt great. So using the tools like the 920 can really help you make smart decisions leading up to race day.
Check out some of Timothy’s recent workouts here in Kona, captured by the Forerunner 920XT and Edge 510, displayed in Garmin Connect.