How To Get Prepared For Kona

How To Get Prepared For Kona

You wouldn’t turn up to race day without doing your homework, laying down the hard yards or preparing your kit, and Kona shouldn’t be any exception to that. Kona is the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance, so you’d better get to know what you’re up against first! ZONE3 wants you to be as prepared as possible for the brutal test awaiting you at Kona in October!

Kona – The 5 W’s


Kona originated in 1978, where a small group of friends had the mad idea to duel over a: 3.8km Swim, 180km Cycle and if that wasn’t enough, a 42km run too - all to determine who the best athlete was. 40 years later, Kona now holds the IM World Championships and hosts over 2400 athletes who have earned their sport on that start line from their season heroics!


Kona is home to the IM World Championships and takes place in the October at the end of every triathlon season. The triathlon season can be a long and tiring journey as it is, and Kona never shows any let up for the incredible athletes that earn their qualification to this prestigious event.


Kona is situated on the big island on the West Coast of Hawaii. It’s infamous for its black lava rock fields that line the some of the course for the bike and run sections. Although Kona may look beautiful to the eye, we don’t suspect you’ll be taking in many of its views when you’re just trying to cope with the brutal questions it’s asking of your mental fortitude.


To be crowned with the title of ‘Ironman’. This title belongs to the athlete who is the ultimate performer across the three disciplines of swimming, cycling, and running!


October 6 – 8, 2022

Kona in Numbers:

Course Considerations and Training Tips:

Swim: As with all full distance triathlons, the swim distance is 2.8km. However, the water temperature in Kona is far too warm for athletes to be allowed to use wetsuits. Take a look at ZONE3’s Kona Kit Essentials below for more information. It’s also worth noting that Kona is a mass start event, despite the brief intervals between the elite men, elite women and age groupers – everyone will be in the water at the same time and this can become quite chaotic, particularly with how the route is laid out.

  • Tip 1: Swim without a wetsuit. Your wetsuit offers increased buoyancy, helping you to stay above the water more easily and swim faster. Therefore, it’s important to practice similar distances without a wetsuit and build up your confidence before race day!
  • Tip 2: When it comes to the event try not to be overwhelmed by the amount of people in the water, just keep your head down and one stroke at a time. You could practice this by finding alternative training locations that may have a similar atmosphere to the one in Kona.

Bike: The bike distance is a gruelling 180km and most of this hard work is done down long barren stretches of road, hugged either side by Kona’s black lava rock fields. However, this won’t be the hardest thing you’ll have to contend with on the Bike. Athletes at Kona are all tasked with managing a very tricky crosswind, making the bike section feel even longer than the 180km. The crosswind will slow you down by making you less aerodynamic and doing its best to throw you out of the TT position.

  • Tip 1: Once again, your best bet to cope in these tricky conditions is to make your training as transferable as possible. Practicing in crosswind conditions will only make you more prepared for what you can expect to face at Kona.
  • Tip 2: Your choice of clothing will affect how aerodynamic you are. ZONE3 lead the way in product innovation and our tri-suits are designed to be as fast and comfortable as possible. Two things you’ll need come Kona!

Run – This is where Kona will really start to show its teeth! After a 180km bike, you’ll begin your last leg (most probably on your own ‘last legs’ too) which is a 42km run. At this point you’ll really be feeling the heat, so staying as hydrated as possible is key to getting yourself over that finish line.

  • Tip 1: Train in the heat – get your body used to working in the extreme conditions you’ll face at Kona.
  • Tip 2: Nutrition and hydration need to be on point in build up to race day! Learn more about the best way to fuel up before race day with our Nutrition Guide.

Kona Kit Essentials:


ZONE3’s Swimskins are the perfect answer to the warm temperature waters in Kona. Our Swimskins are incredibly hydrophobic with an absorption rate of 5% among the lowest in its class. Designed to minimize the effects of drag and allow greater freedom of movement, there can be no doubt that our Swimskins are the perfect choice for Kona this year!

Venator-X Goggles

An essential for any open water race. Award-winning in design and with ultimate all-round visibility and protection, these goggles will provide you with maximum comfort and elite-level performance. You can rely on ZONE3 goggles regardless of weather or water conditions with polarised mirror, photochromatic and tinted lens options.


The perfect training and race-day bag, with separate compartments to keep your kit organised and a waterproof section to keep away from your other valuable items. Rock up to Kona with one of these on your back and people will know you mean business!


As discussed, the crosswinds at Kona are going to try their best to slow you down and throw you about. To contend with this, you’re going need to be as aerodynamic as possible and the tri-suit your wearing will have a big impact on this. Our ZONE3 tri-suits offer the ultimate speed and comfort that you’re going to need in Kona.

You can find out more information surrounding the event here. Finally, congratulations on qualifying, it’s some achievement in itself. Good luck in Kona, go smash it!