We’re just two days away from the premiere event in triathlon — the world championship competition in Kona. Athletes from around the world have been eager to get their hands on the new Forerunner 920XT with running dynamics and connected features. And who better to share a little insight than a few Garmin pros.
Pablo Ureta (Argentina) has been racing triathlons for 21 years and is here for his 10th time at Kona. He also competes in adventure races and ultra trail races and recently started a company focused on organizing multi-stage trail races in Argentina.
Peg: You did your first triathlon at age 15, your first Ironman at age 19 — not your typical teenage past-times.
Pablo: My professor in high school organized a triathlon. I did the race, won it, and I loved it. I saw the Ironwar video in 1989 about Mark Allen’s win and I said I want to do that. I remember my friends saying Pablo, you’re crazy. And I don’t know if it was a challenge, but I was only 15 and I remember my brother had this huge camera and he gave me an interview and he asked “Pablo, what’s your dream?” and I said I will race one time at Kona.
Peg: What’s one of your favorite tune-up workouts leading up to Kona?
Pablo: For running, I like to run 3 times in one day, 10 miles each time with a four-hour break in between. It’s kind of crazy, but I like it. And I try to run each one a little bit faster.
Peg: What advice can you give triathletes who are struggling to stay motivated in their training?
Pablo: Most people go through a moment when it’s really hard. My advice is to get a goal and go for the goal when you don’t want to get out there. It may be hard to get out the door, but once you are done and you get back home, you feel much better. You can also run with friends and say every morning at 6, we are going for a run and if someone doesn’t show, they buy dinner.
Peg: What do you like best about the new 920XT?
Pablo: One of the things I’m most excited about is the battery life. When I do long distance races like ultras, or races that are 20 hours, I need my watch to go the distance too. Also, I think the 920 is great because I can be connected instantly. I travel a lot, so if I’m training in the Alps, I can share my run and say hey guys, see what I did in Garmin Connect. I also coach 11 athletes, most of them have Garmin Connect and I think it’s a great way to know what my athletes are doing. I have an athlete in Paraguay and he shares his activities in Garmin Connect and I can know what he’s doing. It’s a great way to coach people from all over the world. Just have a Garmin and see the information online.
Jenny Fletcher (USA) has been racing with Garmin since 2011. The 70.3 distance is her specialty and she’s on the big island this week supporting other triathletes in the sport.
Peg: What was it like when you first started training with Garmin GPS devices?
Jenny: Having all information at your wrist, it changes your world as an athlete. I like to train with knowledge, and I don’t want to be out there recklessly. So I couldn’t do what I’m doing without Garmin products. It ups your level and helps you perform at your best.
Peg: First impressions of the 920XT?
Jenny: When I first put it on, I was impressed how well it fit my wrist. It’s not bulky, which is important for taking on and off a wetsuit. And as much as we love the technology, we need it to be simple to use. I like how easy it is to change between sports on the 920, and you can even set it for cycling indoors on the trainer.
Peg: What about the activity tracking features?
Jenny: I turned on activity tracking and my parents were in town and we were sitting at lunch. The 920 vibrates and I look at it and the screen says “move!” We were contemplating getting dessert, and I said “Guys, I’m sorry we have no time for dessert.”
Peg: Do you share your data with your coach?
Jenny: The best thing about the new Garmin devices is when I finish my rides or runs, I can sync with my phone and then I can directly send all my information via Garmin Connect. My coach, Leanda Cave, can look at it and tell me if I need to be pushing more power. She gets all the information and it makes me accountable.
Ben Collins (USA) has been competing as a pro since 2007 and Garmin has been his training partner through every step of his journey. Like Jenny, he’s in Kona this week to be a part of the action as a supporter and fan.
Peg: What’s been the biggest leap in Garmin technology in the years you’ve been using it?
Ben: Getting power on the bike with the Vector pedals. All of the other metrics can vary day to day. Pace and speed are not as measurable due to differences in the course, the weather and other variables. But power is the same. It’s a solid, quantitative metric.
Peg: How are Garmin devices qualified to guide the training of pros and amateurs?
Ben: Garmin has gotten to a place where they’re not just making a watch, but it’s an entire suite of devices that are there to guide your training. I have my 920 connected to my Vector pedals and the ANT+ sensors. Everything just works. I walk into my house and it’s instantly online with Garmin Connect.
Peg: Of the new features in the 920XT, what’s going to make the biggest difference in your training?
Ben: The connectivity. Having that ability to live track on the bike and my loved ones can see that I’m safe is huge. And to see alerts from my phone on the 920, so when I’m riding and somebody calls me, I can see it without having to dig into my pocket to get my phone.
Peg: Race-wise, you had an incredible year in 2014. What do you attribute that to?
Ben: I got really frustrated around March-April this year. I left Chicago to get away from the polar vortex, and when I came back, I had this moment where I asked myself what’s important, is it the joy of training? The conclusion I came to is what’s really important is balance. It’s important to be in the moment and be balanced and to be really happy with what you’re doing. So when I took that pressure away, all of the sudden I started doing better and I was on the podium and I was getting fastest bike split and my running came around. And I was able to improve without forcing it.
It's been like a global family reunion out here in Hawaii, spending time with our sponsored athletes from around the world. We're grateful that you've put your trust in Garmin devices to guide your training over the years. You inspire us all to pursue a healthy lifestyle and live in the moment.
Best of luck to Pablo, the rest of our Garmin pros and other Garmin triathletes this Saturday. If you’re in Kona, join us for a shake-out run with Jenny Fletcher on Friday, 10 am, starting from our booth location: 75-5744 Ali’i Drive (Hawaiian Pedals store). We’ll be there all week with the latest Garmin products for sale and Garmin tech support to help with all your pre-race needs.