Pre-Kona Qwik-View with Kiwi AGer Jess Barnes

Qwik Kiwi: Congrats on getting to Kona. Having coached you whilst you were at school and in your early university days, it’s a privilege to see how you’ve grown as an athlete and where you have got to now.

Jess Barnes: Thanks Ray, I really appreciate your support and guidance from when I was a triathlon Newbie. It’s really cool to look back and see how far I have come. 

QK: You trained (and worked) hard over the New Zealand summer leading into Ironman NZ which was your first Ironman. You performed exceptionally and qualified for Kona by winning your age group in a time of 10:45, which is just flying.
JB: Yes I was working in the Vineyards before IMNZ and was clocking up some serious work hours (50+) and still managing to fit in some training (18-20hrs) I can’t believe how much I could pack into a day ! But that was what it took when I wanted that Kona spot! Yes I was pleased with my time. I wanted to go under 12 hours. I followed my race plan and really surprised myself!

QK: Prior to heading over to Kona, both you and Sean have been training in Noosa. How long did you base yourself in the Sunshine Coast prior to heading to Kona?

JB: Yes we based ourselves in Mooloolaba for just over 4 months as that is somewhere I had always wanted to go and train. It meant that I could still work and ‘winter’ on the Sunshine Coast is a great climate. My coach also lives there so it was great to get to work with him closer, have heaps of training buddies and be a part of a Triathlon focused swim squad. 

QK: What was the aim of this training block in Mooloolaba? What did a typical week in Mooloolaba look like for you?

JB: The aim of the training block on the Sunshine Coast was to put myself in a better training environment and be able to dedicate more time to training.
A typical training week included 3 swims with Lisa’s squad, and an open water session once a week. Lots and lots of biking. I was clocking up over 400kms in some of my big weeks. I did two long rides per week; one hilly and one flat with some efforts and a shorter session with more intensity. My running was less of a focus in this block of training as it is my strength and I unfortunately had a wee niggle in my knee. But luckily it came right for my final build. My key runs were two threshold sessions and a long run with a couple of little runs of my bike sessions too. The total weekly volume was around 25 hours.

QK: You are part of the Cupcake Cartel. Cal also spent time training in Noosa prior to heading to Kona. How have you found the support from the Cupcake Cartel team?

JB: It was so great being a part of the Cupcake Cartel and made settling into the Sunshine Coast super easy! It was great to meet some of my team mates that were based there and have training meet ups with them. The highlight had to be dressing up in 80’s disco theme and cheering on everyone in the Sunny Coast half.

QK: Is there a key swim set that you enjoy doing as part of your build up?

JB: I don’t have a particular set but definitely being in a squad has helped my swimming so much! I couldn’t thank coach Lisa Spink enough for how much she has helped me in just 4 months . One drill that has helped me get a better feel of the water has been front and back end skulling.

QK: Do you train with a power meter? If so, what type?

JB: Yes I use a Pioneer power meter.

QK: What is your favourite bike session?

JB: My favourite bike session that I love to hate is the Wednesday T.Zero group ride. This involved trying to hang onto fast boys wheels to get doughnuts from the Kenilworth bakery [I loved this bakery when I happened to go past it as support crew for UltraHumps at Ultraman 2016 – Coach Ray]. Then some Hill reps at 100-105% of FTP ?

QK: Do you have a particular run session that is your go to?

JB: You can’t beat some 1km reps for a go to run session. But my favourite run session of the week is always long run day! Nothing beats just getting into the groove and running for a few hours.
JB: It’s such a testing environment here so my plan is to race smart and stick to the plan. My goal is to do the best I possibly can and live my potential.

QK: All the best for the big dance next weekend Jess, we’ll all be watching the online coverage back here to see how your race progresses.
Jess is supported by a fantastic group of people and companies that helped her get to Kona :

You can follow Jess here:

Get more of the Pre-Kona series of Qwik Interview with other top level athletes (including Braden Currie, Callum Millward, Melanie Burke amongst others) here:


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