Kona Calling: Carrie Lester talks training, hydration and winning IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant

By Chris Knight | 3 Minute Read

Carrie Lester is on fire. The Australian triathlete stormed to victory at IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant, smashing the course record by nearly 20 minutes in the process! 

We caught up with Carrie following her stunning victory to ask her about the secrets to her success, the Nice World Championships and, of course, Kona...


Hi Carrie! You dominated Mont-Tremblant once you moved to the front on the bike leg and stormed to victory in a time of 8:48:26, did you have any idea quite how fast you’d gone when you’d finished?

Honestly I had no idea. I crossed the finish line and saw the time and it still didn't register!

I don't wear a watch so I had no idea what my marathon time was, and I hadn't even looked at my bike time before starting the run...it was a complete surprise!


Amazing! What do you put that performance down to?

The course overall at Mont-Tremblant definitely suited me - I always want more hills, longer climbs, but it was a great course with a bit of everything

​Also, my bike strength and fitness has definitely had a boost since I've been training in the mountains with the boys. For years really I have been consistently chasing Scottie [DeFilippis - Carrie's partner and coach] and other boys, and maybe now it has finally hit a new level.

We train A LOT in the mountains in California and then here in Switzerland, so the biking is always challenging.

Running as well - it's years of consistency without injury or any long breaks.

Scott sees me every day and knows what to give me in terms of training. This year we have gone back to some longer rep track sessions and long-build runs, so I think my stronger marathon performance are perhaps showing we're reaping the rewards.


This year has arguably been the best of your career, have there been any massive changes to your training schedule or to what you've been doing during 2019? 

We haven't done anything differently. Same coach, same training groups, similar race schedules, same training locations. It really is years of consistency we've been building on. Also, not suffering any injuries and enjoying more rest (sleeping in particular!), whilst being smarter and more specific, has definitely helped.

There's still work to do - nothing crazy - but I'm working on my time trialling at the moment, while it's a case of continuing to build strength and maintaining everything now in preparation for the big one in Kona.

It was definitely nice knowing I didn't have to battle for a Kona slot [Carrie had already qualified for the IRONMAN World Championships before she competed at Mont-Tremblant], but despite that I still wanted to have a strong race and really see where my fitness was.


Speaking of Kona, is the decision to compete in the IM 70.3 World Championships in Nice part of a fitness 'tune up' before you focus on Hawaii?

If the World Championships weren't in Nice I most likely wouldn't be racing.

I don't have the speedy run which the other girls I am going to be up against do, but I do love the bike course and if I ever had a chance against these girls it would be over a challenging bike course like Nice.

If I scrape into the top-10 it will be a dream day. But the result could go either way so I'm just there to do the best I can and enjoy what will most likely be my one and only 70.3 World Championship.


Excellent, Team PH are definitely looking forward to Nice! And what about Kona, you must be confident of a big performance on the Big Island?

Looking ahead to Hawaii - despite the great races I've had this year, none of it matters in Kona.

You can go there in the best form and the race can go pear-shaped very quickly. It's best to have ZERO expectations, and just go and race with what you have on the day. And remember that this one race doesn't define you.


You've gained a bit of experience of 'The Big Dance' over the last few years, so have you nailed down a schedule to prepare for the race? 

We typically arrive on the Monday before as we like to stay in California as long as we can.

We still do some decent training during the week of the race - shorter more specific sessions, but with plenty of rest.

I don't have any race day routines or superstitions, but I'll definitely have a McDonalds after the race, that's for sure!


And how do you stay hydrated during the build-up to the race?

In the days before the race I stay hydrated by using PH500 and PH1000 sachets, and try to stay out of the heat as much as possible. And the day before I'll preload with PH1500 [for more on preloading, check out our blog on How to start hydrated and what that's so important].


Finally, based on your form this season, you must be confident of a career-best showing in Kona?

I'm in good form and by Kona I hope to be even stronger, but like I said, none of that matters come race day. I know Kona is a different beast and it can go any which way.

I could even race like I did in Mont-Tremblant and that might only get me 10th place on the day.

If I put the race together I know I can, I'll be happy.


Great stuff, thanks for your time, Carrie, and all the best for your race in Kona!

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