"Sometimes you just feel like it's groundhog day," she said, only half joking. On those particular training days, she likes to tap into memories of successful races and the emotions that result from a personal best. That memory bank is the key to her persistence and commitment.
"Kona is a massive motivator for me. That race is one that I'm thinking about when I'm doing my super hard sessions," she says. "Accomplishing things you never really believed you were able to accomplish?it makes it all worth it."
Of course memories alone can't power you through a long ride. So, what does Carfrae rely on for sustenance?
"Eggs. I have them every day", she said. "They're really good and easy to digest."
Other items she always keeps on hand include chocolate, bread, yogurt and chocolate milk.
"I graze throughout the day because it's hard to eat big meals between big training sessions," she said. "This morning I had a banana and cookie as I headed out the door."
She usually eats gels during workouts and makes sure to have a good dinner at the end of the day.
For as hard as she works in season, it's equally important to take time off at the end of the year. Carfrae takes two weeks completely off, then takes two weeks to do whatever she feels like before starting to build the miles back up.
"You want to do a super good base block and build that up over a couple of months before you put the quality on," she said.
She also emphasizes the importance of strength training in the offseason: "If you have any niggles you have to make sure you get those addressed."
By March, Carfrae is back to racing (she usually tries to do one 70.3 that month) and back to dreaming about Kona. It's that kind of focus that keeps her on top of the game. And it's the same thing she would tell aspiring triathletes.
"Never lose sight of your goal."
With three sports, triathlon is tough and there are a lot of necessary steps that you just can't rush. But, as Carfrae proves year after year, a little persistence and a lot of hard work can get you there.<!--<p><em><strong>More:</strong> <a href="http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/The-Secret-to-Reaching-Your-Goals.htm">The Secret to Reaching Your Goals</a></em></p>-->
Photo Gallery: Mirinda Carfrae at the Ironman World Championship
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