A CORE coach in Kona (II): Jeffrey Capobianco

CORE Coach Jeffrey Capobianco is a long-time endurance athlete and triathlon coach with Breakthrough Performance Coaching. In 2022 he raced the Hawaii Ironman World Championships for the 14th time, using CORE for the first time on the island. He spoke with us about his training and racing experiences using CORE.

Training with CORE

I have been using my Core for over a year, and it was instrumental in my Kona prep this past season. I used the CORE sensor to define my heat training zone and subsequently to ensure I was spending ample time in that temperature zone. I was surprised how long it took for my body to get up to temp. In the past, I would perform a relatively unstructured 45- 90 minute "heat adaptation" workout. Through monitoring my CORE temp in real time, I've discovered that it may take 45+ minutes to get my body up to temperature. This leads me to believe that my previous attempts to acclimate failed to adequately stimulate the requisite physiological processes.

I was using 38.5°--39° C (101.3°--102.2° F) as my heat training zone, based on the CORE heat ramp test. I like the idea of just enough stimulus to get the desired effect, versus the “more is better” approach. If I wasn’t closely monitoring and my temp hit 39.25° C (102.7° F) or so, it would begin to run away from me, despite no increase in effort or a slight decrease. I would really need to change the conditions – fans, cold slurries, etc.

My general stop point was 40°C (104° F). I feel quite crappy at that heat level. I was a paramedic for the City of Boston in a previous life, as well as a wilderness and disaster medicine educator. I may let myself hit 40° C, but I do not allow any of my athletes to go this high, as I understand and have seen the devastation of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Jeffrey Capobianco using CORE at Kona

Racing with CORE

I used the CORE to monitor my body temp in real-time during the race in Kona. It is paramount that I don't allow my temp to rise too quickly or too high. Once my core body temperature hits a certain level, it can be near impossible to cool it while still exercising; the heat balance is too far out of whack.

I would capitalize on every opportunity to cool with water through aid stations and modulate my effort and pace to keep my temperature steady. This strategy worked incredibly well, especially during the bike leg. I found myself at 37.75° C (99.9° F) during the bike and used this in conjunction with heart rate and power. They all correlated quite well, so there was never a point that I found my temp climbing too high, so long as my heart rate and power were where I know they should be. Had my temp begin to climb over 38°C (100.4° F) with no increase in heart rate and effort, then I would have tried more aggressive cooling and modulated my effort.

Unfortunately, my Garmin watch had gone black at the start of the swim, so I wasn’t able to use it for the run. I did have the presence of mind to grab the Garmin 830 off of my bike for the run, but I just put it in my back pocket and never looked at it much during the race. I checked it a couple of times and saw my temp was high, but I felt relatively good, so I decided to just keep running by feel.

CORE for coaching

For us at Breakthrough Performance Coaching, using the CORE Body Temp sensor is pure gold. Temperature affects everything from the body's ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles, to the gut's ability to process and uptake nutrition, to metabolism at the cellular level. The ability to monitor core body temperature in real-time and enact cooling strategies allows our athletes to race to their potential.