After racing last weekend, I got to thinking on the long drive home: What can I do to make mine and my athlete's race day better? A few ideas popped into my head and I decided to share them with you in a three part series.
Part 1-Race Week: Leading Up to Race Day
Part 2-Race Day: Do's and Don'ts
Part 3-Post Race: Now What?
Here's Part 1. Enjoy!
Race Week: Leading Up to Race Day
You've been training for countless weeks and now you want to have the best experience possible on race day. Your main goal leading up to the race is to control what you can and not get overly anxious about the things you can't. Here are 6 things, that apply generally to all distances, that will help you get to race day prepared and ready to just race.
1. Training During Race Week-Most research shows that it takes about 10-14 days to see the effects of a training session. What does this mean? Completing training sessions during the week, under the pretense that it will make you faster on race day, may actually do the opposite. You want to stay sharp AND fresh. Heavy training during the week will likely not help you accomplish either. Replace the usual grind with rest and short but intense sessions.
2. Nutrition-If you haven't been eating good foods up to this point, now's a great time to start. Make sure you're getting nutrient dense foods instead of just energy dense foods. At the latter part of the week, avoid too much fiber, really sugary foods, and greasy/fatty foods, the foods that could potentially send you to the portOjon just after you zip your wetsuit. You are de-training during this week so you will actually need fewer calories this week than your normal diet with the heavy training load. Water should be your buddy throughout the week. If you ain't peeing clear the day/night before, you haven't had enough water.
3. Examine Your Equipment-If you know there's something that's needed fixed for some time but you've never gotten around to it, now's the time. Worried about a tire, tube, chain???? Take care of it early in the week just in case the LBS can't give you the VIP treatment. The greatest chance of a "mechanical" is in the bike leg, but don't let a bad shoe lace or goggle strap sneak up on you, or better yet, keep spares in your transition bag.
4. Confirm Your Reservations-Call a few days before and make sure your room is reserved, your dinner appointment, rental car, etc. You definitely don't need the added stress of dealing with reservation errors and having to get something less appealing at the last minute.
5. Don't Let Yourself get too "Busy"- Yea, the yard probably needs mowed and laundry done. You're going to have your household things, work schedule, and important family activities that you can't get away from but no need to start a home renovation project because you suddenly have "free time" with the decrease in training. Where possible, it's best to take care of these things early in the week, especially if these things require you to spend a good bit of time on your feet which you want to avoid.
6. Create a Packing Checklist-Make a list of items you will need for your trip and then check them off as you pack your things. Itemize your list to non-race (medical, tools, etc), pre-race warm up, swim, transitions, bike, run and post race. Keep your list for each race and modify as needed. Make sure you put your things in the car as you check them off. Otherwise, you might find yourself without a wheel (not speaking from experience..eehmmm).
What ideas do you have?
Scott Flynn, owner, coach and triathlete of 10+ years with Threshold Multisport Coaching, holds a MS in Exercise Science and multiple nationally recognized fitness certifications (CES, CSCS). For more about Threshold coaching packages click here.