May 31, 2018
I regularly get asked by athletes what they should do in the days leading into a race and on race day. The answer I often give is not to do anything that you haven’t already tried and tested.
Andrea Whitcombe from www.thetrilife.com suggests that the following can all be practiced in the weeks leading up to your big day.
Before your race you will need to taper. A taper is a period of easing down by reducing the volume of your training but still maintaining frequency and intensity. Depending on the distance of your race the taper can last anywhere between 1-2 weeks, possibly longer for an Ironman Distance.
If this is your first triathlon you may find after the race that you’d like to change the taper slightly. If you have a few triathlons under your belt you should have now found the ideal taper after much experimentation.
Problems can arise in training and racing that you have no control over. However you can control your reaction to these challenges. Learn ways to cope with distractions so that you are less likely to be troubled if they should arise. Train your body, train your mind.
Trial your planned race day nutrition in training. Ensure that you have tested this nutrition over a similar distance and intensity to your intended event. It doesn’t have to be all hard but do include bursts of intensity.
If your event is only several days away don’t fret. The points below should help guide you to a successful race.
Try not to eat too late or eat more than usual the night before a race and do stay hydrated.
Eat breakfast 2-4 hours before the competition. It is normal not to feel hungry due to pre race nerves but do try to eat something. Remember if you stay in a hotel to confirm what time breakfast runs from and to. Bring your own food if in doubt.
Taking a rest day 2 days before the race is ideal. The day before should entail a light workout such as a 15-30 minute bike ride and a short run of 5-15 minutes. A few short injections of pace such as 4 x 10 seconds should be included in both. This is also a great opportunity to check that your equipment is in perfect working order. If you are close to the race venue and are allowed to swim, it would be beneficial to check out the swim course and look for stationary objects to sight on such as a building, especially if the buoys are spaced out. Inspect the transition area paying special attention to the entry and exit points.
Write a race check list so that you know that you have packed all the necessary equipment and provisions. Get to the race at the very least 1 hour before your start time. I would propose getting there in plenty of time as there are often queues for parking, setting up in transition, toilets etc. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes.
Importantly, begin your day on a relaxed note. You can never get to a race too early – unless you’ve got the wrong date!
Would you like Andrea to be your personal coach and help you achieve your race goals? Click here to find out more about thetrilife.com