I’m not sorry for the language, but I will be nicer in this blog. I just need your attention. It’s nearly time for the first big “A” race triathlons of the year so that means you might be a little rusty on a few things. Let’s take a minute to make a list – yes, get a pen and notepad at some point, maybe even right now – write down the following.
Actions that will make your race more successful:
– Don’t get caught up thinking about race day when you can mess everything up during RACE WEEK. That’s right, race week (taper week) is something that varies 100% from athlete to athlete and it’s important you take notes on what works and what caused issues. I bring this up because I’ve found that sometimes athletes will do things during race week they never do during training. For example, eating a whole large pizza the night before the race, drinking a gallon of water within 2 hours the day before the race, attending a bachelor party, walking around Disney World or sight seeing for hours…etc. You’ve spent a LOT of time getting ready for one day of racing so why would you add additional stress or eat something drastically different? It’s important you develop a race-week plan with your coach. Asking questions and at least having a sounding board to bounce ideas off of. So the first item on your list is developing a race week plan (meals, travel, expo, travel to/from race, Sherpa support).
– Get mentally ready to relax and feel “different.” Race week means you may feel a bit heavy or bloated since you’ll likely still have a larger appetite and have more opportunity for bored-eating. I look forward to race week because it’s often one of 10 times during the year I get to act a bit “normal.” Granted I still wake up around 4 am to simulate race morning, but I have relaxed sessions, coffee rides and spend more time with family. With all that down time I remind myself that the body is ready, now I need to sharpen the mind. That means no amount of worry or doubt will add any value. Become task oriented and stick to your list. No matter how you feel during the week, accept that feeling for what it is. You may feel “heavy” or “awesome” so just go with it knowing that on race day you’ll be able to unleash the Kraken! I’ve felt totally shitty and given myself a hard time all week but when the “action” starts I’m a different person – executing my plan and adjusting as needed. Your mind is your ally so make sure you keep most of that emotion on the back burner and stick to logic. You’re 100% ready to swim/bike/run with speed and precision and you can handle any unforeseen issue with a calm, clear mind!
– Make a checklist of all your gear and take your bike for a tune up. Yes, you need to make sure your wetsuit still fits, and hasn’t been eaten by rats. Your bike shouldn’t make any squeaks, have rubbing brakes or anything else that could cause problems. You need to ensure you know how to use your data collection stuff (Garmin etc.) and plan for failure. My power meter has synced and worked 6 out of 10 races but I still rode well. Hell, on race day I don’t even care if you decide not to use data but trust me, it’s appreciated (especially if things goes south). Bring two pairs of goggles too since you don’t want to be that person asking for it in transition before the race. However you do it, make a list before you head to your race and never let a lack of attention towards your gear hold you back.
– Finally, don’t let anyone else but YOU dictate how your race week will unfold. I’ve seen many athletes guilted into landscaping their whole backyard with all the race-week down time and totally ruin their back. Your family may be excited to see you if they are in-town for the race but you need to tell them up-front “I’m going to be a Diva this week.” It’s your week to find solitude, love on your family on your terms and mentally get ready for the looming effort and event you’ve prep’d for. Be selfish (YES, more than normal) and make sure everyone knows you will be politely getting to bed early, so shut the hell up after 8pm, and you’re not eating endless pasta all week long – you need clean, healthy food!
That’s all for now – kick ass and make YOURSELF proud because no matter how you finish – WE (your Tribe) and your family will always love you. Plus win, lose or draw – you can always over-eat and drink post-race, right?