So, there’s only a week to go until our Hertfordshire triathlon race day and the finger you’re currently using to control your computer mouse might as well be on a panic button right now.
All the questions you thought were answered weeks ago are inevitably beginning to show themselves again and at the worst possible time. Did I train hard enough? Should I put those funny looking elastic laces on my running shoes? Should I have done one more brick workout? What will I eat and drink on race day? And so on.
No matter how many lengths you’ve swam, miles biked or run, doubts always seem to find a way to rise during race week.
But It’s all part of the game. Remember nerves are normal, especially as race day gets closer and the doubts start slipping through the cracks. The key to surviving race week, and the race itself is as simple as trusting your training.
No one workout during race week is going to make you any fitter or stronger. If anything, overdoing it is more of a concern than underdoing it during race week. Now is the time to rest your body, and your mind. The real work has been done.
And while you think ahead to race day, think back on the weeks of preparation that got you to this point. Also, think about the progression you’ve made as a triathlete during this period. In the two, four, six or more months since you first decided to try a triathlon, you’ve covered hundreds of miles, mastered your nutrition and have broken in your race day outfit so well that it feels like your favourite pair of jeans. There’s literally nothing left to do at this point except execute the race.
But you still need to get through race week, so use these five simple strategies to make sure you get to the starting line feeling relaxed, confident and ready to run your best on race day.
1. Relax. Nerves will get you nowhere. They burn calories that are better used on race day. Rather than worrying the week away and questioning your training and perhaps why you entered in the first place, try to take your mind off the race and keep it occupied with a book, mindless movie, do a jigsaw puzzle or some other non-exercise related activity to offset any pent-up pre-race energy anxiety.
2. Drink water. Forcing down litres of water on race morning isn’t going to help matters much if you haven’t been consistency drinking in the days prior to the event. Keep a water bottle within arm’s reach at all times in the days before the race and sip from it several times an hour. It can take several days or even up to a week or more to hydrate properly. Make sure your tank is full well ahead of time.
3. Wake up early. If you’re not an early bird already, learn to be before experiencing a rude awakening on race morning. Since you’ll likely be starting around 7 a.m. and positioned in transition much earlier than that, you’ll want to know what it’s like to be out of bed well before the break of dawn. The last thing you want to do on race day is be rushing around with only seconds to spare, forgetting things, so give yourself plenty of time to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and get to the start line.
4. Make a list, check it twice or three times. You wouldn’t leave home without your bank card or house keys. Equally you shouldn’t leave home without your wetsuit, water bottles, running shoes, gels, hat if its sunny, you get the idea. Make a list of your race day essentials and put them out them to one side through the week. Pack it all up into your transition bag a minimum of 24 hours before hand and tick the items off your list as they go into the bag. Then you can wake up on race day, follow the routine of shower, get dressed, eat and travel to the race.
5. Eat, eat well that is. Don’t be tempted to leave the ‘carb’ loading until the night before the race, make sure that you are ‘loading’ Ten to seven days out from the race, stopping and returning to your normal eating plan 48 hours before the race itself to let your gastronomical system return to normal. It can take up to 3 days for your body to convert the carbohydrate into Glycogen, the energy source that is most readily accessible and used by your body during the race.
Leaving it until the last minute is likely to place you in the queue of the blue cabins and no one wants that on race morning. Make sure its wholemeal based carbohydrates and work on the ratio of 8-10g of carbs per kilo of body weight or if you are counting calories that equates to roughly 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate.
In the end, remember that surviving race week comes down to trusting your training.
View the race itself as just a reward for all the hard work you’ve put in since you decided to sign up for this event many months ago.
Don’t let those doubts take away from the enjoyment of the experience. Develop a pre-race plan, execute it to the best of your ability and have the confidence that you’re ready to swim, bike and run on race day!
These tips are provided to you courtesy of our partner; SISU Racing.
SISU Racing provide professional coaching for triathletes of all levels, from beginner to elite. If you have any questions around your race or you are interested in taking your training to the next level then please contact them on email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sisuracing.co.uk for more information.