48 hours to go, yes just 48 hours until your race, the one you’ve been training for, thinking about, and now it’s almost here.
Before you start to panic here’s a countdown guide for your big day, follow this and everything will go smoothly and you will put yourself in the best possible place to have a great race.
So here we go…
48:00; Check the Weather & Do a short, fast workout
Knowing what the weather will be like will allow you to make a last-minute addition to your kit bag for race day, cold, then a warm top, warm or dare I say it hot, then you can prepare accordingly. Not doing this check can lead to a miserable experience come race day.
Your next-to-last workout before a race should be relatively easy, so you’re not fatigued on race morning, but it should include a dash of speed to prime your nervous system for competition. For example, run a mile easy, then run 4 x 30-second relaxed sprints, focussing on your form
47:00-39:00; Stay off your feet
Avoid spending any unnecessary time on your feet today as much as possible. Which means, much to the dismay of your partner that the household chores can wait until next weekend!
31:00; Get a good night’s sleep
Ensuring you get good quality sleep is critical to athletic performance all of the time, but it is never more important than in the final few days before your race.
As a result of pre-race nerves and the inevitable early-morning race starts, it can be difficult to get a full eight hours of sleep the night before a race. So be sure to get a good, long sleep two nights out.
22:00; Do a short, easy workout
A short, and I mean very short and easy workout is better than none at all, the day before a race. It relieves mental and physical tension and keeps the body primed for performance.
21:00-10:00; Stop the carbo-loading and drink
Now is not the time to stop shovelling those carbs in, if you have done it right then you’ve already maxed out your glycogen stores. Now choose familiar foods that have always worked well for your body in the past, i.e. your normal diet. Now is not the time to experiment.
Make sure you are drinking sufficient amounts of fluid, which does not include anything with alcohol, that can wait until after the race as you celebrate your achievement with friends and family.
20:00; Final gear check
There’s nothing worse than showing up at a race venue and realising you forgot something important, like your wetsuit or bike shoes. To avoid this experience, take some time to check that you’ve got all your gear together, you should have already got it all packed, but one last sanity check is a good idea. It’s best to create a race gear checklist that you use for every race.
18:00; Plan for race morning
Race morning logistics can be stressful, especially if you are not prepared. Minimise this stress by having a plan for race morning that includes your wake-up time, a planned route to the race venue, a parking site and arrangements to get home after the race. Have a look at Hercules Events website to gather all of the information you need for an easy and smooth race morning.
9:00; Visualise your race
Mental rehearsal, or visualisation, is an incredibly powerful tool of psychological preparation for a race. It is not a tool you have to save for the night before a race, but there is certainly no better time to use it. After getting into bed, clear your mind, which means no tablets/phones and imagine the next morning’s race as vividly as you can.
Obviously, you can’t go through the entire course in real time, so focus on critical parts such as the start, transition, bike mount dismount. Imagine moving with perfect form, feeling easy and strong. Don’t complete your mental rehearsal race miraculously free of fatigue. Instead, see yourself fighting through the fatigue.
3:00; Wake up early
Research on the relationship between the relationship of your body’s natural rhythms and exercise performance suggests that optimal performance is not possible within a couple hours of waking up in the morning. So set an early alarm to give your mind and body plenty of time to get up to speed. Try to climb out of bed at least three hours before the starting gun blasts.
2:45; Eat your pre-race meal
Nutrition is the most important factor on race morning, so it’s also important to wake up in plenty of time to consume and digest a good quality pre-race breakfast. You need to aim to have between 75-100 grams of carbohydrate three hours before your race start, or at least 50 grams two hours out.
0:30; Warm up thoroughly
Start your warmup about 30 mins before your race is due to start. Start with an easy jog, then complete some dynamic stretches such as walking lunges and arm circles, and finish with a few 20- to 30-second bursts at race pace.
0:00; Race time
Most importantly remember this is a reward for all your hard work in training, go out and enjoy it, race hard and don’t forget to smile for the photos at the finish!
This is brought to you, courtesy of our friends are 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.