Stronger, faster, fitter 1/5: Pre-race
Now is the time to analyse your racing year, make the necessary tweaks over the winter and set yourself up for your best season ever in 2013. First up in the series is pre-race advice
Competing is stressful at the best of times, so a good routine in the days before an event will help you get to the start line feeling as relaxed as is realistically possible, with only the usual pre-race nerves to deal with.
Ask yourself honestly if you made any of these common errors this year. If so, our solutions could have a hugely positive impact on your performances in 2013…
Few things can ruin a race more than running late or missing the start. Even if you manage to arrive in time, the adrenaline rush caused by cutting it so fine can leave you exhausted when it wears off halfway round the swim.
Triple check when your start is and allow double the amount of time you think you need to get there. Remember that everything takes longer than it should on race day due to the sheer volume of nervous athletes faffing around in the start area. Much better to be set up and ready to go with 30mins to spare than panicking about whether you’re going to get to the start line on time.
LACK OF RECONNAISSANCE
If you turn up at a really important race and don’t know the course, you’re putting yourself at a significant disadvantage.
Plan course recces into your training. If that’s impractical then, at the very least, read up on the route, look at maps and course profiles online, talk to people who’ve raced it before and drive the course in a car to get a feel for what you’re taking on. That way you should avoid turning up with the wrong gear ratios for the ride, or being psyched out by a hill on the run that you never knew was there.
Turning up at a race and finding out that a key piece of equipment is still sat in the garage is at best frustrating and at worst devastating to your performance.
Write a checklist of all crucial items. Break it down into pre-race, swim, bike and run sections. Physically check all items off the list as they go into your bag or the car, and take spares of things like goggles that have a habit of breaking. Do this for every race and forgetting kit should be a thing of the past.
If you’re not racing near to home then getting hold of sensible pre-race food can be tricky, especially if the town in which you’re staying is suddenly overrun with hungry triathletes looking for a good feed.
Book restaurant tables in advance or, even better, get self-catering accommodation and take your preferred foods with you. Prepare your race morning breakfast the night before or make special arrangements if you’re staying in a hotel; they may not be geared up to produce your favourite bowl of gluten-free, vegan granola at 4:30am on a Sunday.