Five ways to beat the off-day

Tips and tricks from some of the top athletes and coaches in triathlon on how to prevent sudden drops in performance

Beat the off-day

Whether you’re an Olympic elite or an accounting age-grouper, we all have races where it all goes wrong. So what can be done to prevent this drop in performance?


We asked five top elites and triathlon coaches for their advice on how to beat the off-day…

Tom Bishop, GB elite

“Check the weather forecast as it’s crucial to stay warm before a race; it’s not the time to prove how tough you are by swanning around in your tri-suit. I’ve seen athletes’ races ruined because they’re too cold to perform at their best. But be just as diligent if it’s hot. Make sure you have plenty of fluids and a place out of the sun where you can prepare.”

Mirinda Carfrae, 2 x Ironman World Champion

“Never race through illness! In 2006 I was enjoying a great start to the year but then fell ill with stomach flu. I continued with training, which led to even greater time off mid-season. Come the Ironman 70.3 World Champs, I felt exhausted and completely flunked.”

Russ Cox, tri coach and Ironman

“Pacing is critical to a successful race, and the easiest way to ensure you get it right is to practise. In the weeks leading up to your event, regularly incorporate race-pace efforts into your training. These will give you a better idea of how hard you need to work on race day.”

Cat Morrison, Ironman elite

“Double-check all of your equipment. Have you charged your bike computer? Are your goggles right for the light conditions? Check your helmet for any cracks – you won’t be allowed to race if there are any. Give your bike the once-over, especially the wheels. A loose wheel skewer cost me a podium spot. Be prepared!”

Scott Neyedli, Ironman elite

“Make sure you’re adequately hydrated. I alternate an energy or electrolyte drink, and then water, because it locks in the electrolytes and reduces the chances of cramping. Also, simply close your eyes and run through the race. On the course you’ll be able to physically unleash what you’ve run through in your mind.”


For lots more performance-related advice head to our Training section