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5 Tips For Surviving Race Week

Here’s the scenario

There’s only a few days to go until your most important race of the season, and the finger you’re currently using to scroll through this article might as well be on a panic button right now.

The questions you thought were answered weeks ago are inevitably beginning to arise again at the worst possible time. Did I train hard enough? Should I have done one more brick workout? What will I drink on race day? Should I put elastic laces on my running shoes? And so forth. No matter how many laps you’ve swam or how many times you’ve rehearsed the race in your head, uncertainties always seem to find a way to arise during race week.

It’s all part of the game, as they say. 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, however, is as simple as trusting your training.

No one workout during race week is going to make you any fitter. If anything, overdoing it is more of a concern than underdoing it during race week, so only light workouts, like neuromuscular activation exercises, are best during race week. Now is the time to rest your body and your mind. The real work is 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 do a triathlon, you’ve covered hundreds of km, dialed in on your projected pace with laser-like precision, mastered your nutrition, and have broken in your race day outfit so well that it feels like a second skin. There’s nothing left to do at this point except run the race.

Of course, 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. Rather than worrying the week away and questioning your training, try to take your mind off the race and keep it occupied with a book, mindless movie, or some other non-triathlon-related activity. Take a short walk, meditate or whatever it is you need to do to offset any pent-up pre-race anxiety.

2. Drink Water

Chugging litres of water on race morning isn’t going to help matters much if you haven’t been drinking in the days prior to the event. Keep a water bottle within arms 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 to fill your tank 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 your corral 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, 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

You wouldn’t leave home without your mobile phone or car keys. On race week you shouldn’t leave home without your wetsuit, rear wheel, water bottles, running shoes, gels and hydration belt. Make a list of race-day essentials and keep reviewing these items. Check out the race checklist on the RTT Group Facebook Page. If traveling, especially flying, pack the important stuff in your carry-on luggage. You’ll be fine if you lose your favorite Uggs or misplace your shaving kit, but you’re nothing without your racing kit.

5. Enjoy the expo, but not too much

The expo will be quite the experience. There’s so much to see, lots of nutrition to sample, merch to buy and catching up with people but spending too much time on your feet the day before your biggest race of the year isn’t the soundest strategy for success.

If possible, get into town early, enjoy the expo experience for all that it has to offer. Grab your race packet, rack your bike, do your transition tour and then get off your feet and relax for the rest of the day.

Takeaway

And in the end, remember that surviving race week comes down to trusting your training. The race itself is 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 deceiving 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, run and rock on race day!

Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).

Contact Stuart at rdytotri@gmail.com

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