The triathlon season has kicked off in most parts, so it's time to get ready!I had my first triathlon of the season last Sunday, and after doing around 50+ triathlons, collecting my gear and getting ready has become routine and takes minimal time. I was ready for bed after the kids went down at 8:30 and my wife looked at me and said "when are you getting your stuff ready"? It was done and I was ready to hit the pillow!
|Packed by noon the day before the race.|
I lot of triathletes (new to experienced) tend to wig out the days before a race, especially when tackling a new distance or new course (or first triathlon ever).
One of my athletes will be taking on her fist 70.3 triathlon this coming weekend and while she has done running races and some multi-sport races, she's venturing into the unknown at the 70.3 distance.
So, this post will be more geared towards her experience, by can transcend her experience to anyone out there.
Being prepared isn't just a motto for the boy scouts.
Racing with ANYTHING you don't normally train with?
Race wheels on the bike?
New tri kit?
Trying to start with shoes on bike in T1?
Whatever it is, practice before race weekend.
I can't tell you how thankful I was when I was throwing on race wheels and busted my chain the weekend before my race. I was going to get a quick check on the bike before the race anyways, but prompted a fast visit for a new chain and derailleur adjustment. Saved me from the walk of shame on race day.
Make a list, check it twice, gather all your junk WAY in advance than the night before.
DO NOT leave anything to the morning of besides getting up and grabbing breakfast heading out the door. The only items I had left in the morning was getting dressed (wearing under shorts and tri shorts under shorts and shirt before I got in full race gear), tri tats and grabbing breakfast. EVERYTHING else was in the car ready to go.
I make my race day check list the weekend before and tick stuff off as I get closer. If you are traveling to a race, even more important. Here's a sample of mine below. Don't wait til the day before, because you may need to make a trip to grab extra nutrition or get your bike to the shop to get that loose cable tightened up. Won't be ideal the night before to figure that out...
Being ready before you go to bed and even by lunch reduces anxiety by 110 percent (total swag). Then you can focus on having a nice rest of the day, dinner, family, etc.
Visualization is key.
Run through the race order in your mind. From getting up to the finish line. See what your hydration and nutrition should be, clothes and gear you'll use and laying out your T1 and T2 before you pack it up for the race.
That's a tremendous help in making sure you have everything you'll need race day.
Careful not to pack the kitchen sink though. Nothing less fun than carrying a suitcase to transition and back after the race.
Don't do the distance the week before a race!
Some triathletes are nervous about taking on a new distance and tend to enter a race over trained or not rested. Fight temptation to train a full load the week before. Don't hammer out a 56 mile ride the Thursday before just to be certain you can do it.
Trust your training plan and as long as you adhered, the work is done. Enjoy taper and the "extra time" not training to think about being ready and what the finish line is going to feel like. In short, take taper seriously.
Be ready for anything.
Storms brewing? Race might be altered?
Be ready for anything race day and take it in stride. Don't get too worked up if the swim gets canceled or the bike is shortened. Race long enough and it will happen.
Just don't get too relaxed like I did at Racine 70.3 last year and forget about hydration and nutrition and being off start time by 2 hours. Have snacks on hand to bridge any time delays from the start.
Don't be last to transition.
I'm type A and like to be at transition when it opens. It's less of an issue when bike rack spots are assigned, but I'd rather sit in my car or relax in transition before a race than be stressing out in my car trying to get parked and set up.
|A place for everything, everything in it's place.|
Paid off for Ironman Lake Tahoe in 2013 when I found a busted spoke and got a replacement rear wheel right before the start. Had I been running behind or hurried, I might not had even checked and ended up with a busted wheel or wrecked during the race.
Get set up. Go through the race and make sure you have everything out and ready.
It also helps to have extra time for port a potty trips... just sayin.
Hopefully these short tips will help you manage race day stress a lot easier. Anything you can do days before a race to reduce stress the day of, do it. I know my first tri of the season went off smooth and the only real issue is stressing that my bike split was too slow for my liking.