You've probably received these tips in one form or the other, but this is still something I read each time before a Tri - tips from my first ever Tri Coach Milissa Day! She was my coach when I did the Rookie Tri Training via the Dell Gym!
So here it is you have planned your weeks and basically already done the distance for your triathlon and you are still getting the butterflies!! RELAX and realize you’re now just putting it together you already know you can do the distance. For many, you have actually trained beyond the race distance. If you start to fatigue during your race you just need to stay determined to keep moving forward at whatever pace works for you especially as new triathlete. Triathlons are really an individual effort so just do your best and know that some days, some races, some training days are better than others. Realize you really only have a few perfect races in your LIFETIME! The key is knowing how to deal with those not so perfect moments and pushing through internally to drive through those unexpected moments. (hopefully you have visualized how to deal with them at some point in your training) The best part should really be the training you put into your weeks leading up to your race and now just seeing yourself pull it all together whether walking, floating, coasting or sprinting it all, its all about YOU and YOU doing your BEST whatever that is in the moment!!
RACE WEEK TIPS
Race Week should be some type of taper and depending on your training it is likely different than others. However, you want to bring it down and still keep some fast twitch muscles moving a little (just short bursts) during your last few training sessions. This helps with muscle memory and helps you retain those speed sessions.
REST: you will want to rest and relax. Most people have trouble sleeping the night of the race so be sure the few days before you go to bed early and get some good solid sleep to prepare you for your race day. The day before your race try not to stand a lot, try to rest quite a bit. Sometimes a light massage is also helpful, but not too close to the race and depends on your muscles/tightness and type of massage. Be sure to let your massage therapist know you are racing soon.
NUTRITION: This is very different for everyone so it is best to check with a registered dietician and determine what works for you. In a general sense, most people DO NOT need a week of BIG “carbo loading week/night” for a SPRINT triathlon. Typically, the fact that you reduce some of your training this week cuts down your output and then your normal nutrition intake if it has been consistent should suffice. (relative that you are on a good nutrition program during your training) There may be some adjustments on a few things as it draws close see below day before tips. NO NEW FOODS/RESTRAUNTS ETC!!
During your training up to your race, you should have practiced what you will wear, and narrowed this down. You will want to start laying things out early and get any last minute things (like a race belt) or anything you will need. It is best to do this the weekend before, so you will be relaxed the day/weekend of your race. TRY TO BE ORGANIZED-IT HELPS!! Especially if you are traveling!!
2 DAYS BEFORE:
Most programs recommend take a day off completely for rest 2 days prior to your race.
PACKET-PICK-UP: make sure you read through packet, look at maps, if you have questions this is your chance to ask so you can ease your mind about the course, or any questions you may have come race day. Some people like to pick-up early look at the maps and drive the course a little to get an idea of the bike and where to park come race day. Some would just rather wait---it’s up to you and your comfort.
You typically will do a light/small work-out just to get the muscles loose (depends on race/training plan) the day before. It is common to swim 5 minutes, bike 10-15, jog 5 minutes or less depending on the distance and your personal training the day before and practice transitions.
NUTRITION: again depends on recommendations by your dietician, but for most, you will typically eat a large breakfast and lunch and still stay with your healthy snacks as normal. Your dinner will typically be lighter as far as SIZE and maybe earlier so you can allow your body to digest approximately 14 hours prior to race time. BE CAREFUL WITH ANYTHING SPICEY. Also watch your dairy products as well. You also have to be careful with gels/gu’s etc during your race if you are not use to these items. You basically need to train with what you will race with on race day. Or be EXTRA careful with over doing it come race day. As a standard with most nutrition plans, the basic food pyramid, You will want to cut back on high fiber types of foods within the day/or few days before. You do not want to have any digestion problems during your race. Also, cut back on fats, greasy foods, and HIGH SUGARS, which would be standard if you have been following basic guidelines.
NIGHT BEFORE: make sure you have everything laid out and ready to go for early
morning so you’re not running around looking for your helmet or some other item.
RACE MORNING:Get up early and start your routine, breakfast and fluids right away. Before you leave your house/hotel: look in the mirror and tell yourself some POWERFUL things like I AM G REAT ! I AM CONFIDENT! I AM PREPARED FOR THIS RACE! IF I get distracted or have an unexpected moment I WILL PULLL THROUGH IT!
ENVISION a GREAT race. TODAY is not so much about training today. It is 90% mental on race day, if you have already done your training up to this point. Sometimes, and hopefully you have already trained your mind with the mental aspects of racing, even the what if’s of things going wrong…(think about those things and play it in your mind how you are going to handle the situation and get back to your race. What if you get a flat, see yourself fixing a flat quickly and patiently and then getting back into the race) Sometimes its good to just see parts of the race, maybe you want a great swim or your best bike time, or drop some seconds in transition. Don’t worry so much about the awards/rankings….just break the race up into your personal records and sometimes it is just a finish and that alone is an achievement!! At this point you have done all the training, miles/distance/time so you will be fine come race day. It’s like baking a cake you have all the ingredients in the bowl now you just put it in the oven and hope for the best come race day!!
ARRIVAL: early is best EXPECT LINES w/parking, picking up a chip, porta potties, and walking from parking to transition may be far. Get your things set-up in transition area early, walk around know the in/out of transitions for each swim in/bike out and bike in and run out, look at the swim – look at the direction you will going and what is around/landmarks. Do a walk through of swimming to Transition 1 to bike to Transition 2 to run.
TRANSITION: make sure you set up equipment in “what makes sense” how are you going to be putting it on and what order? and have everything placed out the fastest and easiest to getting you out of transition. After you have set up transition: make sure you leave w/goggles, swim cap, chip-on, (maybe carry an extra throw-away water bottle for warm-up, prior to race)
EASY WARM-UP if you are able to, warm up slightly on the bike, do a light jog on the run course the finishing stretch is helpful or around the transition areas in/outs, also close to race time practice the swim and get in the water go slow/easy practice some form and sighting. As you walk out of your warm-up, take a moment alone to see your race in your mind and visualize your success.
SWIM: goggles-spit or special anti-defoggers prior to race, sometimes tints helpful for glare in sun, swim caps normally provided for race, count the buoys or know the landmarks of your swim, (wet suit—might need plastic bags to help put on suit—also allow time to put on in the morning, body glide helps as well)
BIKE: when you set up Transition make sure you check your bike—sometimes your travel will cause movement, brakes, easy gears etc. socks? Do you need them? Have you practiced without them?
RUN: hat/sunglasses helpful, race belt/#, shoe laces open, or fast tie system (yankz)
MOST IMPORTANT: HAVE FUN with IT!! THIS IS A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT!! LESS than 10% of the population does a triathlon and you are one of them; so just do your best and be happy with it. There is always room for improvement no matter how many times you do these races or how much experience you have under your belt. Today is just about you and the best you got today!! GO GET EM and have a great race!! GOOD LUCK TRIATHLETE!!
Coach Milissa Day