September and October mark the end of the northern hemisphere’s racing season. By this time, many triathletes are both physically and mentally ready to throw in the towel and begin their offseason especially those who have been racing since the end of March and April. These final races can still be personal bests though with a few key adjustments to your training and race planning.
Most importantly, racers cannot forget about race conditions. Temperatures can still creep up to the mid eighties and above in these late races. Every year people at IM Maryland, Augusta 70.3, Silverman 70.3, and of course the big show itself, Kona, have to go to the ER tent because of dehydration and heat exhaustion even though these races are at the end of September and October. Just because the race is in the fall on the calendar does not mean that the race will be a cool one. If you are planning to do one of these traditionally hot races, be prepared by training in the heat and planning out your race day fueling with extra electrolytes. We particularly like the electrolyte spray from Enduropacks, which they now sell separately from their recovery boxes. Having used this in my own training and racing, I particularly like how it is sugar and preservative free so if the day is a hot one, I will not run the risk of GI distress and is customizable to my high sweat level. (The code “HYDRATE” will get you 20% off)
While some races are hot death marches, other races can be uncharacteristically cold and wet for example IM Tahoe. If this is the case, then you need to be prepared and make the necessarily adjustments to your race plan. If the forecast calls for rain or a cold front, be sure to bring extra clothing as you are packing and plastic baggies for your clothes to keep them dry. A long sleeve wetsuit might also be required.
Mentally, the end of the season can be tough. To deal with this psychological fatigue, you may need to extend your taper from a week, which might have been sufficient back in April when you were fresher, to a week and a half or even two depending on the distance of your upcoming race. Try to stick to your training as closely as possible but realize that you may need more sleep, protein, and antioxidants to support recovery. If you do need to change the plan cut the fluff and focus on the intensity and race pace work.
Just because the end of the year is nigh does not mean you can get complacent and slack off. Be vigilant, focused, and prepared to end the year with a personal best not a DNF.
Coach Chris and Kev