Tips to Survive the Days to a Big Race

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Dear TSC crew,Triathlete Team

This past weekend, I participated in the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas, NV. Since I am writing this the day before the race, I cannot give you a race report yet, so that will have to wait till next week. However, I have already learned a lot this weekend about racing, triathlons, and training. Most jarringly, I have learned that TRIATHLETES ARE JUST WEIRD.

I feel so bad for the staff at the hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and Starbucks in the area because of the high, pre race routines and demands of these athletes. From the “Excuse me, sir [the barista], is this coffee Free Trade AND organic. I will get bloated if it’s not…” to the “Yeah, this is just a tune up race for Kona” comments, it is like I have walked into a “$hit triathletes” say video. If you have never been to a triathlon, it is worth participating or spectating one if only to people watch.

Watching and listening to all of these “freaks” can be intimidating to say the least, so here are my tips for how to survive the days leading up to a big race:

  1. Go incognito: Honestly, people: leave your old race shirts at home. If you are here, then everyone already knows that you are a triathlete; there is no need to wear a shirt to prove yourself.
  2. Bring your own food: Relying on local restaurants and the hotel snack bar grub can be risky and pricy when it comes to planning out pre race fuel. Instead, pack your own food, which you know will keep you racing on the course instead racing to the bathroom.
  3. Check in then check out: Personally, race expos make me nervous. While I enjoy walking around and talking to the different vendors and team sponsors, I do not enjoy the intimidating, “sizing you up” stares from other athletes, “what do you do for training?” conversations, and the over priced, “deals” on gear I do not need and would never use (at least not on race day). Moreover, although you may not really feel like you are stressing you body, being out in the sun and on your feet for several hours while you check-in can stress your body more than is wise before a big race. Instead, I recommend that you show up first thing, check in, then go back to you room, put your feet up, and relax.
  4. Go solo: While doing your pre-race, tune up workouts with a bunch of top caliber athletes might seem appealing, it is too easy to get caught up in the crowd and go too hard. Do your workouts early and by yourself so that you can listen to your body and not feel any pressure to race before the race even begins.
  5. Have fun: Honestly, this is why we do these crazy events anyway, so enjoy the moment, relax, and just have fun.

If you raced this past weekend, I hope it went well and if you are racing soon, good luck!

Train and race hard, live easy
Coach Chris and Kev

Words of wisdom:
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
― Bruce Lee

Workout of the week:
Many people ask what workout I should do before a race, so here is what I do. This will vary from person to person for sure, but the overall idea is to check the race gears without wearing out or stressing your body and to prevent your body from getting stale.
Two days before: Many people like to take this as an off day and that is fine. I personally like to do a brief run with some race speed pickups, a short bike ride to see if my bike is shifting well, and maybe get into a pool or lake if I can to refresh my feel for the water. Overall, I do not workout longer that 75 minutes.
One day before: I like to do a 1-2-3 check. If I can get into the water, I do, if only for 10 minutes, followed by a 20 minute ride with race pickups before checking the bike into T1, then a run to stretch out the legs before putting my feet up for the rest of the day.