Race week is not always plain sailing. Nerves, race practice and protocols and more have all been dormant for the past 6 months, leaving us a little bit at a loss. So here is a little reminder of how race week may feel and how to deal with it.
Related: Talk this through with a coach - Find the right one for you
Panic training. The training is done. You're not going to get any fitter in the week leading into the event... the only thing you can do is overtrain and be tired come race day. This week is about resting and letting the body adapt to the training you've already done.
Nerves - it's only natural to be nervous. This isn't a bad thing. People cope with nerves in different ways... personally I've got a pretty structured routine which I can just roll through on race week without having to think about the race too much. I only tend to think about the race a day or two before which means that I haven't spent a whole week working myself up about it and wasting a load of mental energy on stress!
Change - DON'T... It's a common thought that you need to change everything on race week, from nutrition to kit, sleep patterns to what you do in training. Don't change anything... your body is used to what it's used to and changing your kit could cause you to be unfamiliar or to have unforeseen miss-haps. If you need to renew any gear, do it a week or two out from the event so that everything has time to settle in.
Training - There shouldn't bee too many changes to training... tapering into a race should definitely be considered... freshening up if you will. Reducing training by about 20% is a rough recommendation but this can differ per person.
Preparation - Make sure you've gone through the motions of what the course entails, from the actual route, to the transitions etc. Practice them all if you can. Travel arrangements should have also been sorted well in advance... all to ensure you're not causing any more stress to your race day. Leave yourself more time than you think.
Weather - Check it and adapt your gear / plans accordingly.
Kit - go through your whole kit bag the day before, check it over, take a photo of it all laid out... Ideally you have one from last time you raced that you can check over to make sure you haven't missed anything. Do the same with your bike... check the bolts, chain, gears are charged (if electric) and everything is in good working order.
Race day - Almost time to go and deliver... but first make sure you leave yourself plenty of time before the race to go through your usual morning routine. Have some food and stay hydrated. Relax, and head to the start line... you can only do your best... and that's all down to what you've done before the day. Lastly Enjoy it.
We don't train to train... we train to race.
We as elite athletes don't put in all of this time and effort into training just to beat our mates on a group swim, bike or run...
I am aware that this is the reason some of you do train...
We do it so that when the race season rolls around, we are able to put our best foot forward and toe the line with the intent of getting a personal best, completing a distance, or placing as high as possible. It's all relative to your own personal goals, but in general, we want to do the best we can for the given goal, target or result. It's a privilege to race.
So what do I mean by the privilege of racing...
Training is very controlled and calculated... very rare is it that I go to the well. So when it comes to racing, that is where I can really put the hammer down and show people what i've got... after all, that's where it really matters. Don't get me wrong... it's great to feel like you're getting one over your mates whilst training... but it's the race day that really counts.