Thursday, August 15, 2013

Common Race Mistakes

It doesn't matter if your completing a Half Marathon, Sprint Triathlon or Ironman everyone has made mistakes when racing.  If you have never made a mistake then racing then just wait you will at some point.  When I started doing triathlons about 10 years ago they were not nearly as popular as they are now. I did not know anyone who had done one and I didn't even know there was such a thing as a coach that could help me prepare for the race. Needless to say my first race was pretty slow.  My second and third one were much better but I still made mistakes during them as well.  Some of the mistakes I made during my first few triathlons were:
  • Turning the wrong way on the bike course.
  • Putting my wetsuit on inside out - I actually won this race believe it or not!
  • Not getting into open water before the race - at all!  I had to swim the entire race without goggles because mine kept leaking.
  • Not fueling enough and almost passing out at the end of the race.
  • Not checking my bike wheels to make sure they were not rubbing on the brake or frame - my rear wheel was on wrong and rubbing on the side of my frame.  This made for a very slow bike until I realized something was wrong.
Those are some of the first races I did. I still make mistakes during races.  Some of the mistakes I have made recently are:
  • I pushed too hard on the bike.
  • I didn't take in enough nutrition on the bike.
  • I drank too many beers the night before - this was last year before the Arizona Marathon.  
  • I got a new profile bottle I only tested once on a ride.  Don't do anything new race day!
  • Not putting sunscreen on my forearms for an Ironman - I got 2nd degree burns and blisters.
Some common mistakes that people make are:
  • Not racking your bike in an easy gear.
  • Not practicing your nutrition and hydration during training.
  • Not swimming in open water enough before the race
  • Using something new race day - NOTHING NEW RACE DAY!
  • Not using sunscreen - everywhere especially lower back!
  • Not having a flat repair kit and if you do have one make sure you know how to use it.
  • Not hydrating enough leading up to a race or during a race.
  • Drafting, proper mounting and dismounting before the line and proper positioning on the bike.
  • Not eating enough breakfast.
  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Not removing your helmet in transition and going on to the run course with your bike helmet - yes I have seen this done before.
  • Going to hard on the bike not leaving anything for the run.
  • Starting your run too fast.
  • Not warming up for the swim. Not getting in the water before the swim or getting used to the water especially when the water is cold.
  • When you rack your bike make sure you check for landmarks so when you come out of the water you know where it is.  When you come out of the water you will be confused and being able to quickly find your bike may be difficult unless you can find a way to remember where it is.  I use a landmark like a tree or light pole or sometimes a bright color towel to put next to my bike. 
  • Getting confused about which way is the run/bike - in/out. Before the race make sure you identify which way you bike out and run out.  It can be confusing during the race so knowing beforehand can be helpful to you during your quick transitions.
  • Not knowing the race course or not attending any pre-race meetings.
  • Accepting outside help this can cost you a DQ.
  • Littering - this can cost you a time penalty.


Here I am in one of my early races.  This was probably my second or third triathlon.  I am sure I did something wrong during this race!  

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