Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preparing for your race season

My second triathlon ever!  I think I went the
wrong way on the bike at this race
It's that time of year when the first triathlon of the season is ONLY a few weeks away.  By now you should have your events for the year planned out.  If not the entire year you should have the first half of the year planned out.  During the winter many people choose to ride indoors avoiding the colder weather and it's also very unlikely you have been in the open water.  As the weather starts to get nice and the daylight longer you should be outside on your bike.  The indoor trainer is great during the winter months but there is nothing like having experience on the road.  This is especially true for newer cyclist who lack the bike handling skills of the more experienced rider.  I would suggest a minimum of 2 bikes a week be outdoors when the weather is nice.  It is great experience to ride in all types of weather too so don't shy away from riding outside on windy days as long as its not unsafe.  You never know what you will experience race day.  I rarely ride outside if its gloomy or there is a chance of rain and this hurt me on a few races that I did when it was raining.  I didn't have confidence on the bike in the race and it was because of my lack of experience riding in the rain.

I didn't expect to
cramp in the swim at
Ironman St. George 
Be prepared for open water 
There are many people who are great swimmers in the pool but then they get to the open water and have a tough time.   It is essential to get experience in the open water before your season begins.  Its important to practice sighting and learning to swim in a straight line.  It is also important to swim in your wetsuit and just in general get used to being in open water.  You will see lots of stuff in the water and don't want to get freaked out race day.  The more you are in open water the more comfortable you will be.  If you don't do this before race day your likely to have a meltdown and start off your race very bad.

In all your workouts you should be practicing your race nutrition.  You should be practicing now what you eat before workouts, and during workouts.  This is important for all distances of races.  People sometimes think the shorter distance races this doesn't matter as much but you don't want to try things out race day. You should know what nutrition will work for you before race day.  Don't ever try anything on race day that you have not used in training.

Training for a hilly race you should be riding
lots of hills!
Use your equipment during your training workouts.  Don't just have RACE shoes, or RACE kits or RACE googles.  You can use these during your race but you should have used them quite a bit in training too.  If you just have googles you use for a race then what if they have sat in a bag for the entire off season not being used and maybe you go to race in them and the strap suddenly breaks.  Trust me that has happened before so anything you use for a race should be something you're using in training.

At this race we had lots of wind which
wasn't expected
Be prepared for the unexpected and be open to adjusting your plan and goals during the race.  It is likely something will happen during the race that has not happened in training.  Your chain may fall off, you may get a flat tire, you may have an anxiety attack, or you may lose your water bottle off your bike.  These things happen and they all can be overcome if you don't freak out and lose it.  Stay calm and work through the problem.  The times I have had mechanical problems on the bike I decided to focus on having a really great run.  That way I could take something good from the race.
Always make your transition area look nice and match!

Whatever happens just make sure you don't forget that this is just for fun and everything will work out and you can only do the best that you can.  Many people could never even imagine doing what you are planning on doing so you are already ahead of so many other people.  Enjoy your race season and don't forget to have fun.

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