1. Sleep like a baby. I always shoot for 9 hours a night the 3 or 4 nights before race night. Don't schedule anything stressful that week if at all possible. Tell your family ahead of time that sleep is important to you this week. If you are going into a time zone change, then set your alarm a little earlier for several consecutive nights and go to bed earlier to acclimate your body for race day. Doing this will make the transition much easier and you will feel refreshed. I am a huge fan of Melatonin which is an all natural sleep aid. You can get it at the health food store or the healthy section of the grocery store.
2. Have your nutrition down to a science! I took this from the USA Triathlon Coaching Clinic that I attended for certification:
Begin carb loading 2 days before the event at lunch (for Iron distance races)
2.7 X body weight in pounds [~430grams for 160 lb athlete]
Day before the event•
4.5 X body weight in pounds [~720 grams for 160 lb athlete]
Here are some examples of carbs:
pancakes syrup, jelly toast, bagels (white), pretzels, pasta, rice, PowerBar Performance bars
Avoid: butter, mayonnaise, cheese, fibrous fruits, vegetables, grains
Hopefully you have practiced your nutrition throughout your training. It's always a good idea to know what they are serving on the course as well.
Eat normally. This week is not the time to try that new Thai restaurant that just opened.
3. Do a few sprints. Although it's a taper week, you don't want to be FLAT on race day. You'll want to do a few sprints in the pool, on the bike and at the track just to keep your legs fresh and your cardiovascular strong. I always recommend doing a several SPIN UPs on the bike, short 50-100 yard strides at the track, and a several all out 25 yard swim efforts in the pool.
4. READ EVERYTHING-your athlete guide is golden. Review the course and go through your checklists. Make sure you look at all the rules for the race and logistics for getting there. You'll want to attend athlete briefings and swim practice. Know the event schedule and procedures for race morning. Take your bike to the bike shop and be sure it's tuned up and ready to go.
5. Look back on all the hours of training you've done and BE CONFIDENT! Yes you are a total freakin' badass for having done the work for this event. You are extraordinary and there are not many people like you out there who want something this awesome and are willing to DO THE WORK FOR IT! Own that!
6. Focus on what you have control over and don't worry about everything else. For me, sometimes it's who shows up on race day and if it's somebody I want to beat. All you can do is put forth your best effort and give it your all. Shit happens but don't over react. If something does go wrong, have a plan in place and stay calm. Planning equals Power. Fill your head with positive affirmations and visualizations of your race going exactly how you want it to go.