It's RACE WEEK! This is a SUPER EXCITING time for a triathlete! You've done the work and now it's very close to game day. Having done a lot of these events over the years, here are my top 9 best tips to help you get to the starting line well rested, confident, and ready for a great race!
1. Remember- you have put in the time! The hard part is over. Don't second guess yourself. There isn't much you can do in just one week to get stronger or faster. It is what it is at this point, so decide right now that you will work with what you have! Doing sprints and hill repeats this week is only going to make your legs tired and have a negative effect on your race. Instead, focus on REST and letting your body recover for the big day.
2. Reduce stress. Get a massage. Read a good book. Take a hot bath while listening to a positive affirmations podcast. Fill your head with good stuff. Foam roll, stretch, and do yoga in a quiet room with relaxing music. SLEEP 8-9 hours a night if you can!
3. Read your Athlete Guide from cover to cover. Make sure you know the ins and outs of the race including where you are supposed to be and when. Read the fine print and know the USA Triathlon rules and regulations. Know which stuff goes in what bag, swim practice times, athlete briefing times, etc. Staying in the know reduces your stress on race day too.
4. Practice your transitions. Actually set up all your gear along with bike, running shoes etc. You can always go to a basketball court or tennis court and practice flying bike mount, dismounting at a line, etc. Take a photo of your gear so you have something to go by on race day. This will prevent you from forgetting anything.
5. Review your race day checklist. Be sure you have everything you need such as nutrition, hydration, sunscreen, timing chip, race belt, etc. USA Triathlon publishes a race day checklist and usually you will find this in your athlete guide as well. Don't forget to check the weather for race day! This will definitely influence what you bring in your gear bag.
6. Take your bike in for a tune up and bike check. This is a REALLY good idea because you want your bike in great working order with no surprises on race day. Be sure you have CO2 cartridges, tubes, etc in the event of a flat tire.
7. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Be sure to be drinking half your body weight in fluids this week. The color of your urine is always a reliable test to see if you are hydrated enough. This is very important especially if the weather is hot!
8. Eat normally and nothing too spicy or fibrous. The last few days before the race you will want to cut out fruits, salads and anything that is loaded with fiber. Keep it simple. Now is not the time to go try that new Thai restaurant that just opened. You will want to carb load the 2 days before your race.
9. Go to SWIM PRACTICE if the event offers one. This is a great way to build your confidence in the water, learn the course, and get a feel for the current and where the buoys are placed. This will make swim start on race day much less stressful. Trust me on this one.