The moment we have been waiting for so long through lockdown is finally here! After long time training hard, doing online S&C sessions, meeting in groups of 2, isolating and wind trainers, we are back doing what we love most. Triathlon racing!
The objective of this blog is to give you a small welcome back to the races and a reminder to you of your mental game when racing.
First of all, there is a small note we need to clear up first, and that is the philosophy that moves us into the races. Racing goes beyond a finishers position or a personal best. Every single triathlon we enter is a celebration of life and all the different challenges and obstacles we have surpassed to make it to the start line. Regardless of winning your race, or just surviving the experience, we celebrate the fact that we are all racing with the Triathlon community.
This blog will invite you to consider a few things before getting to the event and what to expect if this is your first race ever, or your first race after a long time in lockdown.
First of all, you need to keep a checklist of everything you need to bring to race day. Be sure to double check, you don’t want to be that person who forgets their bike on race day.
- Wetsuit, tri suit or other suitable race attire
- Watch & Heart Rate Strap
- Goggles (tinted and normal)
- A Towel that is familiar and stands out
- Paw Paw cream for the neck to avoid chaffing
- Baby oil for easy removal of the wetsuit
- Bike shoes
- Socks (optional)
- Water bottle
- Tool Bag with spare tube, CO2 cannisters, levers, multi-tool
- Runners. Preferably 2 pairs. Your race pair to leave in transition, and another pair to warm up in.
- Race belt
- Jacket for warming up and cooling down in
- Nutrition or money for post-race snacks
Now that you can relax knowing you have all the equipment you need, we can discuss a few emotional and psychological tips that will help you get the best out of every leg of the triathlon.
If this is your first open water swim in a long time, you might want to try acclimatising yourself with the cold water. Try walking in and out the water a few times before the race, let your body get used to the temperature and be prepared to go at the starters gun. Practice breathing exercises, this will be useful for you to feel comfortable when you get in the water. The most important part is that, despite the adrenaline and the confusion at the start of the swim, you can enjoy with calmness and confidence. The ocean often proves to be unpredictable and strong. Be sure to warm up a little by swimming a few hundred metres before the race. Especially if we are talking about a hard and fast Sprint distance swim.
Then, be sure to enjoy the swim.
The bike leg is the longest of the disciplines by distance and time. It is the leg where we need to maintain extra focus on our nutrition and hydration schedule, especially as we step up to longer race distances. On the bike the most important aspect is to keep the focus on yourself and self-awareness of your body, knowing where your heart rate is and the intensity at which you are racing. Learning to understand your body in pain is crucial to understand when to push a bit more and when to pull back and save some energy.
The bike leg will be efficient and fast as long as you learn to become aware of the different signals your body gives you when pushing. When pushing hard on the bike, always remember that you still have a run to go!
If you want to take your training and racing to the next level, you can delve into the world of training and racing using Power, threshold heart rate or threshold pace. You can ask your coach about that when the time comes.
The final leg of the triathlon, and the moment you will know how well you have followed your race strategy. Most coaches will give you tips on how to run this part of the race, so be sure to hear their voice in your head at this stage of the race. In terms of your mental game, the objective should be to have as much fun as possible. If your definition of fun is to run at 3 min per km and attempting to break a record, then go for it. On the other hand, if your idea of fun race is to simply cross that finish line, then that’s equally fantastic.
Finally, these tips are here to help you get the best out of your race day. It is important to note that some elements can change depending on which discipline you feel most comfortable with. The last tip we can share with you is to be as prepared as possible.
- Use a checklist to make sure you have everything
- Pack everything the night before the race
- Have your bike serviced regularly
- Know where you are allowed to park if driving to the race
- Leave plenty of time to get from your car the race venue
- Know your race day strategy
- Ask your coach all your questions before race day
- Have fun