A Checklist for Your Fall Race Routine

By Joe Turcotte | Sept. 08, 2009, 2:42 p.m. (ET)

 Race Routines by Alan Ley

The single and often not thought about factor that hurt the performances of Olympic athletes is - 'breaking out of their normal routine'.  This is also true for most athletes of any age in any type of competition from beginners to veteran racers.

Pre- race routine

One week prior to the event:  Do this a week before the race - NOT the day before!

  • Any time you can spend on the actual race course is good.
    • Can you swim at the same time the race starts to check the sun, waves, and water conditions?
  • Get your bike checked.
    • Replace worn tires and old tubes. Nothing worse than training for a year and having a flat tire or mechanical failure during the race. If it looks bad - replace it.
  • Swim with a swim cap
    • If your goggle strap is worn or old get new goggles. With the race morning excitement many athletes break their goggle straps right before the race start.
    • Take two pairs of goggles to the race.
  • Prepare your race clothing.
    • Zippers work? Suit torn or stretched. Loose suits = slow swim times!
    • Shoe strings or elastic laces okay?
    • Visor or hat necessary?
    • Take comfortable clothes for after the race and a drink and snack.
  • Visualize the race and how good you will feel Go over the race events in as much detail as possible - race morning, equipment, self motivation talk, - 'your speed is only limited by your mind!' Race day words - smooth, light, relax, breathe, dance, push, I love this stuff, drive on, dig deeper, faster, form, I will do this!

Two days before the race

  • Sleep well - This is the MOST important night to sleep.
  • Limit your walking. Stay off your feet!
  • No physical games or play.
  • Youth 7-14 should work out some especially if they are experienced racers and have been training well. Swim 10 -20 minutes. Bike 15-30 minutes and run 8-20 minutes all with short quick accelerations and lots of recovery.
  • Adults usually use this as a rest day with very little working out.
  • Eat the foods that you normally do. DO NOT eat more than normal because you are training less so the normal amount of food is about right.
  • Revisit the race course, especially the finish line and the last section of the bike and run course.
  • Repeat - Visualize the race and how good you will feel Go over the race events in as much detail as possible - race morning, equipment, self motivation talk, - 'your speed is only limited by your mind!' Race day words - smooth, light, relax, breathe, dance, push, I love this stuff, drive on, dig deeper, faster, form, I will do this!

 Day before the race

  • Don't overeat
  • Complete a short equipment check, Bike, shoes, goggles, helmet warm up clothes.
  • Pack a bag with your race essentials - race/tri suit, water bottle, gel or bar, race shoes, goggles, race numbers and towel. And another with extra safety pins, tape, magic marker, water bottle warm up clothes, snack, drink, clothes for after the race.
  • Pump up your bike tires in the evening and then don't touch them until after the race.
  • Youth 7-14 should play easy and have fun today but no workouts. I don't have any scientific research on this but it seems like adults need to rest two days before the race and youth the day before.
  • Note: It is ALWAYS better to be over rested than over trained!
  • Put all your equipment in the car tonight, to be ready to go in the morning.
  • Visualize the race and how good you will feel Go over the race events in as much detail as possible - race morning, equipment, self motivation talk, - 'your speed is only limited by your mind!' Race day words - smooth, light, relax, breathe, dance, push, I love this stuff, drive on, dig deeper, faster, form I will do this!
  • Go to bed at a reasonable time and think about - YOU the TRIATHLETE are a very special person. Tomorrow is filled with possibilities and you will make your preparation and training pay off. There are NO limits on race day - only possibilities!

 

Race day

  • Eat breakfast like you normally do. Nothing new. Be sure to eat at least 90 minutes before your race starts.
  • Try to go to the bathroom early.
  • Dress warm. Race mornings always seem cooler than normal.
  • Arrive at the race site early and stay focused.
  • Don't adjust your bike or put air in the tires. This should have been done last night.
  • Check in, body marked and chip?
  • Place numbers on bike and helmet.
  • Set up transition area. Shoes, towel, helmet and race number.
    • The less the better in the transition area.
    • Use a bright colored towel to mark your sport.
    • Put your bike in the right gear for the start.
    • Right pedal level and forward.
    • Final bike check - brakes, tires.
    • Front wheel out.
    • Helmet, race number and shoes positioned.
  • Place your timing chip on your left ankle.
  • Walk/jog from the swim exit to your bike. Look at the markings and remember your way.
  • Familiarize yourself with the swim to bike, the bike in and the run out.
    • Pay attention to these details. Minutes can be saved in the transition area.
  • Stay focused. Stick to yourself and your race plan.
  • Don't let anyone take your energy away!
  • Warm up for the swim. Swim about 5 minutes and complete 3 hard 20 second efforts so you are breathing hard. If the water is too cold or you can't get in and swim then use stretch cords or get your body moving for about 5 minutes, especially your arms.
  • Now all that's left to do is to - DO YOUR BEST EFFORT TODAY......!!!