Coffee & Coaching Episode 21: What Not to Do On Race Day

Episode 21

Title: What not to do on race day

Episode Length: 12 min (Can watch the episode or read the blog below)

About the Episode: 

In this episode we share 11 things not to do on race day! Having a stress free race day morning definitely goes a long way to making the whole triathlon experience a lot more enjoyable. Even if you've done a few triathlons already, you may pick up some little tips to make your next race day run even smoother

Watch the Replay 

Or if you don't have time to watch the replay, you can read our summary of what's covered below! 

1. Nothing new on race day

  • We don’t want race day to be the first time your trying anything out.
  • Consider things like clothing, equipment, swimming in your wetsuit, swimming in the open water, your pre race meal.... try all of these things in training if you can before race day so there aren't any surprises

2. Don't leave anything to the last minute... pack & prepare in advance

  • Remember - Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance! 

  • One of the fastest ways to a STRESSFUL race day morning is to have forgotten a piece of equipment.
  • We recommend doing a flat-lay the day before the race. That means getting every single piece of equipment you need and lying it all on the floor in front of you. Then walk through the race in your head and tick off each piece of equipment in front of you
  • Make sure you think through the whole morning - not just the race itself. E.g. if it’s likely to be a cool morning make sure you’ve got enough layers to keep you warm before the start of the race.

3. Don't have a rushed morning

  • In addition to packing your equipment, you also need to plan and prepare your race day morning.
  • leaving yourself enough time to drive, park and then make your way to the venue. Remember to allow extra time that you would on a normal day - there will be hundreds if not thousands of other competitors driving to the same spot and fighting for car parks
  • Some events let you pick up your race pack the day before - this generally includes stickers for your bike and helmet, wristband, timing chip etc.
  • Most races will have a schedule available, where you can see what time transition opens and closes. This will help you plan your morning and make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to register and then set up your transition. 

4. Don't take up heaps of space in transition

  • You have a very small amount of space so it’s very important to be clean in transition & organised
  • Be considerate to those around you and don’t take up too much space.
  • If you leave your stuff spread out everywhere people around you will have to move it, and you may then struggle to find stuff in the race when you need it. 

5. Don't leave transition without knowing how to find your bike

  • Our #1 piece of advice for locating your bike in transition is to find a Landmark. 
  • Take note of the number allocated to the row your bike is on, and then find a landmark that lines up with how far down the row your bike is positioned. 
  • E.g. Row 6, in line with the Phyiohealth tent
  • Then when you run into transition after the swim, when you're all full of water and disoriented from moving from horizontal to vertical, all you have to think about is those two things. 

6. Don't skip a warm up

  • Try to complete a short 5-10 min jog followed by some dry land exercises to get all your muscles switched on and ready to go
  • Once you're in your wetsuit, get in the water for a warm up swim.  It will help you get used to the temperature and gives you a chance to get some strokes in, in your wetsuit. It means when you run into the water on race start you won’t be shocked with the temperature.
  • Make sure you don’t just get in and stand there! Get your head under and get some strokes done.

7. Don't go out too hard, have a plan

  • Probably the most common place people go out too hard is the first bit of the run, As you exit transition it can be very tempting to sprint out of there. There’s often a big crowd there and you can get caught up in the moment.
  • The potential downside of going out too hard is that you’re not able to sustain the effort and you suffer in the later stages of the race.  
  • A good way to avoid making that mistake is by having a race plan.
  • A good race plan breaks down each section of the race and allows you to set out your specific goals, so that overall you race the way you need to, to achieve success
  • For example, if you want to run 25mins for the 5km run leg in your next race. You decide you want to try to hold 5min km pace consistently, and then pick things up in the last 1km if you can. That holds you accountable to sticking to the 5min/km pace. If you look down at your watch a few hundred meters into the run and you’re sitting at 4:30 you know you need to slow down or you may completely blow up 2kms into the run leg and end up running a lot slower overall.

8. Don't draft on the bike  

  • drafting in the bike leg of a triathlon is against the rules.
  • Drafting basically means riding in close proximity to someone and gaining an advantage. You save about 30% energy when you're drafting
  • For Sprint and Olympic Distance events the bike draft zone is generally 7 meters - that means you cannot get any closer to the rider in front of you than 7 meters, unless you’re going to overtake them. If you do choose to overtake, you have 15 seconds to do so.
  • The important thing is to ensure that you’re not intentionally drafting. If you’re sitting directly off the wheel of someone, or you’ve been coasting along behind the same person for an extended period of time you’re likely to get penalised.

9. Don't ignore the aid stations

  • Every distance of triathlon will have aid stations on the run leg. They’ll always have water, some will also have an electrolyte like Gatorade or endura.
  • If you’re struggling a bit on the run, a great strategy to use is to actually walk the aid stations
  • Particularly if you’re racing in hot conditions, the aid stations can make a big difference.
  • Even if you don't need a drink, grabbing some water to pour over your head can really help when racing in hot conditions

10. Don't compare yourself to others

  • One of our favourite quotes is "don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20"
  • Especially if this is your first tri or you're relatively new to the sport, make sure you enjoy it!
  • Yes it’s technically a race, but for so many people triathlon is about racing themselves.
  • I promise you will go faster if you enjoy yourself and you’re able to stay in a positive mindset. The speed will come with time, just do the best you can on the day.

11. Don't give up!

  • If the going gets tough, if you’re having a bad race don’t give up! You learn more from the tough days than you do the good ones
  • A triathlon is definitely a really tough challenge, and there’s not doubt that even on your best day, you’ll experience a patch in the race where you don’t feel good, or you want to stop.
  • In those moments I like to have some mantras or self-talk phrases up my sleeve that give you something to focus on and inspire you to keep pushing. 

Keep these tips in mind when you head into your next race! 


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