I believe Mr. Krabs said it best. It’s that time of year. Already. How is it March in two days? Race season is upon us. And that smeary smell that smells, smelly? That’s the start line. And maybe your old gear. That being said, don’t be the athlete who shows up to your first race of the season only to put on your racing flats and discover one of your little piggies is sticking out the side (and if you do have shoes that ave reached their peak milage, shoot us a message about how to donate them at SneakerSavior). Check your gear before you wreck your year.
- Wetsuit been sitting in the closet or under your bed the last couple months? Make sure you recharge it before you slide into it race morning. It’s a quick process: Recharge Your Wetsuit.
- Write down what you need race morning as a check list. Then pack it. Then walk through T1 and T2, taking note of what you need and don’t. You don’t want to be the person in transition hefting around a steam truck of gear nor the one begging for a spare set of goggles. Make sure you have a good goggle defogger too.
- On the same note, PRACTICE TRANSITIONS! I’ve been this [YouTube] guy. I’ve been this guy AT THIS EXACT RACE!! DO NOT BE ME! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fok38BMc9Pw If you don’t do flying mounts/dismounts, then don’t try on race day. Practice, then transition should basically be you on autopilot.
- Give your bike some much needed TLC. Unless you know what you’re doing, because the line between bike and jet is starting to get blurry, go see the mechanic at your LBS. With all the sweat and sports nutrition products we drip over our rigs, they get pretty grimy. Shifting gets chunky. Wheels begin to resemble strands of DNA. Tires go bald. Take it to the shop for a tune-up. And just take care of your bike in general. Also…dont be the guy who drops into the shop the Thursday before a big race and expect a full overhaul then and there. aim for 10-12 days out. And tip; beer (of the craft variety) and coffee (of the REAL kind, not Starbucks) are A-OK ways to show thanks.
- Simulate a race in training. Make a day where it’s swim-transition-bike-transition-run, even if it’s at 75% and very very short. There’s a lot of changes that happen going from one position to the next. Bike-Run bricks are important, but come race day if you haven’t taken into account that extra time, and caloric deficit, you spend in the water, you’ll have one more thing to worry about on course. In addition, you can test yourself at a training camp, like these!
- Speaking of the race sim…practice your nutrition in training. Once you’re about 14 days out, it’s too late to teach your gut a new trick.
- Go over the race in your mind, and put it on paper. Some people go through the race breaking it down mile by mile, others by leg, so find what works for you. It’s also a great way to lower pre-race nerves. That includes looking at the race and deciding what equipment you’ll use to match the course/conditions. And if you have a question or need some guidance about your event, talk to a coach. I happen to know a good group of coaches with a very large experience base from both sides of the sport.
- Warn…or at least bring up…that you may get out-of-sorts the closer it gets to race day, and afterwards. Don’t take out your freaking out on those that love you. I’ve been that guy too. It’s embarrassing. No one wants to be a triathlon widow.
- Remember that you chose to do this. Not to take yourself too seriously. And to have fun.
- Do a Challenge race!!!! Why wouldn’t you? They’re everywhere. And they’re awesome. And I can get you 10% off if you ask nicely.
Are you ready?