Simon de Burgh, PT, and level two triathlon coach provided us with his top seven race tips to make sure you race like a pro…
There are a few #classic mistakes that we see athletes make all too often come race day.
So, we’ve put together this little list to help you in the run-up to your next race and for race day so you don’t look like a total plum…
1. A few days before lay out your kit and check your bike.
Sounds obvious but it will ensure you have EVERYTHING you need and are confident that your steed is healthy and in full working order. Our recommendation is to lay out all your kit in separate piles for the swim, bike and run, including nutrition then tick it off your list. Then visually walk through the list putting everything on you will need for each discipline. Sounds silly but trust us, doing that will highlight things you may have forgotten.
When it comes to your bike, wash it! Check everything especially the tyres, spokes, brakes, clean and lube the chain (a dirty chain can cost you 9 extra tiring watts).
2. Eat breakfast like a pro.
“What should I eat before my race?”
We get this question all the time. Our answer is always the same - what you would normally eat before a long training session. Basically, keep it simple, don’t eat anything you normally wouldn’t. Nothing new on race day remember. I’ve seen races destroyed because that rule was broken. Just don't do it!
3. Know your route and number of laps.
It always stuns us when people say they went the wrong way. That gives you a 5-star plum status in our opinion. Ok, so we’ve all had that moment where a race official may not have been so clear on the directions. But, ultimately it is your responsibility to know where you are going.
Study the race course profile and walk each section through in your mind several times. Know the number of laps for each section. Trust us – get that last point wrong and you’ll feel confused all the way around and pace it badly. Don’t make that rookie error.
4. T1 and T2 like a pro.
A lot of athletes lose time here and they don’t need to. So, know your race number, write it on your wrist in black permanent marker pen if you have to (In the heat of racing it’s easy to forget).
As well as knowing how many racks there are to your bike after the swim, back in from the bike and entry and exit points, use NON-MOVING landmarks to guide you to your transition point. If you’re racked up close to a portaloo, tree or event flag use that as a visual to guide you in.
We highly recommend that you run the transition entry and exit points through your mind a fair few times so that you are speedy in and out.
5. Have a plan and stick to it.
Races are lost and PB’s never achieved because athletes get all excited and just go out too hard or start taking on other athletes. Don’t do that, they might be better than you, in a relay or just pacing it badly. Stick to the pace, HR and power you’ve practised in training and set yourself for the race.
But what if all my gadgets die? RPE folks! R.P.E! This is something we include in training sessions with our athletes. Yes, sometimes they train gadget free and we get them to use the RPE force like Luke Sky Walker. Some athletes hate this but it is a super valuable skill to learn.
6. Hydrate and fuel properly.
Doesn’t matter how fit you are, if your hydration is off target then you will end up going slower, that’s a scientific fact. Our advice is to drink a minimum of 750ml water and electrolytes for every hour of racing on the bike and take on fluids at each aid station in the run. There are many ways you can fuel your race. Top advice is that what you practised in training, do in racing. Again, NOTHING new on race day.
7. Interact with the crowd.
Now we are not saying stop for selfies all the way round but do smile, thank supporters (especially the volunteers!) and high-five kids on the run. It’s a small thing, but trust us it gives a massive boost of energy and it contributes to the fun of an event.