How to prepare for your perfect race!

You have completed all the hard training, are fit and ready for the big day. However, you can so easily mess it up if you are unprepared. There are many lists on the web to help you make sure you have all the gear, and tips to help, and the importance of familiarising yourself with the course, transition and race day programmes, so I will not regurgitate. Instead, I have raised a few pointers to think about, that could just give you that extra edge come race day!
Decrease training volume by around 30% , but keep sharp with short sharp strides in your shorter runs and some race pace lifts when biking. You should be feeling fresh and ready….resist the temptation to stay out!
Maintain carb intake, do not increase until a few days before. Remember that you have decreased your training load, so this will make up for the difference. A few days prior to race increase carb to 8g per kilo weight (as opposed to 5g), thereby ensuring you have plenty stored in your muscles and liver (this is not so important for very short races). Use fluids and simple sugars to reduce GI stress and limit high fibre, salad vegies etc, they won’t help the day before a race. It’s about the only time unrefined carbs are given the thumbs up!! ….. (Don’t forget the benefits of beetroot juice, 2-3 days prior to the race!)
Keep well hydrated. Where ever you go, carry a water bottle with you and add some electrolyte to the water. I use High 5, half a tablet in my water, keeps me nicely hydrated
In the morning of the race fuel the liver 1-3hours before the race. Take your own food, do not try anything new at this stage…..Have a plan and stick to it!
I now want to stress the importance of positive mindful preparation. In the week leading up to the race take time to quietly visualise the race, from getting up in the morning, to refuelling after the race. Include absolutely EVERYTHING you need to do! And if you know there is an aspect of the race that particularly worries you, such as a mass open water start, you need to mentally prepare for it and have very clear strategies in your mind of how you will deal with it. Negative thoughts, and panic are not constructive. Positive thoughts, and mental planning are as important as the physical training, and should not be left to the night before, or forgotten!. Visualise yourself finishing the race strong, with a big smile on your face, and achieving those goals you set months back!

Fran Bungay. Triathlon Coach and Athlete, Sponsored by planet X

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