Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday: Race Day Tips & Tricks

Today I'm linking back up with Courtney at The Tri Girl Chronicles, Phaedra at Blisters and Black Toenails and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?!for Tri Talk Tuesday. This week's topic: Race Day Tips & Tricks

Pre-Race - Quelling the jitters

Race day can be super stressful. Depending on the race, your morning-of jitters can be anywhere from 'eh' to 'AHH!'. Pre-race jitters are normal, and they're good in many ways. It's what gets you amped up and ready to compete. But if you're stressing so much that you aren't enjoying the race, well, that's just miserable. Here are some tried and true ways I have reduced my anxiety pre-race

1. Set that Alarm EARLY

Not a Great Example b/c this race started @ 11:00 a.m.

I know, this one sucks. Most triathlons start at zero-dark-thirty as is, and getting up early isn't everyone's strong suit. If you're one of those people who can wake up and roll out the door (i.e. Hubz, hate him) then just ignore this one. But if you're like me, my brain and body take forever to warm up and get going in the morning. I have to be awake at least 30 minutes before I can be trusted to actually do anything. I set the alarm about 2 hours before my planned departure time. This isn't just so that I can mentally get woken up - it's so I can eat! I like to take care of business (if you get my meaning) before I leave the house so as to avoid leaving the uncomfortable bathroom business to the nasty start line port-a-potties. At Muncie I woke up at like 4 a.m. and just laid in bed watching Netflix while I drank my gatorade and chowed down my bagel. It wasn't rocket since. But it DID give me an opportunity to actually be awake by the time we left. It also leaves you with plenty of time to make sure you have all of the odds and ends so you're ready to leave on time....

2. Plan Out a Schedule

I may be too type A for some people, but hey, it works for me! I HATE being rushed in the morning. Hate.It. Hubz likes to roll out of bed, get in the car, show up 2 seconds before the gun goes off and do his thing. This makes my skin itch and belly ache just thinking about it. The day  before a race - while  I'm packing my Transition bag and going through my gear - I plot out a schedule for race morning. This requires knowing a lot of things: what time does transition close? Is there a pre-race meeting? Is it Mandatory? How far away will we have to park? Figure out these variables, then work backwards:

2015 Race the Bridge Olympic
8:15 a.m. Race Start
7:50 Meet mom & Dad outside of transition
7:45 Transition Closes
7:00 Hubz drops me off @ Eva Bandman Park
6:50 Leave for Eva Bandman Park
5:00 Wake up for race day! Drink 2 bottles - 1 H2O, 1 Gatorade. Eat Bagel. Mix iced coffee

Now you've got a schedule, just reverse the order and voila!. It takes all of the guess work out of race morning and you really don't even have to think about anything.

3. Tell Your Sherpa & Support Crew How They Can Help

This is one I often struggle with. Friends and Family want to be at the race to support you. Great! They want to be there before you start. Um. Hmm. After so many years of competitive swimming I'm pretty used to being on my own at the start. In fact, I prefer it that way. With so many people around I get self conscious, 'Are they having a good time?' 'Am I ignoring them?'. It sounds selfish, but I need race morning to be about me. Sound like you? Tell your crew! My mom is always looking for ways to help me at races and I had to just be blunt with her: You can help me out on the course by cheering for me, smiling at me, and giving me positive feedback. Right now, I need to be in the zone. She totally gets it. Before we discussed that...it was awkward! Be kind, be thankful and be appreciative, but be honest.

4. Set a playlist

I always have a pre-race pump up playlist. We usually listen to it in the car on the way to the race. Sometimes I'll just put my earbuds in while I"m setting up in transition. It helps me get focused and get my mind right before the race.

Post-Race Tips & Tricks

1. Pack Post-Race Clothes

Seems like a no-brainer, but add this to your transition to-pack list. I always pack a comfy dark colored shirt (because no one needs to see your boob sweat at brunch), flip flops, and some shower wipes. Nathan makes a great body wipe that I keep in my bag, but baby wipes will work too. Nothing feels better than getting that salt and sweat off of your face. Also - flip flops! Make sure you pack a comfy pair for your worn out feet. For longer races or if we're traveling far I pack my compression socks. Whatever it takes to be comfy!

2. Plan What You're Going to Eat

It's important to eat for recovery after a race. Also, FOOD. Some races I'm not that interested in food but some, whew boy, give me a buffet. Especially if you're out of town figure out where you're going to fuel after the race. I like having that already planned out (and often have a reservation in place) so that I'm not plagued with "where do you want to eat?" by my support crew immediately after the race. People, I just did a sprint/olympic/10k/13.1 - I don't want to decide things!!

3. Move around throughout the day

It can be tempting after an especially hard race to go home and become one with the sofa. Don't let it happen! Get up every so often and walk around. Stretch! Also keep drinking fluids (I think beer does count, in moderation) to help get the lactic acid flushed out. The more you move around post-race the easier it will be to move around the next day. Trust me on this one. 

Above all - enjoy every moment! Take every opportunity before and after the race to realize that you're doing something FUN! Whenever you start getting anxious just remember: plenty of people will never get the chance to do these things. Enjoy every minute. Be thankful

Happy Running!

What did I miss?!
Waking up early - hate it or love it? 


  1. Great list of tips! I like the post race tips that you are included as well. The only time I like to get up early is on race day!!

  2. I totally do the work backwards thing from race start. And then usually add another 30 minute buffer to my alarm setting.

  3. Great list! I used to try to wake up at the last possible minute but I learned so much in the past year about how I need TIME before racing out the door to a race!