Race better without training more!

Race Day Tips, October 13, 2022

You can train very well for an event, but not have a hreat race day. Don't leave things to chance and ensure that you get the most out of you, but getting the little things right.

We can get a lot more out of ourselves on Race Day without changing our training, style of eating, or lifestyle. We just need to be prepared.  

Of course maybe your enjoyment or performance level could be enhanced by adjusting some of the things mentioned above. However, today I want you to think about what you can do in the last 24 hours to get the most out of you on race day. It doesn't matter if you are preparing for a running, cycling, triathlon, or multisport event these tips can help you.

On Saturday 8th October 2022 I raced the Brocken Marathon. It is a loop course that takes in over 1000 vertical meters of climbing and of course has the same amount of descent. I prepared for the undulations, estimated what I could run on the course and ran my own race, which meant I ran from the end of the first kilometer until the end by myself.

I ran very well, but I didn’t run great. Most importantly I didn’t blow up. However, I didn’t get everything out of myself and use the fitness I had built up over the course of the last few months.

Some of these tips are not going to help you on every race, but it doesn’t not hurt to use them as reference points to ensure you maximise your effort.

My first tip is to use data. It should be possible to find any course of strava and if not you can map it out there. I managed to find a gpx from the course and just import it. What I didn’t do was inspect it.  How fast is it possible to run up the long climb? What pace can I hold through the undulations?  

You can learn a lot of how other people have run the course, and if it is not possible to see how the whole course is paced you should be able to see how sections (segments) are done. Not everyone is on Strava, but there should still be enough information to give you an idea of what sections are fast, technical, hard, slow, or steady. You can compare how athletes have done those sections in relation to their entire race, and their ability. 

Talking about ability. Know yours. Do not over or underestimate it. You should have done a few tests or races in buildup to know how fit and fast you are. This is not going to change in the next few hours!  

Do not suddenly change your goals and go out harder than you planned pace, heart rate, or power.

Having this information should give you security to know what pace you can go out and hold.

The other thing that should give security is looking back at your buildup. If the work has been done, and when your coach has written a good plan you will be prepared to perform over the distance. Respect the distance and the course, but do not be afraid of it.

Once you have this information you are ready to start.

You have a few things to do before you start though. I always find it easier to work back from the start time to ensure you get to the start online.

In what order you do things you should not forget the following:
Get to the startline 5-15 minutes before the start depending on the size of the race.
Go to the toilet at the venue.
Have your last drink and gel.
Get into your race gear.
Get to the start venue.
Go to the toilet (maybe a few times) before leaving the hotel, or your house.
Have breakfast and a good drink around 3 hours before the start.

Before getting to the start there is always the night before. Some things that can affect your form on the day and cause problems, but we can also do our best to avoid them.

They are sleep, dinner, and hydration. The last sleep is not that important, but you should still try not to get to bed too late. This should also apply to eating and drinking. The other precaution that applies to eating and drinking is avoiding experiments and keeping the meal simple.

You do not want to drink too much or just water, as it will largely go straight through you. You can use a low calorie electrolyte instead.

If you can cover these things in the lead up to the start you will be on the right path to using your fitness, having good feelings and form on the say, and getting the most out of yourself.