Triathlon can be a complicated sport. Preparation is the key to success and keeping stress levels down, so set yourself up to be successful prior to the race by planning thoroughly to reduce race day disasters. It all starts way ahead of race day ….
I recommend a taper that has plenty of workouts (frequency) and intensity but minimal volume. This allows the athlete to maintain maximal fitness but easily recover from the preceding training load and complete the regeneration process. This should mean that you are alert and feel alive on race day rather than sluggish. As a general guide, I recommend a 1-week taper to Sprint & Olympic Distance, a 10 day to 2 week taper to 70.3 and a 2-3 week taper to Ironman.
One Week to go:
- Saturday is the final race prep session. Keep it short but do it at full race intensity and practice transitions
- Get your bike tuned. Check the tires aren’t worn or torn and make sure your gears work properly
- Put your race wheels on if you use different wheels to race on
- Make a list of everything you will need for race day
- Check all equipment and lay it out the weekend prior to the event. Be sure you have EVERYTHING you need now
- Reduce training volume but not training frequency. (i.e., train as often as usual but training sessions should short).
- Drive to the race venue and drive the course. Get familiar so you can create mental pictures so you can visualize success
Four days to go:
- Drink a weak carbohydrate & electrolyte solution as well as water: 3% solution: that is 20 grams Carbohydrate in 750 ml water + sodium/ potassium/ magnesium/ calcium. You can drink 3-5 bottles of this weak solution per day
- Do not change your diet at all. Keep it simple.
- Consider phos loading to help buffer lactate
- Light training 4 days out and no training 2 days out, for example…
Wed: Moderate training
Thurs: Light training
Sat: Race prep workouts
The Day Before
- Spin 20-30 minutes on your bike to check it is 100% ready and include a few 10 second pickups to race pace effort
- Run 10-15 minutes and include a few “strides” for just 10-15 seconds near race pace
- Foam roll, stretch and mobility exercises
- Continue to drink a weak carbohydrate & electrolyte solution
- Pre-register as early as possible
- Check out the race venue – walk transition if set-up
- Pack all bags and make sure you are ready for the morning – mix drinks needed so they are ready / pin ##’s on clothes
- Dinner no later than 7pm and easily digestible
- Take 10 minutes to sit quietly and visualise your race going well
- Relax and sleep as best you can