19 Ways to Cause Race Disaster

1) Late night dinner the night before your race: Your body will be unable to complete digesting that late meal properly, especially when pre-race nerves kick in.  You’ll end up with poor bowel function and feeling generally yuk.  Eat your last big meal at lunch the day before and top up with mini meals and snacks afterwards.

2) Overeat the night before your race:  As in #1, you need to avoid this.  Make lunch the day before your race the last big meal and graze on small snacks until you start your race.   Remember the old trick of anticipating that full up feeling.  If you feel full up already you’ve eaten too much.

3) Introduce new equipment just before the race.  If it’s new, put it to one side in the month before a race.  You never know how a piece of new equipment can affect your performance.  Stick with what you know and be a bit scientific about introducing something new.

4) Get nice shiny new shoes: Don’t! Not even if they come with matching handbags. You’ll get rubs and blisters where didn’t know it was possible to get them.  Even if it’s a new pair of a model you’re used to running in, still say no.  Stick with a tired and tested old favourite.

5) Get new equipment for race day: There’s something exciting about new equipment but it should really come with a government health warning.  DO NOT USE ON IMPORTANT DAYS AS MIGHT CAUSE SERIOUS DAMAGE.   Avoid such nasties as chaffing on race day just for the sake of looking good.  You know it makes sense.

6) Don’t up your training rate in the two weeks before a competition.  You’ll not get the benefit and upping your training rate increases the chance of stress injuries. This is not a college exam so cramming won’t work.  You should really be training at 50% of your normal program and using the free time for resting

7) Skip rest periods.  How many times do we need to be told.  It doesn’t matter how hard you work, if you don’t rest properly you’ll not see an improvement.  We all need different times because we recover at different rates. Muscles and joints need to rest in order to repair as does the immune system.  Avoid rest and you increase the risk of risk further injury.

8) Changing your nutrition regime on race day.  Introducing a new supplement on race day is tantamount to insanity.  Nutrition supplements keep you going during race day. Testing out a new nutrition protocol on race day is a hair-brained plan that can really wreak havoc with your performance.   Stick to known products where ever you can and if you can’t then mix it up as much as possible.

9) Change your diet in the weeks leading up to a race. This one’s as bad as number 8 – possible worse.  Don’t mess with your diet to shift a few extra pounds before a race it’s not worth it.  Your body needs to adjust fully to new diet and that takes time so you may not be getting all you need from your new diet in the time leading up to a big race.

10) Drink caffeine the day before the race: You can’t expect to perform well on race day without good sleep the night before.  Caffeine will seriously impair the quality of your sleep. Don’t underestimate this one, some experts are now saying that sleep is the number 1 secret to great performance so just don’t go anywhere near that latte, skinny or otherwise.

11) Over indulge on fibre in the 3 days before a race: Why not?  Think about it – do I need thje graphic details?  Suffice it to say that loo rolls and china poes are not the best of travelling companions on a modern triathlon.

12) Look after the family on race day. How nice to have them all there cheering you on but you need to focus on you.  Make sure your folks are occupied so you get left to your pre-race preparations properly.

13) Take your race on without a thought through race plan:  PPPPPP  = Prior Planning Prevents (Piss) Poor Performance.  Sorry to be blunt but there you are.  Get a plan and then work it.  Why else go to all the bother of training?

15) Skip the race nutrition planning:  Nutrition plans are not just necessary to get you through your training program they are vital for event day as well.  Have it clearly worked out and of course tested in advance.  Then you can pitch up for the race confident you’ll get the best performance you’ve been tuning up for over all those long months.

16) Know when to pump up the volume:  You know yourself and how your own body responds so pick out the right moments in your race plan to increase your work load and try to avoid being drawn into responses to other athletes increasing their workloads.  Keep an eye on the long game

17) Skip training for the swim:  It’s the one part of the race that most people screw up on. Don’t think of this is something to be suffered.  Work the swim as hard as you work the other two.  Learn how to improve your technique and your stamina and you’ll find that the swim becomes an opportunity for you to win the race rather than just hold position.

18) Get to close to others:  The swim is not the most intimate of places to be.  Keep your distance to avoid nasty injuries especially at the start.

19) Don’t look before passing on the bike: It’s as simple as the Green Cross code really.  We’ve all done it before but you need to make sure you look before you pull out in case someone else got there before you.  Be extra vigilant if your course has multiple laps over the same circuit as lead rider will regularly be passing slower ones.

Good luck!


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