Tri Talk Tuesday: Developing a Race Plan

It’s Tuesday! This week on Tri Talk Tuesday, I’m linking up with Courtney, and Cynthia to talk about Race Plans! As my big races of the year are over with, I’m going to reflect back on them and talk about how I develop a race plan.

Tri-Talk-TuesdayEveryone’s race plans will look different, and quite likely, you’ll have a different plan for each race you do. Because of that, I’m not going to list out the “perfect” race plan, because that is unique to you and the race you’re doing (and your fitness level at the time). Instead, I’ll give tips for how to come up with a good race plan!

Pre-race Planning

The night before your race, lay out all the gear you need for race day. Pack your tri gear bag, put your race bib on your bib belt (or pin it on your shirt), and set your alarm (or a few 😉 ). image (14)

Time Strategy

In any race you do, you will probably have a goal time, or at least a “worst-case-scenario” time. I’ve found that instead of just having a finish goal time, it’s best to separate the race out into goal “splits”. If it’s a triathlon, I have a goal time for the swim, for the bike, and for the run. If it’s a marathon, I have goal mile times. You’re more likely to be pleased with your race if you’re able to achieve goals throughout the race. Also, if you fail on one goal (your swim goes poorly), you can accomplish your next time goal (have a good bike leg). Lastly, this will better help you pace yourself during the race–you’ll be more likely to stick to your goal paces if you have them all laid out ahead of time.

This was before my Boston-qualifying marathon in 2010. You'll notice I have written out my goal splits on my left arm. :)

This was before my Boston-qualifying marathon in 2010. You’ll notice I have written out my goal splits on my left arm and my goal time on my right arm. :)

Nutrition Plan

It’s very important to plan out your race-day nutrition WELL in advance of your race. Use your long runs (or big brick workouts) as “simulations” of race day. Practice what fuels you’ll need during these training days, and experiment with different fuels to see what works best for you. I personally have discovered (finally!) that I need to be intaking calories and electrolytes every 15 minutes. I have a calorie drink that I mix electrolytes into it and I have that every 15 minutes on both the bike and the run. Then I also have 1 gel before my swim, in T1, every 40 minutes on the bike, and every 20-30 minutes on the run. This is what works for me. The amount of calories you take in per hour will depend on how much you weigh, how long you’ll be racing, and how hard you are working.

I carry my calorie drink in my hand-held bottle for the run.

I carry my calorie drink in my hand-held bottle for the run.

Post-Race planning

If you’re competing in a large race with TONS of spectators, you’ll need to plan out with your support crew (if you have one) where you’ll meet them after the race. A lot of times, your support crew can just meet you at the finish line. Big races though don’t let spectators anywhere near the finish chute, so you’ll need to plan a meeting point ahead of time. You should also have planned (and packed) clothes for after the race. I always pack them in my tri bag. AND, whatever fuel you want to recover with. I always have my blender bottle in my tri bag filled with 1 serving of Recoverite powder. I mix that with water and have it as soon after the race as I can. medal pic

So, there’s more to planning a race than just focusing on the race itself! This is just a small glimpse of what it takes to have a good race. :) Obviously, all the planning in the world doesn’t necessarily grant you a successful race. But it can usually help!

How do you plan for your races?


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