Race week? Here are three strategies I use to help keep me relaxed, maybe there is something here for you too!
1. Don’t stop training
Whilst it is time to start tapering, don't overdo it. You have likely been working hard and your body is used to being active. If you ease off too much you will lose some of the endurance training benefits you have worked so hard for.
I have tried many tapers. From easing out 2 weeks before and building back up in the final week, to riding 100km the day prior to the race. To be honest, I wouldn’t advise either of those, but I do race better when I remain under some training stress.
It is a good idea to stay close to your normal training intensity, but lower the amount of time spent at higher intensities. For example, my mid-week tempo work is the same pace but is half the duration it has been in previous weeks.
2. Keep yourself busy
If you have eased back your training you’ll find yourself with a significant amount of extra time, to stress or overthink your upcoming race. To ease this, I like to keep busy. This week in the lead in to Ironman Australia, I’ll have to work on the Friday and fly up in the evening. Obviously, this doesn’t leave me with a lot of time in Port Macquarie pre-race but it will keep my mind from over-thinking. If you have the option you may choose to have the Friday off work, affording you more time for travel and to get set up at your race accommodation.
Also spend your extra time going over your gear, organising meals, checking the course and getting last-minute treatments. These things will quickly fill in that spare time and help you feel more prepared for your race day.
3. Mentally prepare
This is different for everyone. For me, I like to look at who else is racing, consider what might occur in the race and have some ideas as to what I might do in that instance. For you, it might be preparing for situations like “What if I dropped my nutrition? Will I be able to get what I require on course?” or “What if I get a flat? Is my race over?” Coming up with a plan for unfavourable situations might help keep you calm and if you’re unfortunate enough to experience the worst-case scenario you’ve got it under control.
I hope these strategies help you out. For all of you racing this weekend, good luck, I’ll be out there suffering with you! Enjoy!