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Cliff English’s Big Race Do’s And Don’ts

  • By Triathlete.com
  • Published Apr 9, 2010
Keeping your calm in the days leading up to big races, like the Ironman World Championship, can be tough to do. Photo: Larry Rosa

Over the years at major races, world championships and Olympics, I’ve witnessed experienced athletes falter and it wasn’t as much on race day as it was in the pre-race week. Here are some pre-race rules and tips to help you on your way to racing success.

Written by: Cliff English

Do

  • Keeping your calm in the days leading up to big races, like the Ironman World Championship, can be tough to do. Photo: Larry Rosa

    Listen to good advice and take what makes sense. Remember that during race week at big races–with all the talks and clinics going on at the expo–it can be overwhelming. Be confident in your plan.

  • Stick to your pre-race taper plan but stay flexible. For example, if the pool is closed when you are supposed to do 10x 50 freestyle, then either wait until it is open or do 10x 30 to 40 strokes in the ocean or lake.
  • Study the course, transition area and train on the course, as well. If it is an IM then you will definitely want to drive the course and only run and ride selected areas of the course.
  • Be ready to deal with distractions. Use the stopwatch if necessary because a simple swim on the race course can lead to an hour at the expo and then a few more hours catching up with old friends. Next thing you know you’re hungry, tired and dehydrated.
  • Come with all your plans set: nutrition plan, race strategy and race equipment set.
  • Be prepared for crowds, mayhem and distractions. Keep a few nutritional items handy and some hand sanitizer.

Do Not

  • Train too much or get lured into racing in training, which can be very tempting. Taper training should be light with some pick-ups and if you can’t keep the ego checked at the door then train alone during race week. If it feels easy keep it that way. Don’t force the effort.
  • Don’t change all your gear just because the expo had some great new tri-suit or run shoes you hadn’t seen before. Stick with your plan. You should have already used your gear in training or in previous races so you know what to expect.
  • Don’t try all new sport nutrition. Go with what you prepared and you can try something new for the next race.
  • Don’t over think. Relax.

Until next time, stick to the plan man!

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