If you’re headed to San Diego for Oceanside 70.3, race week is upon you! Doing a half-iron race in the near future? Keep this advice in mind for when the big week arrives. The key is to taper smart and remember that no matter what you do, you’re not going to gain any fitness this week. So sit back, try to relax and start getting into the racing mindset with this five-day countdown.
Day 5 (Monday for Oceanside): Keep up with your normal but scaled-back workouts. “The purpose of race week is to stay loose and to remind your body it is in race mode. So keeping workouts to under 45 minutes with only a few minutes of interval pickups on the run, bike and swim are needed,” says USAT coach Diane Stokes of FitBricks in Northboro, Mass. You won’t gain fitness, but your legs need to stay fresh. Also, do a bike check today to make sure everything’s in working order. If not, get to a bike shop pronto.
Day 4 (Tuesday for Oceanside): Go through your checklist, using a site like Triathlon.racechecklist.com to help you remember any last-minute items. Buy backups of small things such as sunscreen, bike tubes, body glide, nutrition. etc. Now is the day to start heading to bed early. “This is the night to start focusing on quality sleep, as you may be too nervous in the next few days to get optimal sleep,” says USAT coach Jessica Herschberg of FTP Coaching in Nashville, Tenn.
Day 3 (Wednesday for Oceanside): If you’re traveling today, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you’re not, hydrate anyways and focus on extra stretching and foam rolling.
Day 2 (Thursday for Oceanside) Jump in for a quick open-water swim in the San Diego area or drive, ride or run a portion of the course if you’re unfamiliar with it. Pick up your packet and leave the race site. If you’re cooking dinner at home for your pre-race meal, make sure you have all your ingredients. If you’re going out for dinner but don’t have reservations, make a plan!
Day 1 (Friday for Oceanside): Do 10–15 minutes of each sport just to get the muscles moving. Then get off your feet. “Try going to a movie to stay off your feet and to stop yourself from chasing last-minute tasks or burning nervous energy,” Stokes says. Make sure everything for your breakfast plan is ready to go for the morning. Aim for a good night’s sleep, but don’t stress if you’re having trouble sleeping—your adrenaline will wake you right up in the morning.
Race Day (Saturday for Oceanside): Eat your breakfast as according to plan and keep sipping water or a sports drink until race start. Hershberg recommends setting up your transition area thoroughly, then leaving to find a quite spot away from all the other nervous athletes. “Visualize your entire race from beginning to end, seeing yourself execute a solid performance feeling strong and confident.” she says.
GO GET ‘EM!