You followed the plan. You are fit. Race week is here.
Now you have to survive the days leading up to the race!
Race week (the week leading up to your ‘big race’ is often full of tension, anxiety, restlessness, doubt, excitement, nervousness, and anticipation. These positive and negative feelings can deeply impact your mindset when you show up on race day.
I encourage you to allow whatever thoughts come into your head flow in and out without judgement. If it is a negative thought, acknowledge it, but let it pass. If it is a positive thought, acknowledge it, and file it away in your reserves. The overarching message to yourself is that YOU ARE READY. Rest is going to help you.
Because every athlete I’ve worked with has race-week anxiety, I compiled some thoughts about RACE WEEK!!! I have sent various iterations of this to my athletes. Below is a summary of the main points I try to convey.
The saying goes: “The hay’s in the barn.” In other words, the work is done. There is really nothing more you can do to increase your fitness, but on the flip side, there are things you can do to harm your fitness. Here are some tips for race week:
- Don’t test yourself. You have already done 2 weeks worth of workouts at or faster than race pace AND you have completed swims, bikes, and runs that are longer than the race. Trust the training. You’ll be able to do it on race day. No need to test yourself.
- Keep it mellow. Think about it this way, when you are halfway through the bike, you won’t say to yourself, “boy, I’m sure glad I hammered out a few hard workouts this week.” Other than the few workouts (which have hard efforts built in), keep it very, very easy.
- Plan ahead. Lay out all things you will possibly need for the race BEFORE you begin packing. When in doubt, pack it!!! This includes cold weather clothes, food, extra goggles, etc.
- Think positive. Go over your race plan in your head and visualize yourself being successful.
- Eat well. Don’t go crazy and eat new foods or experiment with new diet strategies. Stick with what works! Along with this, you don’t have to cram in a ton of food before the race. Just eat normally.
- Keep things normal. There are some differences this week like: less training, travelling, and staying in a hotel. So, other than the obvious differences, try to keep things as normal as possible. I’m specifically thinking of food, sleep, and your routine.
- Stay relaxed. Enjoy the week – race week is exciting! You have prepared well and now you get to anticipate the race!
- Finally, when the race finally happens, RACE WITH NO REGRETS!When the race gets tough (and it will get tough), think about how you feel the next morning. Race in such a way that the next morning when you reflect on your race, you will know that you didn’t give up. You raced hard. You raced with heart. If you know that you accomplished these things, no matter what the time on the clock says or the place you finished, you will have no regrets! And that is a victory!