Race Week Do's and Don'ts

Here are a few tips from our Sport Science team to help you prepare for your race day (if you are fortunate enough to have one coming up soon).

Congratulations, you’ve made it to race week! At this stage of your preparation there are very few things (if any) that you can do that will actually make you faster on race day, but there are many things that you could do that might reduce your ability to race your best. Below is a series of ideas to help you make any tweaks/adjustments to your plan in order to leave you with the best opportunity to have a great performance at your event.

  1. When in doubt, less is more. While your training schedule may have some recommended sessions, if you’re not feeling well rested then consider skipping a couple of sessions early in the week to ensure that you’re feeling fresh and raring to go by the weekend.

  2. Roll with the punches, life happens. If you’re traveling to your event many things can occur that might interfere with your schedule. Control what you can, and manage the rest of things. Focus on the things that are within your control and adapt your plan as necessary.

  3. Manage & reduce life stressors as much as is reasonable. Of course no one can predict the future, but try to do what you can to reduce anxiety inducing events as much as possible in the lead-up to your event.

  4. Stay on top of nutrition & hydration needs, but don’t go overboard. Of course you want to start the race properly fueled and hydrated, but it is important to make some small adjustments rather than radical reworks to your typical nutrition and hydration habits.

  5. Spend some time to work on your mental preparation. Remember, you’re going to start the event with the physical fitness and ability that you’ve worked hard to build but ultimately it’s going to be a mental challenge to get the most out of yourself. Hopefully you’ve been following the Mental Training Program and can review a few key sessions during race week. Don’t try to cram in all your mental training into the days before the event.

  6. Make sure your equipment is properly maintained/prepared for the event. Nothing can be more frustrating than being held back from a great performance by an equipment failure. Replacing tires, tubes, cables, chains, etc. should be done a week or so before the event so that you don’t have any surprises during your event. Also, if you use electronic shifting be sure to charge your batteries!

  7. Nothing new on race day! This is the old coaches rule - you should not be using or trying anything new in your event that you have not used in training prior to your event.

  8. Write out your event plan & be able to adapt and adjust goals based on the situation at hand - not the ideal scenario. Since the weather can do what it’s going to do, you might need to adjust your pacing to deal with heat, humidity, wind, etc.

  9. Stay in the moment and stick to your process oriented goals. As long as you stick to your process goals, the best outcome is possible.

  10. Smile, relax, and have fun - remember…you signed up to do this! It’s okay to have fun on race day!

  11. Remember to review your performance and make notes to help yourself for the future. Review your performance the day after the event while everything is still fresh in your mind. Then be sure to review these notes early in the week or two before your next big event to make sure you learn from your experiences.