— by Alex Libin
Racing far from home is one of the coolest things about triathlon. Seeing new areas and having the race memories attached to exotic locations makes everything about them sweeter. The number one thing you can do to avoid any pitfalls is to have a good attitude. Things will probably go wrong, so approaching the race with a relaxed, positive vibe is going to be your best option. Part of achieving a relaxed vibe is making sure you’re well rested. It’s easy to be crabby when you’re tired.
It’s not always possible to get extra sleep before the race, especially if you are travelling a great distance. Because of this, you need to do your best to get on the local time zone. This may mean napping on the plane or getting to bed later than normal.
- Pro tip: I always travel with a sleep mask and earplugs. I’ve even got a white noise app on my phone to create a stable sleep environment. Recently, I’ve even started putting some scented oil onto my chest when I sleep at home; this trains my brain to relax and go to bed whenever I smell it. It helps when you’re in a new location and a new bed.
- Just relax and enjoy the experience:
Travelling for a race is like the race itself; do your best to execute the things under your control and not to fret about things that are far beyond you. Yes, it’s a bummer if your flight gets delayed and you show up at your hotel late. This isn’t the end of the world and getting your blood pressure up about it is just going to make things worse. Just relax, stay off your feet and take the opportunity to sneak in a little extra shut-eye.
- Pro tip: Have an adaptable routine. Travel and race plans almost never go as planned. Make sure you have a backup plan if your typical food isn’t available.
Alex Libin, a Certified Triathlon Coach at AJ Baucco Coaching LLC and Professional Triathlete with multiple 70.3 Ironman top-five performances.