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Jeff Symonds: How to know if you are race ready

How am I going to perform on race day? That’s a question that we as triathletes ask ourselves during training and countless times during our taper. My race day success, or lack thereof can be predicted by three simple questions I ask my self in the week leading into a race.

Am I healthy? Am I fresh? Am I fit?

The most important question is “Am I Healthy”? If you are not, race day success is zero. Nothing. You won’t even make it to the start-line, let alone to the finish line. In the weeks leading up to a race I always suggest being extra cautious about being around sick individuals, washing your hands all the time and taking a good chunk of Echinacea first thing in the morning. I will also avoid any activity that could potentially do some harm like water skiing, mountain biking or an epic dance battle (as hard as those are to pass up on).

The second is “Am I fresh“? I have found that as long as I am fresh and healthy I am going to have a good race. On the other hand, if I show up to a race not fresh it doesn’t matter how fit I am, I am going to be in for a rough day. Often it doesn’t result in just feeling physically flat, but also feeling mentally tapped out. Feeling mentally drained is by far the worst. You can’t even have the satisfaction of getting ugly and pushing through adversity. You are just tired. During hard training blocks and B races, a little tiredness is great, but I am talking about the persistent overreaching tiredness that takes more than a few rest days to cure. Generally this new level of tiredness is a result of over training or spreading yourself too thin in the weeks leading up to your A race. Yes, I realize that life gets in the way and not everyone can afford the luxury of taking time off or scaling back on work but try to keep your commitments to a minimum. But, remember that the hay is in the barn and in those last weeks of training, rest is going to be more important than added miles. Refer back to a previous article of mine about making the most out of your easy days. Trying to always play catch up on missed workouts is a nasty game that even the best of us get caught up in, but those recovery days are there for a reason so make them count without digging yourself into a hole!

The last question is “Am I fit”? Have I done the work and do I have months of consistent training behind me? If I can say yes to this final question, I am in for a breakthrough day. If your physical training has been mediocre at best due to situations beyond your control (work, new job, new marriage, baby, illness, etc) try to remain mentally fit and scale back any expectations–try instead to just have a fun day of racing.

So what is the point of all of this? If you are standing on the start line or putting on your wetsuit feeling nervous about how the day is going to unfold, just remember to ask yourself, “Am I healthy? Am I fresh? Am I fit?” When you can answer yes to these questions then you’re good to go!