The half-distance triathlon season is in full swing here in Canada now, with many athletes in Ontario and Quebec gearing up for Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant on June 24th. For some, it may be a first time competing in a race longer than a standard (often referred to as the Olympic) distance. While for others it marks the beginning of your preparing for an Ironman later this summer. Wherever you stand on the spectrum of those racing the first 70.3 of the season in Canada, here are some suggestions as you enter the final week of training.
In the final one to two weeks before a long distance event, it is important to keep a close eye on your workouts – frequency, intensity, time and type (FITT). This period before a race where you manipulate your training is often called the taper. There are many opinions on how to taper, so ideally you stick to a plan that has worked for you in the past. For example; a common practice in the final two weeks is to decrease the time or volume of training. Within the week though you still have target workouts where you mimic race pace. Keep in mind that these sets should be shorter. The idea behind tapering is to reduce your overall workload while keeping the body ready for race efforts.
As you taper, do other activities you may have neglected during training. Try not to stress or become anxious about the race to come. You have done all the hard work; now it is time to let your body adapt to the training.
With your reduced training load, take the time to make sure all your equipment and race gear is in order. Do a check up on your bike, going over your gears, chain, cables and brake pads. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, take your bike over to your local bike shop. Look over your wetsuit, check for any holes that may have gone unseen. Make sure you have all of your race nutrition ready, don’t bank on the race expo to have what you need. By taking care of these details beforehand, you will arrive at the start ready to go.
Confirm Booking Details
This suggestion may seem a bit cheesy, but there are horror stories of double bookings and packed hotels. Usually, these issues get taken care of quickly. But, it never hurts to double check booking numbers and confirmations before heading to the race.
You have trained hard for this day and your body is in peak condition. Now imagine, the night before your big race you get sick after eating something questionable.
For some, competing at a half- or full-distance race requires travel. Make sure wherever you go, you stick to a reasonably standard eating pattern. The last thing you want to do is try something new before a race and be regretting it the morning of the race. Save the exploring new foods until after your race.
If you’re planning a vacation around the race, it is best to leave this until after the race. Arrive a day or two before the race to settle into the new location. Then, after your race go out and explore.