It’s amazing how much time we spend training and preparing our bodies for battle, only to fall short because we ran out of time for a proper warm up, or we realized our tire had a puncture as we roll to the start line, or we go out to carb load and end up eating a cheese filled lasagna dish.
There are lots of little things that go into a race beyond the training. We’ve talked about the athlete’s mindset before, but let’s talk about the mindset in terms of race preparation.
Control What You Can Control
There are tons of variables, but there are things that you can control. Let’s start a few weeks out, and then dial it in as we get close to the event.
Weeks Out From Event
The Course: what are the main features of the course? Is there a specific climb that you’ll need to get over? Is it a gravel race where attrition will be a major factor? What are the conditions usually like? Is your body and equipment prepared?
Your Family: This deserves a paragraph of its own. You spouse and family should know your race schedule weeks before. I asked an athlete about a race the week of and she said, “I still have to run it by my husband!”
WHAT!!!??? You are to buy your partner their favorite foods, flowers, or something long before the race, and let them know how much they mean to you! Then you go race with your friends all weekend. Keep the family first and all will work out!
Your Training: Have you tailored your training to match these objectives? If there are specific demands of the race, make sure you know what they will be. A crit runs differently than a 4 hour road race which is different from 70 miles of gravel or a time trial. Be prepared.
Week Of Event
Mindset of Winning and Doing YOUR BEST: this is a huge one. You need to convince yourself that you can WIN when you go to this race. Even if you are racing up with faster athletes, crazier things in the world have happened, and you should visualize yourself with your arms up at the finish line. Reality is a real thing, but if you’re in the race, you have a chance. If you don’t believe that, you won’t win.
Life Happens: As we prepare for big events, the globe continues to spin, and things go wrong. Kids get sick, you get sick, family schedule changes, all sorts of things that can take your training off course.
Don’t freak out. Mitigate the issue when things go wrong and do your best. Everything doesn’t always line up perfectly, and get your head away from the trees and see the forest; a few workout swaps and changes won’t drastically ruin your event. Keep trucking along and moving forward.
Eat Like An Elite Athlete: Have a ritual of eating clean and no booze. You’re putting in all this work on the bike, put in a little work off the bike too, especially as the event nears. Don’t eat garbage fast food, leave the booze for after the race, and help yourself get on the podium!
1-2 Nights Before Your Event
Try to plan your meals or figure out where you will be eating. You don’t want to end up at a place that has no good carbs before a race. Mexican is always a good choice, but watch out for anything super spicy or too much cheese that might mess with your body.
If you need to carb load for your event, its 8-12g of carbs per 1 kg of body weight. Or when in doubt, choose carbs over the other macronutrients.
Don’t overthink when things go wrong if you can’t find the right restaurant, and when in doubt, a grocery store is a great stop!
Bike: is it ready to roll? Clean chain and lubed; tires clean of debris?
Have clothes packed with check list complete?
Competition Recon: Who’s coming? Who are the big hitters? You still have to race the race, but get a sense of what the caliber of racing is going to be.
Weather Recon; does this affect the course, your tire pressure, etc?
Rehearse Patience; what is your plan, and how can you see yourself winning? If you aren’t a sprinter, don’t wait for a sprint to take place! If you are a sprinter, how can you get over the portions of the course where people will try to drop you?
Night Before Event: SLEEP
It goes without saying, get some solid rest!
Day Of Event
Same breakfast as normal, but lean towards carbs. No solids 3h before, and top off with drinks
Routine before races
• Carb drink on way to race
• Music on car ride or chat about the race with teammates. Do whatever feels good; reduce your anxiety
• When to arrive: make sure you have plenty of time to register, get your number and pin up, and if you don’t race often, leave social time to see people. When in doubt, get there early!
• Warm up: fair warning, what makes you feel warmed up and ready to go may be different than what works for your teammates. Do what works for you, and you can all meet up at the start line.
• Have your race food ready to go with bottles filled
• Pump tires
• GET IN YOUR ZONE
There are a million little things that go on from weeks out with your training, to getting the trip planned and having all the right supplies to race, to getting to the venue, eating right, and being mentally and physically prepared.
Control as many of these things that we’ve talked about, and you’ll well on your way to your best performance ever!
Share this with your friends if they’d find it useful, and get in contact with us if you’d like us to give you some personalized tips on your training. We’ll take a look at what you’ve been doing and see what your goals are and help you map out a roadmap to the top step of the podium.
🚲Race Check List🥇
Bike rack keys
Bib Number Pins
**Shoes (ROAD / MTB AND INSOLES)
***Helmet, TT helmet
Bib shorts, jerseys (ss ls thermal)
Sunglasses and multiple lenses
Booties: goretex, neoprene, shoe covers
Towel to change
Thin gloves/thick gloves
Water bottles, Water
Whey. Carbo gain.
Battery charger for on bike devices
Revelate frame bag
Plastic bag for phone and wallet
Chamois cream, sun tan lotion, elements cream, warming cream
*go pro and voice recorder
**Pump and co2
Race Wheels, training wheels
Trainer or Rollers
trainer wheel, skewer, step
**chain Lube, bike cleaner, rags
**Extra cleat bottoms
Garmin uploader, computer