how to hack race day
Seven Steps to getting Race Ready
You may have spent months, potentially years, leading up to this point, so why would you risk it all being ill prepared on race day? Forget the training for a moment. Let’s just say you’ve hit every session, every power number, eaten well and recovered strong, you’ve prepared mentally and you’re 100% ready to smash it… here are my seven steps to not blowing it on the day itself…
1. day before routine
I know I said “on the day”, but actually we need to start the day before. This might be where most people make the biggest mistakes. With my coached athletes, I spend a lot of time helping them develop a ‘day before routine’. This will include a short ride or indoor session to open the legs, some people might have some intensity in there, but it is highly individual and usually an hour or less. Doing nothing, while working for a very slim majority of people, is usually the worst thing you can do.
2. Race course recce
One of the biggest failings of most people is to improperly recce the course prior to racing itself. Ideally you will be able to ride the course a number of times to get used to it, but a video from a previous rider or even Google Street View might help out. Of course, if you are riding a long Gran Fondo, this might not be practical, however if you’re doing a short race or time trial, or are even worried about a particular climb within your Sportive, why not use the Magic Road feature to ensure you get the ultimate recce done. While a lot of this can be done long before the event itself, I like to ensure my athletes spend some of their down time, the day before their event, refreshing their memory of the course.
Use digital features such as Google Street View or the RGT feature Magic Roads to ensure you get the ultimate recce done.
3. list items you need on race day
Another common preparation fail is to forget something important. Again, we’ve probably all done it. Confession time, I once forgot my shoes, but here is a downloadable list of items you might need to bring with you on race day.
4. warm up
Regardless of what event you are doing, you should at least be considering some form of warm-up. If you are doing a long Gran Fondo, then your WU might simply be part of your pacing strategy (see next point). However, if you’re doing a shorter race, something without a neutralised zone, then you should be considering getting your body ready for what’s to come. This is something that is highly individual and something that might change depending on the intensity of your event, however here’s a great starting point with the British Cycling 20’ Warm-Up.
5. Pace yourself
Ever gone off too hard at the start of an event… yep we all have and no, it is unlikely that you will have added an extra 10% to your available power overnight (sorry!)… pace yourself and stick to a plan. If you are just there to complete the event, then start off at a leisurely pace. If you are there to win, I suggest going back in time a bit and using BestBikeSplit to create a thorough pacing strategy. Again, if you’re planning a shorter even, you can use this in Magic Road to really perfect your pacing plan.
Pace yourself and stick to a plan.
6. Think about nutrition
How good does feed stop food look? What about if you knew that it had been sat out all day, the person before you had touched it with their dirty hands and maybe dripped some sweat on it? While you might be at the mercy of what is on offer, you can take precautions when feeding. Create a plan, find out what food might be on offer, or in the case of you racing with support, prepare your food in advance. Check out this blog for some useful hints, or join our Nutritionally Fit support group for a community inspired by fueling the body right!
7. stay positive
The final point might be the most important – try to remain positive and don’t put yourself under too much pressure. Of course, you need some stress so that you are motivated, but too much will sap your energy and performance. Enjoy the process and focus on the next step rather than the outcome of the event. Check out this article for some helpful methods to remaining positive.