Tips To Help Make Preparing For A Triathlon Easier
You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime."
Mark Allen - Ironman
Signing up to do a triathlon is a big commitment. The training requires alot of time and motivation to complete. As race day nears, there are many details to remember and alot of thoughts racing through a competitor's mind. While there are plenty of lists about things to do before the race, here are some things you may want to avoid before race day!
Avoid Inforamtion Overload
Competing in a triathlon requires alot thought and preparation. I am the type of person who likes to be prepared so I read everything relating to a race over and over again. It is so easy to get bogged down in all the details and it can be hard to process everything at one time. The equipment alone is alot to remember. You need a bike, bike shoes, goggles, swim caps, numbers that go on yourself and your bike, tri bags, socks, gu packets, and many other items. Don't overthink everything and read to much before the race. Know the information that is important like where and what time you need to be at the race site. Make a list of things that need to be packed and brought with you so you aren't running around last minute. Take it from me, you don't need to read the article about an alligator attacking a triathlete in the lake you are about to swim in the week before the race starts. Not so good for mental preparation!
Don't Eat The Wrong Foods
Many people think the night before a race they need to fuel up and do what is called "carb loading." Though it is recommended you eat mostly carbs and proteins before the race, it is not recommended that you eat anymore food than you normally would. Beginnertriathlete.com recommends eating an easily digestible meal the night before. Avoid foods high in fat and fiber as they digest slowly and can lead to trips to the restroom come race day. Avoid alcohol for all the obvious reasons. You want your body running the best it can be and what you choose to put into it can affect your performance come race day.
Don't Go To Bed Late and Over Sleep
Races start extremely early in the morning. You have to be there early to check-in and set up all your gear. There needs to be time for you to compose yourself and get mentally ready before starting. It may be hard to sleep knowing what the morning holds, but try to get to bed at a decent hour. Set your alarm so there is plenty of time to get ready, eat, and make your way to the race site. Plan ahead for traffic or any other problems that may arise.
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Don't Lose Your Motivation
Training is a hard and tiring process. It is taxing not only on your body but mentally as well. As my first triathlon approached I was ready to get it over with simply so I could stop thinking about it and focus my attention on other areas of my life. Most people participating in a triathlon are not going to make racing their job or become totally wrapped up in the sport, which is surprisingly easy to do. So make sure you have a system in place to help motivate you. Find a friend who can help you keep training and help keep you accountable. Post goals and quotes around the house in places you will see everyday, visualize yourself crossing the finish line and imagine how good it will feel knowing what you have accomplished. Do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals. It will be well worth it.
Don't Get Sick!
Imagine swimming, running, and biking every week, preparing for a triathlon focusing on that one goal for months leading up to the race. Now imagine not being able to compete because you are running to the bathroom every 2 minutes with a stomach virus. It happened to me and it was the worst feeling in the world. Not only could I not compete but I lost my $83 entry fee. Races are notorious for not refunding your money or allowing you to transfer to another race.
While I undertand that most times getting sick is beyond your control, there are some things you can do to help prevent sickness. Take care of yourself, eat healthy, always wash you hands after going to the bathroom and before eating anything, and invest in some Airborne to help prevent sickness. If you come in regular contact with kids, avoid them at all costs! They are little carriers of every known illness under the sun and while they may not be sick, they have no problems passing the little germs to you. It you are a parent and/or teacher and avoidance is impossible, think about investing in some surgical masks, hazmat suits, or at the very least hand sanitizer.