All our hard work is in, we've spent countless hours training, sweating, and watching our nutrition. Our alarm clocks have gone off so many times pre-dawn, that sleeping in is waking up at 5:30am. Ahh!!! We don't want all this sacrifice to go to waste by a few bad decisions, or miscalculations leading up to race day. Below are some tips/guidelines I use to make sure I am ready for race day.
1. TRUST/CONFIDENCE: We need to trust that we are ready to race. Trust that we have put in the miles and we need to carry a sense of confidence with us that we are race ready. Don't go crazy and start cramming your training in right up in till race day. We want to have a fresh energized body going into race day. Trust in what you have put in to your training
2. CRAMMING: We don't want to be training hard or long right up to race day. This leads to fatigue and you will not have the energy to race up to your potential. The goal is to feel like our bodies are fresh and energized body going into race day. Those last ditch efforts will only hurt our performance not help.
3. SLEEP: A couple days before the big race, make sure you start (should be continuing) to get a good night's sleep. This allows your body to repair itself from hard training so it is ready for race day. Sleep is vital in muscle and joint recovery, can't emphasize enough how important a good night sleep is.
4. a. FUEL: Make sure you stick with safe foods the night before your race. I like to stick with bland, carb-rich foods. My traditional pre-race meal is pasta with red sauce and grilled chicken. Stay away from spicy foods, alcohol, and soda. I would not try anything new either - which leads me to point five. Also the breakfast of our race day is very important, eat something light but enough to sustain yourself for most of your race (ie. greek yogurt with fruit, hard boiled eggs, bagels, fruit, etc.) b. HYDRATING: One last point in fueling. Make sure you are hydrating properly the day before and the morning of your race. Conditions (heat, length of race, your personal sweat rate, etc.) will indicate how much you need to hydrate. Note: Please don't just hydrate with water, you need to fill your body up with all the vitamins it will need on race day so use some electrolyte drinks - GU Brew, Gatorade, NUUN.
5. NOTHING NEW: Whether it be new foods, shoes, goggles, etc. Whatever your sport is (running, triathlon, cycling, etc) try as best as you can not to throw in new equipment on race day. This can lead to major problems, usually discomfort, which can lead to a miserable experience and sometimes to injury. I made this mistake in a race - I had thrown in a new pair of goggles for the swim leg of a triathlon and the goggles were much too tight and caused a lot of pain in my eyes during the swim.
Be smart leading up to race day. Racing is hard, we don't want to add obstacles we can avoid. Race hard and have fun!!
I went up to Lake Placid to train with friends over Memorial Day weekend and have some quality family time. It was the first time I had been back since last summer when I competed at Ironman last July. There were many moments while I was training that I thought about my race and what I was experiencing during certain segments of the race. Every time I look back, one of my favorite memories is the swim start. With new rules and concerns, Ironman is changing the start to this great race - one of the aspects of racing this great event I truly LOVE. There is something about treading water with about 3000 other athletes all ready to do battle and put their body through hell as we push it to the limit that is incomparable to anything else I've experienced. I am trying to understand Ironman's position but I am struggling to find their true reasoning and if this truly is a better way to go about it. About a month ago, Ironman decided to implement a pilot program at Ironman Lake Placid 2013 where the swim start will be a wave start of self-seeded athletes and also switching the direction athletes are swimming (counter-clockwise as opposed to clockwwise). The waves will start at 6:30 and go to 7:00.
What a GREAT feeling, can't explain it!!
My concerns or disappointments:
1) Athletes will not have the opportunity to experience the mass start. I find this troubling for the athletes heading to Kona, that want to experience it and practice it before they head to the Ironman World Championships. I qualified last year for Kona in my first Ironman race at Lake Placid 2012 and was glad I experienced the mass start prior to going. I learned valuable information on how to start and how to tackle this aspect of the race and racing.
2) The self-seeded wave start - I believe that is what Lake Placid 2012 was. You self-seeded yourself in the water and I am not sure that that worked. You had athletes that thought their abilities were greater than they actually were and didn't want to be penalized by starting further back on the bike (especially the strong cyclists). In all these races as long as it is self seed you will have athletes that can't seed themselves.
3) If you think you might have a problem with the swim, then move back from the start line or wait a few seconds after the gun goes off before you start your race. It seems pretty simple.
4) You truly will not be racing the other athletes anymore, you are racing the clock. Before: every position you gained or lost - you gained or lost. Now: you have no idea where you stand when you pass someone or someone passes you, since you have no idea when they started. This is very discouraging, if you ask me. I personally like to know where I am on the course when I am racing.
5) Now my major issue. A lot of strong swimmers finish under 1 hr. So that makes their first loop split, roughly around 30 minutes which coincidentally coincides with the last waves being started (7:00). So as a strong swimmer or possibble Kona bound athlete, you will have possibly two starts to swim through (your own at 6:30 and the one that leaves at 7:00). These strong swimmers will do anything to keep going, even if it means kicking and clawing. I think this is huge cause for concern for the weakest and usually the most anxious swimmers on the course. This could present a lot of problems and and raises a lot of red flags in my mind.
I think if Ironman is truly concerned with this issue they would limit the race field size but lets be realistic it always comes back to money so that is not going to happen. They could always reduce the number of entrants and hold more events. Always an option. I think to keep the racing feel between all athletes (if this is the route they are going to go) the same you should send whole divisions out in waves like all the other distances do. I really don't like what Ironman has done with the swim start and hope it changes back to the old for 2014. It will be interesting.
What does everyone else think about Ironman's decision?
Kenrick Smith - Be a part of the K17Sport Lifestyle.
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