Peoplecare Tri the Gong is finally upon us and for a lot of competitors out there this will be your first ever race. Now, some of you may have been preparing for this event for months, maybe even a year. Others, have done just enough training to make yourselves feel confident enough that you’ll cross the line comfortably (hopefully). And then there are those of you that lost a bet last week and are now counting down the seconds for this madness to be over. Now, although I’ve lost count of the number of races I’ve competed or participated in, I can honestly say that I have been in each of these situations one time or another. It’s exciting and terrifying all at once. So to make the actual day of your race just that little bit easier I have prepared a few tips and tricks that I always follow on race morning.
Make sure you have everything you need, trust me running around an hour before your race looking for a spare helmet does not help with the pre-race nerves. On my race list I always have:
- Bike shoes (if you have different shoes for the bike and run)
- Running shoes
- Race belt (if forgotten you can 9 times out of 10 purchase one at the race)
- Something to race in (Trisuit, swimmers, t-shirt and shorts… anything that feels comfortable. Remember you must have your torso covered on the bike and run)
- Drink bottle
Still important but the race will go on without them:
- Sunglasses (for bike and run)
- Watch (if you plan on tracking your activity throughout the race)
- Socks for after (remember this is my personal list and my feet like being comfortable)
- Towels (one for transition to put your stuff on, one for after the race)
- Wetsuit (if you have one, never know when you might need it)
- Hat (for race or after)
- Race food (Nutrition can be a very important part during a race, however it is recommended to train while eating before hand so your stomach can get used to it)
- Pillow (because “I just did a triathlon and there is no way I can stay awake during the drive home”)
I know for me it doesn’t matter if I’m doing a fun club race or a race that has big names and big competition in it, I always feel (at least) a little nervous before hand. When this happens all the ‘not-so-helpful’ thoughts pop up such as: “I am definitely going to drown”, “what if someone sees me losing?”, “I can’t do this”. At this point I like to remind myself why I’m here and why I do this sport. At first I usually find myself saying “I have no idea!!” but then I realise that I love this sport and that I find every second of the race, yes even the swim, a great new experience. No race is ever the same. (plus finishing and sitting down is always a great bonus, just feels so good!). Now obviously this may not be your reason to be on that start line, yours could be: “I’ve worked so hard for this and I’m here to see what I can achieve”, or “This is a good opportunity to see where I’m at and what I need to improve on” or even “I’m here because there is no way I’m letting my mate cross that finish line before me, bragging rights are forever!”. Whatever your reason is just keep focusing on that and once that starting siren goes nothing else matters.
Setting up transition. Below is a simple way to set up everything you need. Everyone usually finds their own way of doing this after a couple of tries so I strongly recommend doing one or two transition practices before race day.
Things to remember in transition:
- Where the bike exit is
- Where the run exit is
- Where your bike is (what row and how far down that row)
These may seem obvious, but (it pains me to say) I can’t remember the last time I did a race without forgetting at least one of these things. Please save yourself a year’s worth of embarrassment and remember these things!!! If unsure of entries and exits there will always be someone who is more than happy to explain how transition works while you are setting up for the race. There are also usually really large signs pointing the way but a little heads up, I’ve found in the middle of races you usually forget how to read, so… REMEMBER!!
If you are ever unsure, confused or completely terrified of everything. Its ok, everyone feels like that before a race! But never be afraid of asking someone for help! Trust me, there will be at least 200 other people that are willing to share every tiny scrap of their knowledge with you. It’s getting them to stop, that’s the trick!