Top 10 race day tips

Race season is here, some of you will have done your first race, many of you will have your A race approaching. For our GTR100 athletes who have been training since January, the big day is this weekend at Staffordshire Ironman 70.3.

Race day can be daunting; there is a lot happening on race day morning and lots of kit to remember, so we’ve put together our Top 10 race day tips, learnt over the countless races we’ve done ourselves, to make it that bit easier.

  1. Don’t eat more than normal on race day morning, eat the same as you would before your standard long weekend training session. You only need to fuel for the swim, not the entire race – once on the bike you can start taking on more nutrition so don’t overeat thinking it will be better for you – it will just make you feel sick!

  2. Add an extra 45mins to how long you think you’ll need in transition, time always speeds up on race day morning!

  3. Don’t waste time and energy in transition looking at other people and thinking they have a faster bike/they look fit/have better trainers etc. Race day is about you and performing your best, you can’t control what anyone else does so don’t worry about it.

  4. Walk through transition: swim to bike to bike out. Then bike in to racking to run out. Pick a marker that you can look for to spot your place – a specific tree, a lamppost, a sign, a shop etc. This will be much easier to run towards in the frantic nature of the race then looking for a number.

  5. Put your bike in an easy gear ready for the start of the bike section.

  6. Vaseline the hot spots in your run shoes e.g., the arch, the heel – you should know where these are from training runs without socks.

  7. Take time to put your wetsuit on properly, make sure it is fully pulled up and have a friend help you get as much material up and around the shoulders as possible. This means getting to the swim start well in advance so you aren’t rushed and in a sweaty panic trying to get your wetsuit on. You want to keep calm and relaxed pre race and that means being in control of your timings.

  8. Do a warm up – you want your heart rate elevated before the swim start. If on land do a little jog and some squats/tuck jumps, then arm swings to mobilise the shoulders, if in the water, once acclimatised do some sprints of 15 strokes hard.

  9. On the bike, as you approach the end start spinning in an easier gear (up your cadence) to flush lactic acid out of your legs and aid the bike to run transition.

  10. When the run starts to get tough use your arms, the legs will follow the arms so keep pumping the arms!

And a bonus number 11. Don’t look down at your watch as you cross the finish line. Look up and smile for the photo :)

Enjoy your races and good luck!