Tips for Planning Your Race
by Marilyn McDonald
We train to race. This is the reason we do set after set, day in and day out. The race is the big day, the test, the party. It's where we get to head out and truly see where we are.
A lot of factors come into putting a race together: physical, mental, experience, equipment, conditions, courses, goals. You need to consider all of those factors when planning your race.
I ask each one of my athletes to do a step by step pre-race plan. This includes nutrition, gear, the plan for the days leading in, the race morning plan, and the race plan itself including pacing, nutrition and strategy.
I always recommend writing this out. This way you have it to read a few times before you race and reflect on after the race. If you keep a collection of your plans through the years you'll be able to look back and see your progression.
You should clearly outline your goals for your race. What do you hope to learn? I believe goals should be process-focused, not outcome-focused. Often athletes with outcome expectations beat themselves before the race even starts. Focusing inwardly and on the process will get you to your outcome.
It's best to break each leg of the race into segments that are manageable and motivating.
I like to teach athletes about the simple rule of "burning matches." You are a match book, you've only got so many matches to burn, and you want to plan wisely where you burn those matches in a race, because once they are gone, they are gone.
This is a note I've shared within the EC community and with my personal clients:
Focus on the process as you race, the outcome will follow. Break each leg into segments that are manageable and motivating. Focus inward, and don't let exterior distractions interrupt that focus.
Marilyn McDonald has been in elite sport since the age of 9, from show jumping to cycling and triathlon. Competing on an international stage in all three sports with an Ironman title, several podiums and state championships in cycling, Marilyn works with all distance and level of triathletes and cyclists. From beginners to elites; short course, bike racing, stage racing and long course triathlon, she has guided several athletes to the podium and to Hawaii qualifications.