by Mike Corona
Race planning is an often an overlooked aspect of racing, with many athletes showing up and deciding to “wing it” on the assumption that their fitness is all they need to race well. I have seen “A” races blown to bits before the race even started due to a lack of a solid race plan. Another limiter I have witnessed is the inability to adapt on the fly and go to an alternate plan during the race.
Showing up to a race with a plan is vital to doing well. Here are some points to consider:
These are important questions to answer before heading into the water for the swim, and they are really just a sampling of what should be known before starting the race. The athlete who is most prepared, both mentally and physically, will have a giant leg up.
The longer the race, the more important planning becomes. For an ironman, it is absolutely critical to have the day well thought out, as well as the two days prior. Simple decisions made on Friday and Saturday before IM will impact race day: what to eat, how much sleep and the amount of time spent on your feet. It is very important, especially if traveling, to understand the logistics of the race and to communicate the race plan to those supporting you. Find out where the accommodations are in relation to the race site and be sure the foods that work are on hand. If traveling with family, make sure they understand how limited you will be before the race. Once the plan is established, mentally review it as often as possible, but always be open to change it on the fly during the race. Understand what weather conditions dictate a change in nutrition, or how and when pace should be altered.
Race planning is a long term process that begins with registration and ends with hitting the finish line. Many athletes have probably been planning their races without even realizing it! How many times have you visualized race day? Be smart and write down thoughts from day one, and simply make changes to the plan as the season progresses.
Those who have taken the time to plan before hitting the start line will be the most prepared athletes on the course!
Michael Corona lives in Syracuse, NY, with his wife and three boys. He strives for balance between sport, family and life, while working full time as a Certified Financial Planner, and as a multi-sport coach. Learn more by visiting NWTCoaching.com.