by Nicolas Theopold
The last days before a big race are hell. I dread them. The training is in the bag, tapering has me edgy and wanting to move; ironman preparation is very long, making the stakes high; getting it wrong really stings. It seems it’s the same for everyone, though, and unfortunately that tends to show. Smiles are few and far between, people size each other up, and ironman racers are generally not the friendliest bunch in the days before the starting gun goes.
My recipe to dealing with the stress of race week comes down to four things: planning, routine, withdrawal, and a healthy dose of fun.
- Planning: Alex Thompson has written a great article about the value of having a packing list for a race. I have mine ready in Excel and tick off things as I pack. It takes the guessing out of the process and makes me calm about not having forgotten that all-important gadget as I embark on the trip to the race.
- Routine: Alan and I have been honing in on a peaking routine before a race. We keep track of what seems to work well and what doesn’t seem to work so well and are adjusting fewer and fewer things as we get more races under the belt. Not second-guessing my final workouts before a race takes a load off my mind.
- Rest: The hustle-bustle of the race expo can tempt you to spend too much energy before a race. Together with the heat and sun of many venues it can make for a bad cocktail. I make sure to wear a hat when outside, take a good book or some movies with me to watch and often hole up in my hotel room to relax -- there will be enough time to party later on.
- Fun: A healthy dose of fun makes every race a winner. It makes me feel great when I can share a smile and a laugh with my competitors and the people along the course. Find something that works for you. My friends and I have decided to do our big races with a moustache and have created Semper Barbatus to celebrate the fun and joy of triathlon racing while we still training and racing hard. Why? It’s simple really: Every race is better with a moustache! I’m still working on the perfect combination of a handlebar ‘stache and 70s sunglasses. Hopefully the souvenir shops in Florida will have some great trucker caps!
All the best in getting through the race week doldrums, preparing well, racing smart, giving it all and having a ton of fun!
At 2 meters, Nicolas is one of the "big units" at Endurance Corner. A dabbler in all sorts of sports he is now working with Alan Couzens to become faster and see where the athletic journey leads. You can read his blog at bibivslagrande.blogspot.com and learn more about Semper Barbatus at SemberBarbatus.com.