Essential Tips For Triathlon Race Day To Help You Achieve Maximum Focus
[Editor's Note: The global COVID-19 pandemic has irreparably changed the fabric of our daily lives. And this includes all things related to triathlon—especially racing and competition. While both professional and amateur triathlon races have ceased for the time being, they will return at some point in the future. With that in mind, we present to you this particular blog post with hope in our society's ability to overcome all of life's challenges, as well as optimism that we will emerge from this challenge stronger after having been reforged in the crucible of shared struggle. Racing will return.]
We’re partnering with a few members of the Every Man Jack triathlon team to bring you a new informative series on getting into multi-sport racing, building a training plan, and balancing your athletic goals with everything else going on in your life. This edition comes courtesy of Ben Fuqua.
Ben is entering his 11th year of triathlon racing and his 4th year with Team Every Man Jack. He is a technology teacher at Highland Park Middle School in Dallas, Texas, where he is also the Middle School Girls Athletic Coordinator, as well as the head girls cross-country and track coach, which regularly features 100+ girls on those teams. He has a Master's Degree in Human Health and Wellness Education, and also enjoys coaching triathletes. In late 2019, Ben and his wife Katie welcomed their first child into the world, a daughter.
Why is race morning preparation so important?
Race morning can be a stressful time. When I think about all of the mistakes and needless stress I’ve caused myself on race mornings over the years, I can clearly see some areas of improvement. Hopefully my advice can help make race morning better for any triathlete.
What are some tips you have for triathletes preparing for race day?
My first suggestion is to make race morning a time when you do the smallest amount of thinking. Likewise, you’ll want to keep preparations on race morning as minimal as possible. This means getting everything ready ahead of time, as best as you can. I like to take some extend time in the afternoon before race day to prepare things like all of my bottles and nutrition. I then put all of my bottles inside the refrigerator so I can grab them all at once on race day morning. Make sure your bike is also race-ready, get your transition bag packed, and set out your breakfast for the morning so that it can be quickly prepared and eaten. If I can get as much prepped, set out, and rehearsed as possible during the afternoon before race day, it makes the night night before (and the morning of) race day so much easier.
Do you adjust your sleeping habits at all before race day?
On race morning, I try to wake up 15-to-20 minutes earlier than I think I need, just because something always seems to take longer in the morning than I expected. I wake up, eat my breakfast, then begin to get ready. I start by putting on my race kit, then attach my timing chip to my ankle, and gather my bags and bottles that are already prepped and ready to go.
What happens if you forget something, or things don’t go as planned?
Typically, something will always go wrong, or you’ll forget something. But that’s okay! You’ve just got to forge ahead and focus on the day’s performance. I recommend keeping a few essential items in your transition bag, just in case you end up needing them at the last minute. Some of the things I always have with me in my bag are electrical tape, an extra inner tube and CO2 cartridge or inflator, zip ties, extra nutrition gels, an extra water bottle, a set of Allen wrenches, a small towel, and wet wipes. I’ve learned that making race morning the easiest I can for myself by doing the prep and over-thinking the afternoon before helps the whole experience of racing more enjoyable. Race morning should be something that gives you energy and excitement, not something that stresses you out.