Though you’ve completed all your training, there’s still much you can do in the week leading up to your race. Here are my top ten tips to ensure you have that sought-after perfect IRONMAN race.
- Stay off your legs as much as possible. Use the final few days before your race to take advantage of some extra time to optimize recovery. Incorporate stretching, icing, massage, active release therapy (ART), muscle stim, percussion devices, and elevating your legs for five to 10 minutes at the end of the day. These recovery strategies will help to eliminate lactic acid, increase blood flow, elongate your muscles, reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension, improve range of motion, and break up scar tissue as well as adhesions in muscles.
- Stick to your coach’s plan and clearly communicate how you feel physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach any final questions or express concerns you may have. Be confident, as you’ve put the training work in (and reconned the course on FulGaz).
- Every one may appear faster and fitter than you, but remember, they look at you the same way.
- Take the pressure off by reminding yourself this will be another long training day but catered with a large cheer squad, so just take it all in. Don’t forget to prioritize your goals. I recommend to my athletes that finishing should be their number one goal. Everything after that is a bonus.
- It is okay, normal and even healthy to be nervous. It happens to everyone, and professionals are not exempt. Rather than spiralling with anxiety, though, use this time to visualize your race. Find 10 to 15 minutes each night and situate into a quiet place with limited distractions. Remove all the daily chatter from your mind and really think about the race – from the swim start, with a strong and steady stroke, ripping and gripping the water, to running out of the water into your T1 routine and heading onto the bike course, feeling strong and ready to ride a steady effort for 112 miles. Lastly, visualize transitioning from the bike to the run, running past each mile marker, and then feeling the excitement and adrenaline as you cross the finish line and hear the announcer say, “Congratulations! You are an IRONMAN!”
- It’s a fact that 99.9 percent of the field will feel overwhelmed and have some type of breakdown. Try to get this out of the way earlier in the week, and don’t forget to apologize to family and friends because they are vital members of your team; deep down, you know you couldn’t have gotten there without their support.
- Check, double-check, and then recheck all your equipment. Have a backup plan for your backup plan. For example, what will happen if your goggles break on the way to the swim start? If you have a spare pair, you will eliminate some last-minute stress.
- You will not get the best sleep the night before the race, but that is okay since you slept well the night before. Make sure to stay on top of a solid sleep schedule the week prior.
- Prepare yourself for the worst possible conditions. It will be no problem as you are ready for it; if you’re not, you will adapt to it anyway!
- Breathe! Relax! Enjoy!
Michellie Jones, founder of GiddyUpMultisports.com, has over 32 years of professional experience across all levels in triathlon as a professional triathlete and coach.