As the off-season is over and I am getting through some serious training hours, I thought it would be good to list some other stuff I am getting done.
It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list… more the stuff I have forgotten in the past.
1. Arranging race accommodation
When I raced HIM Slovenia last year, I was lucky to get accommodation 100m from transition. This made an amazing difference, dramatically de-stressing the whole event and letting me soak up the atmosphere. I swore that I would not do another race where I save 100euros, book at the last minute and spend the weekend driving and parking.
2. Bike service planning
Last year, three days before the Ötztaler bike marathon, I arranged for my bike to be serviced. I asked the shop to change the chain and all cables. The day before the race the shop gave me my bike back, telling me that my cables did not need changed. I had no time to do anything else other than trust them.
On the race with about 200km and 4000m climbing to go, my rear gear cable snapped. I was lucky and managed to get the race service to repair it. Any hope of a good time was gone however.
No chance, I will use that shop again, or leave the service so late!
3. Race simulations
I know that my mental capacity is really reduced during races and I need to have simple instructions to help me cope. I can tell that my brain is a few cells short when I am training, by simply trying to count to 30… anything beyond 140bpm and it becomes a challenge not to lose count.
For simulations, I want to concentrate on the points when I am most likely to mess up the race…
Swim – start… this should be 500m fast through crowds… then relax… not forgetting to sight. I practice lots of pace variations in my swim sets.
Bike – I need to not push hard at the beginning, rather hit my power numbers, letting the slow swimmers but faster bikers go past. This means that I practice holding close to my numbers in training on the road or without ERG mode on Zwift. Avoiding spikes and racing.
Run – I messed up my marathon in Roth last year by going out too fast for the first 10km. I felt great and headed out at sub-3hr pace… not clever! I paid the price and a planned 3:15 marathon became 3:47.
I have joined some local cross country races (7-10km) and I am forcing myself to hold back when the pack goes at the gun… no acceleration allowed until the final third. So far this has resulted in me spending the last third flying past the field and getting pretty good placings.
4. Bio Training
It’s important for me to be comfortable with both my nutrition and my bio routine during a race… this takes a bit of training. Race day toilets are not fun!
For me this means ensuring that I have adjusted to a morning routine, with bowel movements triggered by my morning coffee. That means that I can get up early on race day, have a coffee and some porridge, then clear my system before the race.
I gradually get in the habit of this routine in the months running up to the race, so that it’s second nature.
5. Ordering race kit
I know that I will need a new pair of road shoes close to race day, I know the brand and size… I also know that they change in availability. I want to be wearing them a couple of weeks before the event. I typically go through 2-3 pairs of road shoes each year, so I order the race shoes with a month or two to spare. Same thing for goggles (1-2 pairs a year), and bike tyres.