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For most of us, triathlon and endurance sports in general is a journey. It’s a journey of self exploration and self improvement.
How far can I go? How fast can I become? How can I push the limits of what I once assumed was impossible?
Short on time to train? Not interested in hiring a triathlon coach? Below is an easy way to improve and come closer to nailing your race & achieving your goals by doing a little post race homework.
Your race should not be over at the finish line.
You should strive to learn from each race experience regardless if the outcome was good OR bad. The longer your race/event, the more significant this exercise will become.
Whether you’re a “competitive” athlete in the hunt for the podium or simply looking to best your previous time(s), it’s important to reflect on each race and WRITE DOWN a few notes. This short and simple exercise is one of the easiest ways enable continuous success.
Before you get started you will need to do the following:
With the 3 bullet points listed above, begin asking yourself questions. You should be less concerned on the “numbers” (i.e. speed, pace, splits) and more closely focused on how you felt and how well you executed your race. If you feel good and execute well, the rest will take care of itself. And remember, nothing happens over night and nothing replaces hard/smart work.
There are no right or wrong questions to ask yourself but here’s a good place to start. Feel free to add or subtract from this list.
How did you feel your race went? / Did your race go as expect?
(What went right, what went wrong?, Did you have a plan B & C?)
How did you feel on the SWIM? Did it go as planned? How was your pacing? Why or why not?
(Did you go out too hard? Did you swim in a straight line? Were you able to draft off of someone?)
How did you feel on the BIKE? Did it go as planned? How was your pacing? Why or why not?
(Did you ride too hard?)
How did you feel on the RUN? Did it go as planned?How was your pacing? Why or why not?
(Did you feel strong on the run? Or did you over bike?)
How did your TRANSITIONS go?
(Were they smooth or did you struggle? How was your bike mount / dismount? Unsure? Check the T1 & T2 times of others from the race to get an idea)
How was your race nutrition/hydration?
(How much / what did you drink, how many calories did you take (& of what product(s), Did you have to pee when you finished? Did you experience cramp(s) or GI distress?)
Did you look at the course map (swim, bike & run) prior to race?
Note: I’m not suggesting you memorize the map, but having a general idea of the course (swim course in particular) may help you execute each discipline better.
What did you eat the night before?
What and when did you eat/drink the morning of the race? How far in advance of your race start did you eat?
How did you feel mentally when racing?
Did you forget to bring anything?
By writing down the answer to these questions, your thoughts and action items become “real” and it also allows you to review before future races in order to remind yourself to avoid the same mistakes.
If you were able to identify a few things you need to improve on, make a plan for what you’re going to do to address those items and GET TO WORK!
The list of questions above is certainly not comprehensive. If there are additional questions you like to ask yourself feel free to comment so that everyone can benefit.