In our sport I often see athletes focusing on uncontrollable and low priority aspects of racing and training. There are three focuses in racing and training which far exceed the rest.
- Pacing: You should know your target pace for your race before you start. Your discretionary window is the second half of the run where you can surge if you are feeling good, before then it is a execution of a plan.
- Nutrition: Long distance sport, beyond 3 hours is a balance of what you can ingest and energy expended. Your digestive system management is absolutely key to a good performance. Your need to know your system before you start and know how you are going to manage it.
- Control what is in front of you: Draft in the swim, unless you are Pete Jacobs, or another super fish. Avoid drafting penalties and falls on the bike. Don’t get dragged into dicing early in the bike or run.
- Recovery and Training: Yes, recovery over training. Training execution is a means to an end. Training makes us weaker, but in recovery our bodies over compensate leaving us stronger. Without adequate recovery the returns are diminished. Time, nutrition, stretching and massage should be in your recovery plan. Recovery between repetitions, between sets, between training blocks, before races and between seasons.
- Nutrition: Train as you will race, 65 grams carbs per hour, 1 litre fluids per hour, electrolyte replacement. Eat to recover, post session recovery meals, protein, rehydration, carb replenishment. Eat to maintain health, micro nutrients, minerals, vitamins.
- Logistical preparation: Choose your equipment, nutrition, plan your race, have a risk mitigation plan, equipment failure and punctures, nutrition loss, pace assessment. Once you cross the starting line it is about execution, don’t sweat the small stuff.