I am very excited and proud to announce that as the new triathlon season kicks off this weekend, so does my new role as the Active Stride / Mizuno Ambassador. It was a great surprise to hear from Robson and the team this week when they called me with the good news. I'm really looking forward to the new venture; the guys at Active Stride seem to share my passion for triathlon's and have given me a fair bit of 'creative freedom' in sharing my thoughts about all things triathlon. While I'm no Macca, and do not pretend to be Craig Alexander (I'm much to tall to try and be him anyway), what I do have is seven years of trying out this tango called triathlons. From Sprint Distance to Ironman, I've given it all a go and have had my share of ups and downs along the way. I'm happy to share the lessons I've learned, the one's I'm no-doubt going to learn, and to give some insight into what works for me (and what doesn't). I'm also open to hearing from people and writing about the things you want to know about like; How do you go to the toilet in a 180km ride? To sock or not sock before the run part of a race? Why do people wear teardrop helmets in a 10km ride? What does 'N + 1' mean when referring to bike ownership?
Whatever your goals are for the season, or level of racing you're at, I'll endeavor to put a smile on your dial and share the season with you. Strap yourselves in, it's going to be a wild ride!
Race 1 - Raby Bay
Only 4 more sleeps to what will be for many of you the first race of the season. The Gatorade Series kicks off at Raby Bay this weekend. A great series of races to get into regardless of your history in the sport - for first timers they provide well-run, fun and yet professional events. For the more experienced racer they are a great chance to take on your mates and claim bragging rights for a few weeks. Due to other commitments, I am not going to be toeing the line this weekend. So while I can't talk about my prep leading into the event, I thought this would be a great opportunity to 'get back to the basics'. No matter how many races you've done, it always pays to take the time to think the day through. In fact, I think the more races you've done the more important it is to refresh your memory at this stage of the season. I'll never forget the Fusion Games Duathlon last year. I had a head full of steam coming back from the run onto the bike; I jumped on to ride off and realized I still had my running shoes on (with my bikes shoes already attached to the bike)! After turning around and throwing my shoes back into transition, I headed off for the 10km ride. Coming back into transition and heading out for the second run, I got 20 meters down the road before I realized I still had my helmet on! Quite embarrassing but lesson learned; take the time to think the race through before you do it.
So some key things to keep in mind before you get to the start line on Sunday:
- Roll through some light exercise the day before - a spin, a run, a splash, something. It is important for your body to think "they're doing it again, we'd better chuck some glycogen into the muscles" so your body is fueled and ready to rock n roll.
- Remember: you've either done the hard work already, so relax. Or if you haven't, your body is refreshed, so relax.
- Drink plenty of water and even an Electrolyte drink the day before.
- Eat dinner earlier than normal. It'll make it easier to get rid of pre-race 'nerves' before race start. Trust me, this is a great tip ;-)
- Pack your bag the night before. As you do it, picture yourself from start (about to jump in the water) to the end (the run). As you picture yourself standing at each stage, picture what you are wearing. This helps me remember the gear I need.
- Don't try to force yourself to sleep - if you're nervous it just makes things worse. Aim to have a good night sleep on the Friday night instead.
- Also, before you go to bed take a 5 minute time-out from it all - lay down and picture yourself in the swim, ride and run. For each leg, think of 'worst case scenario (my goggles get knocked off and I have to breast stroke), so-so scenario (I get through in the middle of the pack) and best-case scenario (personal best swim - heaps of space, great time and super relaxed)'. That way you will be prepared for whatever happens on the day, and it will also help relax your mind as you will feel like you've already dealt with things.
- Another idea the night before; rather than stay in bed getting a headache from thinking about the race, get up, go into the lounge room, keep the light off, and do some stretching from head to toe. This will help calm your mind and stimulates the relaxation response in your body.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the race venue in the morning. Work out how long you think it will take, then add 15 minutes. While it might be hard to roll out of bed a bit earlier, you will appreciate it when you see the thousand people standing in front of you waiting to get into transition.
- Sometimes liquid breaky's are better in the morning, especially if you are nervous. I find a banana Up & Go and a banana about 3 hours before my wave start does the job, with a TORQ gel about 30 minutes before race start to top it up. Plus I sip on an Electrolyte drink.
- Own your space in transition; bring a towel so you can 'mark your territory' near your bike that you can put your running shoes, etc on. No need to feel intimidated - at the end of the day we are all people. Plus in my experience triathletes are a very welcoming and happy bunch (surprising for a group of people that are often sleep deprived).
- Buy a new pair of shoes a few weeks prior (so you can get some millage in them first). Nothing motivates you to run faster than a new pair of shoes on your feet!
- Most importantly - HAVE FUN! Smile, laugh, joke about how many guys you see with shaved legs for no real reason (guilty - although I try to justify it by saying it makes massages feel nicer).
Have a blast out there on Sunday. I'm looking forward to hearing the stories, the battles and the fun times. I'll also be keeping a keen eye on the 30-34 category to see who is on-song this season ;-)
Stay safe guys and catch you on the road.