This is my first link-in with Tri-talk Tuesdays with the Courtney from the TriGirlChronicles, Miranda from the Cupcake Triathlete and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What so hi 🙂 really looking forward to chatting with some triathletes and hopefully getting some good advice! (All my triathlete ‘knowledge’ comes from blogs, 220 Triathlon Magazine, or my mum…!)
Firstly – day 3 of Juneathon was a great triathlon day, starting off with an 1000m swim in the pool at work. I’m not doing a proper programme at the moment so I did a few 100m sprints (all at just under 2m per 100m with 30 secs recovery. Try as I might I couldn’t go faster, but still wasn’t slowing down by the last set… weird), a few 1 arm and pull drills and a few 100m straight front crawl. I’ll start a programme soon to get me good at swimming 1500m instead of 750!
Then at lunch time I had a gym programme with a trainer to give me some leg strength exercises. Lots of squats and lunges, dead lifts and then some horrible core exercises that really hurt me. The last one involves doing planks on one of those big stability balls and 30 seconds has never gone so slowly or hurt so much! It was a good session though and I’m going back next week for her to put together an upper body strength session for me. All this is absolutely free! I love my gym.
So now that’s done – Tri-talk Tuesdays! Today’s theme is pre-race nerves.
I had horrendous pre-race nerves before my first ever triathlon, mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t sure I was capable of swimming 750m in a lake. I’d been in a lake once before, it had been freezing, and was just a horrible experience. I really did feel sick with nerves.
It was different before my triathlon this year – I knew I could do it. I knew I could do all of it and that, unless something went drastically wrong, I’d be getting triathlon PBs. I had absolutely no goals on how I wanted to do against everyone else in the pack, just against myself, and I knew I was going to make those goals. BUT although my mind was calm, if a little excited, my tummy was not behaving! There was nothing I could do to make the horrible butterflies disappear in the last hour or so before the race.
As a result, I really liked and agreed with Courtney’s tips – I actually did all of them a little bit and will do them more next time! One of her tips was to listen to music pre-race – this is an interesting one which I’ve never tried, although I always listen to music when running. BUT make sure you know the rules, a triathlete at my last race got shouted at for listening to music in transition. Even pre-race it was apparently considered a ‘race area’ and so the race rules had to be abided by.
I also found Miranda’s goals very useful and have saved her blog-post to re-read in taper week – resting and trusting in your training is so difficult. I spent the whole of taper-week arguing with myself about whether to fit in an extra work-out or not (I didn’t). Nothing you do during taper week is going to change anything in race day, it takes more than one week to do that! More important that your body is calm, rested and excited rather than exhausted!
So having now read those posts and thought about it a little bit my advice is:
1) Relax during taper week – go for dinner / lunch with friends, lie in, have that second glass of wine you wouldn’t normally have because you have to wake up at stupid o’clock (okay many would disagree with me here but I’m not advocating getting really drunk!). Do lots of yoga to loosen yourself up and take your mind off it. Read the blogs and the magazines and have faith in yourself and comfort in all the training you’ve done.
2) On the morning of the tri, visualise transition so that you know exactly what to do. Think it through in detail – slowly – and this will slow your mind and your heartrate down. It will also be invaluable in speeding up your times in transition.
3) Chat to people. If you see a nervous looking newbie, talk to them! I was lucky in that this happened to me many times – triathletes appear to be a lovely, friendly, supportive bunch. And then this year, I found helping out another panicked newbie took my mind off my own nervousness and calmed down those pre-race jitters!
4) Have a mantra (this one is stolen from Courtney but it’s something I always do!) Mine is a combination of “you can do this” and “keep pushing those legs, just keep pushing those legs”. The first said before the race and at numerous points during it, the second reserved for the cycle and run (but mainly the run). I also like “you’re almost there” – which I repeat to myself from halfway round each leg to the end!