Building a Better Athlete - Part II

Race Day Prep

by Matt Wesseling

Well, one post in and I have already turned a weekly segment into a monthly one.  I plan on getting back on track with this one.

Training is tough.  Athletes put in months and months of sacrifice in order to either get to a finish line, achieve something that they haven’t done before, or simply be the best that they can be.  Time and time again, I see months of training, diet, and planning go to waste because of some simple things that they can do to ensure that they are starting the race in the best way possible.  With IRONMAN Chattanooga about to commence on September 27th, I thought it would be great to give you my 5 body preparation keys for those looking for success on race day:

1.  Hydrate.  You will dehydrate yourself on the course.  You simply can not consume enough to compensate for the energy that you are burning.  That said, make sure you are putting yourself in the best position possible when you start.  This doesn’t just apply to race day morning.  Make sure you are actively working to hydrate throughout the weeks leading up to race day.

2.  Fuel.  Stick to your diet plan.  Everyone is different so I don’t want to be specific as what works for some may not work for everyone but ensure that you are consuming the proper amount of carbohydrates in the days leading up to the event.  On race day, consume breakfast about 3 to 4 hours prior to the start and do not underestimate the amount of sodium that you will need.

3.  Sleep.  The sleep you get in the week leading up to race day is more important than the sleep that you get the night before.  Make sure that you are coming into the weekend well rested and ready to go.

Ok, so the first three seem intuitive but it is amazing how often I see something seemingly so simple cause so many issues on race day.

4.  Visualize.  Close your eyes for a minute and envision yourself going into the water.  Taking each stroke.  Moving through transition.  The churning of your legs on the bike.  Slipping on your running shoes.  Pumping up that last major hill.  Crossing the finish.  Celebrating with your family.  If you see yourself moving through the course, odds are you will execute on race day.

5.  Have Fun.  Remember what you are doing this for.  Race day should not be something that is dreaded.  It should be a celebration of the time and training that you have put in already.  Go out there and smile as you pass the mile markers.

I hope everyone has success competing in any race or event that they have coming up.  For those racing in Chattanooga on the 27th, feel free to stop by the Pro Hydration tent to learn more about pre-race preparation and also about what treatments we have to expedite recovery so that you can get back to the things you love.  Faster.

Building a Better Athlete is a weekly series promoting increased performance and faster recovery in athletics.  Matt Wesseling is a former NCAA track and Cross Country athlete and now competes in endurance multisport events.  He believes in getting the most out of every athlete so that they can achieve more.