The Value of a Race Plan

Monday, May 14, 2012 by Coach Denise


Is creating a race plan really necessary? Why not just show up and figure it out when you get there?

I’ve heard enough race stories to know that taking the time to write up a race plan could have prevented many a race day fiasco, like getting lost on the way to the race, forgetting running shoes, or needing multiple unplanned trips to the port-a-potty.

Race week is already stressful enough without having to worry about keeping all of the logistical details in your head. Taking the time to write down your plan ensures that you’ll remember all the important details.

A good race plan should include:

Equipment Checklist
Triathlon comes with lots of stuff. Not having a checklist is a sure way to forget some important piece of equipment.

Race Details
Taking the time to write down your plan makes you think about the details like what time you have to leave to get to the race in time to set up your transition and make it to the port-a-potty before your swim wave. The pre-race activities like packet pick-up, bike check-in, and mandatory athlete meetings take more time than you expect.

Travel Details
Flight information, directions, hotel confirmation. Having all of these details in one place saves you from having to find them later. There is nothing like trying to figure out where your hotel confirmation number is to push you over the edge the day before the race.

Nutrition Plan
This can be simple or elaborate depending on the length of the race. Planning your nutrition helps ensure that you have food that you have tested in training available when you need it and that you are consuming the right amounts at the right time. It also helps avoid the GI issues that can come from eating unfamiliar foods the night before a race.

Race Pace
Using your training and prior race data, set realistic times for each leg of the race. Consult with a coach if you need help. Setting realistic goal times helps keep that “frisky pony” in check on race day so that you don’t go out too fast and end up struggling at the end.

Don’t be that guy trying to borrow a pair of goggles five minutes before the swim start – do a race plan!

Race Great for an Ironman Distance Triathlon

Triple Threat member Ken Gilstrap lays out his gear for an upcoming Ironman race. Think he has a race plan?



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