Thinking about racing… Make the mindset shift.

So we’re now entering the race season and events are upon us. I’ve said a few times before that it’s very easy to become comfortable in the training routine, it’s our safety blanket. We like routine and ticking off the sessions gives us a warm pat on the back, especially if we see ourselves making progress. However… when racing starts, it throws us a complete curve ball.

  1. Racing messes up our plan!
  2. Racing can be a threat… now we’ll find out if it’s worked or not!
  3. Racing requires a shift in focus, away from ‘training’ and instead upon ‘performance’

If you’ve got a summer race that you’re peaking for, the work is now done. You’re as fit as you are likely to be and what remains is specific race prep. The final weeks should be focused on:

  1. Key sessions, swim outdoors, ride your race bike at race pace etc. The sessions are now for experience and confidence. The pool sessions are great for conditioning, but do not prepare you for an open water mass start.
  2. Sort the things that need doing… You’re leaving it late for bike fits, kit choice and race nutrition. Don’t worry about whether you hit your power target on tomorrow’s 3 minute intervals, it won’t make much difference now, but kit and nutrition will.
  3. Race psychology will play a bit part. Every year, people who are physically capable of 12 hours for an Ironman, regularly complete in 14 hours, because they make shocking decisions and completely ignore any race planning or thoughts. Now is the time to move focus away from training and focus on ‘race performance’. Training continues in the background but it will not be the biggest factor which determines your race finish time.

We mentioned last week about this pre-season lethargy, contributing to this is the confusion of switching from ‘just training’ to ‘now racing’…

A very common reaction for people is to say “It’s only 6 weeks away!! I’m not ready, I need another 10 weeks!!”

The reason people say that is because it’s easier to continue the routine without the threat of racing, you’re used to the routine and it’s comfortable for you. If you did have another 10 weeks, you’d say the same thing in another 10 weeks time and you probably wouldn’t be any fitter anyhow. So this is it, this is as fit as you’re going to be, come to terms with it (you’ve probably done lots more than most) and now all you need to to is ‘refine it’

The question to ask… ‘What will make me race faster, with the fitness I currently have?’

I wrote this psychology document last year, there may be some bits you can pick from it which will help:

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