Mike crossing the finish line at Ironman Texas.

Mike crossing the finish line at Ironman Texas.

Mike Thompson is back with us to offer words of wisdom for athletes as race day nears.  Although the season may be winding down or even over for some of you, many still have races coming up or you can always save for next year.  We’ll take anything to make our lives easier, right?   These are great, actually useful tips and done with a sense of humor.  Can’t get any better…….Thanks Mike.  Enjoy and make sure you heed his advice.

Whether it is the Ironman World Championship or your first sprint at The Rookie Triathlon, race weekend can be chaotic.  Here are 5 tips for athletes as race day approaches:

  1. Have a plan!  No detail is too small. Walk through your race a few times before hand. This INCLUDES the days leading up to the race.  Your meals, registration/packet pickup, bed times, even bathroom breaks need to be included. Read through your athlete guide and make sure you leave nothing uncovered.  Set up your “transition” in your living room and picture what each event of the race will look like.  Wake up with enough time to eat a good breakfast, use the bathroom (you know what I’m talking about), and get to the race site to set up.  If something unplanned happens, don’t throw in the towel right away.  Think about what you can do to overcome your obstacle, adapt and push through.  Be safe and don’t do anything dangerous, but remember this sport is a mental one and your mind is the most powerful tool of all.
  2. Get your rest!  Most people have some sort of “entertaining” to do.  This includes family, friends, co-workers, or any number of supporters who may be coming to watch and cheer you on.  It’s a good feeling to see your crew on the course, but don’t forget to save some time for yourself before the big day.  Don’t skip out on a meal or stay out late because you feel obligated to be a tour guide.  Your team will understand. 🙂
  3. Hydrate!  Starting at least 4 days out, I like to keep a bottle of water with me throughout the day.  I sip until its empty, then refill as needed.  Not only is this a helpful reminder that I have a race coming up, but it keeps my muscles loose and my body ready for the big day.  It’s no use chugging a gallon of H2O the night before.  By then, it’s too late and you will lose sleep having to run to the bathroom every half hour.  Start early, you’ll thank yourself on the run.
  4. Don’t drink too much!  I stole a tradition from one of my favorite athletes, Kelly Williamson, by drinking a beer (just one) the night before a race.  By then, I’ve already spent the latter part of the week hydrating, so I know it won’t affect me too much.  And, it helps calm the pre-race nerves and sparks a good night’s sleep.  But, don’t get caught up in pre-race dinners, happy hours, or fundraisers that often land on the same weekend as your event.  Even a slight hang-over or sugar headache can ruin a morning routine.  If you are notorious for feeling like crap after even just one drink, hold the celebration until afterwards. 🙂
  5. SMILE!  By this, I mean “be happy”!  Remember how awesome it is to pursue a goal like triathlon and be surrounded by other amazing athletes.  Don’t let your training, or the race itself, become a negative aspect of your life.  If you struggle on the course, take a second to think about something uplifting.  And, always SMILE!  Not only will you like the pictures more, but it makes you go faster.  I promise….. 🙂 **

– MIKE