Peak Performance: 5 Race Week Don’ts
1) Don’t change your diet the week of the race. This is not the time to go Keto in hopes to lose a few extra pounds of water. We are nervous and rested which means we have extra time on our hands to think. If you simply continue on your healthy meal plan on high quality carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you are set.
2) Don’t pretend you are a camel. If you consistently drink 80oz of fluid a day, don’t think that drinking 120oz will help you have more fluid on race day. In fact, the only performance it will increase if your ability to urinate in the middle of the night. What you should be doing is hydrating at the same amount but add in electrolytes in the form of Nuun, Skratch, or Osmo to your water bottle. These products are low in calories and high in electrolytes. Adding a small level of glucose to your water actually increases your hydration levels.
3) Don’t neglect carbohydrates the day before the race. Have you ever heard of carbo loading and how it’s an out dated method? Its not and its very effective for endurance athletes. If you neglect carbohydrates the day before the race, for whatever reason, your performance will suffer. Your race is powered by your brain, engine and muscles which are all fueled by carbohydrates. Don’t show up to the start line with a tank thats low on energy.
4) Leave your bike alone. How many new mechanics and bike fitters are certified on race week? Too many. When you’re tapering the training volume is down, which means your anxiety is high. You need to burn off energy so you start looking into things to screw up, the week of the race isn’t the time to change your bike fit. Your body is accustomed to stabilizing and producing power in a certain position, thats what you’re doing for hours each week when training. The point of training is to get your body accustomed to producing power in a certain position. Don’t raise your saddle, move your saddle forward, lower your front end, bring your elbows inwards to gain every ounce of imaginary free speed. These changes so close to the race completely throws off your bodies ability to produce power because it completely changes the firing patterns and muscle recruitment that takes weeks and months to develop. However, the bonus on your new fit is you will feel terrible while racing. We’ve all heard countless stories of Professionals doing this before race day and those stories typically don’t end well. Mine is the story of IRONMAN World Champion Sebastian Kienle written by his wife Link to Article HERE
5) Don’t expect miracles to happen on race day, doing so is why people end up underperforming. If you have never broken 2:00 for a half marathon but you expect to on race day there is a 100% chance you won’t, unless the course is short. Tapering and peaking could give you an extra 2-3% on race day but you should expect to do exactly what you’ve seen in training. When you have unattainable goals it will only provide insecurity and additional stress. What your mind is thinking during the race dictates how your body will feel. If you are constantly frustrated that you aren’t performing where you “think” you should be, your expectations are too high. Thinking negative thoughts will create muscle fatigue and your central governor turns on to protect yourself. However, if your expectations are in line with what you’ve previously done you will be thinking happy thoughts. Happy thoughts leads to you crushing it on race day and high-fiving countless spectators. This is such a simple concept but its the root of countless bad performances.
All in all, this entire post can be summarized into the well known saying: Dont Do Anything New on Race Week!