I have become a master at the art of excuse-making. For years I’ve been fine tuning my repertoire of “I’m out of shapes,” perfecting “My knee’s been acting up,” and polishing “If I have time” whenever I’m confronted with doing a race. Recently, however, through some unprovoked change of heart, I’ve retired from my old ways and gone head-first into triathlons, 5K’s, and a marathon. And, simply put, it has been awesome.
I haven’t by any means graduated from my “rookie” status, but I have learned a few things that could be useful to my fellow rookies, or even offer a fresh perspective to seasoned veterans. So, without further ado, what I know you’ve all been anxiously waiting for, my list of tips and tricks for your upcoming race(s).
- Body Glide, Body Glide, Body Glide. Enough said.
- Don’t eat or drink anything new on race day, no matter how convincing that Energy Fruit Nut Vitamin Bar’s wrapper is.
- Your transition area is your home base. It’s your best friend, your morale booster, and your souped-up, James Bond style Aston Martin of triathlete needs. Don’t neglect it.
- Test out your bike before the race. Pump the tires, check the brakes, maybe even think of taping energy chews to the frame. Just make sure that you could hop on it and be on your way.
- Think about practicing a mini-triathlon; get a good workout in and get a feel for what a swim-bike-run is like. This also gives you a good idea as to what you want in your transition area.
- Remember your training, young Padawan. Listen to your body as you race, you know from your training what your body needs and when to push it and when to relax.
- Whether it’s a 5k or a marathon, make sure you have a trusty pair of shoes. Running in a bad pair of shoes is like swimming with a broken pair of goggles. Or it’s like…I don’t know…just don’t do it.
- Make an early plan for training and stick to it. No excuses, no matter how good you are at coming up with them.
- 1. Find someone you don’t hate. 2. Make them run with you. 3. Repeat.
- Think minutes, not miles. And not donuts. Would you rather run 2 miles, or 18 minutes? Minutes are a more positive measurement, and are less intimidating.
- For all you marathoners, do a training long run of 22+ miles, and from there, determine how much tape to use to cover your nipples.
- Bring a watch! The Holy Grail of running accessories; it will keep you on pace and give you reassurance that no, you won’t be running forever.
These tips and tricks have been learned the hard way by yours truly. My bike chain has come off, I’ve done my swim portion blind, I’ve forgotten nutrition, water, and socks all in one race, I’ve hit the wall (hard), I’ve slacked on training, and I’ve made more than my fair share of excuses. My final tip was stolen word for word by Nike a little while ago, but I’ll give it to you anyways: just do it. You can think about it forever, you can plan and train and tell all your friends about that upcoming race you might do, but what it really comes down to is making your own list of tips and tricks. I made mine, and I hope it helps you make yours.