Open Source Athlete - March Edition

Sunday, 4th March 2012

The difference between training and racing wearing a race number

Over the past few weeks I have heard a number of people describe their race plans for various different races. In some cases none of these plans replicate anything they have been doing in training.

Things like deciding to run a marathon in racing flats after only ever having trained in a bulky over-supportive shoe, or trialling race specific nutrition in the week before the race, or even just purchasing it for the race. Deciding to carry extra nutrition in receptacles or locations that are untried and untested. Purchasing a race garment different from regular training attire to be unwrapped and worn on the day. Training to ride 180km in bike knicks or bibs, and then wanting to race in tri-shorts with virtually zero padding. Training everyday with an iPod knowing that it is not allowed for your race. 

In my opinion, the only difference between training and racing should be the attachment of a race belt or race number. Every facet and component of racing should be an extension of your training, done at race pace. It is hard enough coping with maintaining race intensity for the duration of the race when all the stars align, let alone throwing in a few curve balls such as chafing in places you never knew existed, lower leg pain because it now feels as though you have gone from supported footwear to barefoot running, and stomach cramps because your guts didn't realise that all Lemon / Lime flavoured sports drinks weren't the same.

You have invested a lot to be at the race. Be strategic about it. Control the controllables. Plan and practice - so that when race day arrives the only surpise you'll have is the number on your race belt.


#4 Tim Gavan 2012-03-15 14:19
as I set out for my 28k training run for my first marathon in April I dutifully did all my pre-race routine stuff, including brinign the trusty ipad which i just cant do without. my 6.30am start time is coming around, feelin'good, ready to run, i put the ipod in my ears, turn on my favorite running tracks and precisely the BPM i like and then.....nothing! and then....panic! i ALMOST didnt run that day but forced myself to, i started like crap, wasnt really going o finish and then finally realised i can run without it. I totally agree with your post. its just like falling over - when you fall, learn from it, remember it, what you did and how you survived and kept running. thanks for all your advice.
#3 Gavin Butler 2012-03-04 19:37
Great incite into how a competitor should train as to race which a lot of athletes forget or do not realize especially when competing in endurance events.I will push a lot of my clients in the direction of your website for some home work.Great article
#2 Tanya Roneberg 2012-03-04 18:45
Great post Mike. I'm all over the iPod, nutrition and shoes but realise now that I need to have a look at the bike knicks/tri suit. I feel a bit silly for not thinking of that. Thank you for stating the obvious :-)
#1 Stu McCormick 2012-03-04 17:12
This is a great blog, especially about training without an ipod! Have found that mp3 players make the mind weak and come race time, brings on more mental energy than normal due to being dependant on music to get you through exercise! Races are hard enough in their entirety without making it worse by putting the mind under more stress because their isn't music blaring into your ears to distract you from your body screaming at you! Read a similar extract in Macca's "I'm here to win" and has changed my attitude and mental strength full circle!

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