|Posted by Eric Kirouac on April 8, 2018 at 9:30 PM|
I got the pleasure of racing duathlon nationals this past weekend (April 7th-8th) and also had TST athlete Dallas Handy participating. Dallas raced the sprint Draft legal (which I also raced) and I raced the second day competing in the non-draft sprint race.
Dallas had limited to no experience in duathlon coming into this race and struggled with some injury the week leading into nationals. He was determined to race and was healthy on race day. We established a race plan for him to follow and he executed perfectly (similarly to how he did in Clermont). He placed 3rd and qualified for the world championships in duathlon. Duathlon nationals was just a small stepping stone as we build toward Bermuda AG draft legal at the end of April. Dallas is also heavily focused on progressing and performing well at the Draft Legal AG world championships this spring.
I wanted to focus this blog on the importance of a race plan and the importance of doing many small things correctly in training/racing that can amount to time and ultimately performance.
I know everyone in multisport or endurance sport has a "race plan" going in to just about any event. However I believe and have seen far too many athletes claim they have a solidified "race plan" and as soon as something doesnt go as they had planned the entire "plan" crumbles and they become dissapointed in race performance.
I believe a good race plan has to be absolutley realistic meaning you have proven to yourself and your coach in workouts that you are capable of a certain race pace.
After establishing am ideal race pace for each segment of a triathlon, duathlon, cycling event, etc. it is important to then break down the race into manageable portions in which you can execute throughout the race. It is essential to focus on just managebale challenges instead of lumping a race into one entity and looking at it as an entire 10hour ironman or 2hour olympic distance event.
Once you have established these aspects of a race plan there are many more steps that you can take and complete prior to your A race that will help solidify a solid race plan.
Few athletes take advantage of is self-talk, and imagery. Everyone in endurance sport will tell you that whatever the discipline may be, the event is typically more mental than actually phsyical. If athletes and individuals truly believed this wouldnt they focus more time training the mind than the body? I understand that is not realistic and would result in some poor race results. However that doesnt mean excluding mental training and preparation is a better option. It has proven repeatedly in research that mental imagery and self talk and help improve performance.
I have a specific process that I go through with my athletes prior to speicifc events that can and has helped my athletes tremendously. I would love to disclose all the details in this blog post but I will keep this process between myself and my athletes.