It’s race week here at Triathlonpal HQ, so I am in full taper and race mode! I’m getting ready to race again at the Cary Du Classic which agian is the host for USAT’s Long Course Duathlon Nationals.

I’ve written before about the Art of a Taper for the week(s) leading up to your race, and I’ve even written about the advantage of detailed planning for the bike leg with Best Bike Split. But this week I’m honing in on my total race plan. Yesterday I sat down and write out every detail I could think of for the week leading up to race day, and then race day itself.

Why?

Because I’m a total “Type A” triathlete and OCD about most things.

Why should I?

The less you have to think about on race week and especially race day, the better. Also, the longer the race ad the further you travel for it, the more this gets magnified!

So where do I start?

Ideally, you should start with the first day of race week. I won’t go into too much detail here because I’ve written on this before, but plan out your workouts, and what things you will get ready and when. Remember all those pre race equipment tweeks and packing you need to do. Don’t just make a list, plan when you’ll get it done. I have noticed this makes things easier AND I don’t end up waiting until the last minute to get things done.

Starting the day before the race, I like to get really detailed. What am I going to eat? What will I pack? Will I hit packet pick up early? I answer questions like this and also give myself reminders. The biggest is Hydration! I have a bad habit of letting my hydration get behind, especially at night. Writing the reminders helps keep it in the front of my mind. Some other reminder I like to make are to keep from letting myself get hungry, hydrate, keep my feet up when I can, hydrate, go to bed early, and did I mention hydrate?

Once I get down to the evening portion the night before the race I start putting times in. What time will I eat? When will I go to bed? When will I pack the car? All of that eases the stress before race day. I then get into questions like when will I wake up? What will I eat on race morning? When will I leave? All of that will get me ready and out the door without forgetting anything.

Then we get to the pre race rituals! How will I set up transition? How will I warm up? Will I top things off with a pre race snack? I want to have that all thought through so I’m not second guessing myself. Reminds are good here too. Hydrate, use the bathroom, relax! Basically just those three… over and over again.

All of this has been about pre race… I thought this was about writing a race plan?

And you would be right… a race plan starts long before you toe the starting line. How you get ready for the race is so vitally important. Too many athletes ruin their hard work in the days leading up to and even the morning of the race. Don’t be “that guy!”

What do I actually put in the “race” portion of my race plan?

Simple, everything! Think about your pacing, nutrition, etc. It should all be planned out. Again, you don’t want to ruin everything by second guessing yourself in the moment. Have a plan and stick to it! But don’t be afraid to adapt to curveballs! (Sorry… wrong sport analogy!)

Now all that is left is execution! Go out there and nail your race!

Did I miss anything you would add to a race plan? How early do you write yours? These are things I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!