Tri Talk Tuesday – Race Day Prep

Today’s Tri Talk Tuesday topic: Race Day Prep is very fitting right now, 18 days shy of IMMT! 

Special thanks to Courtney from Tri Girl Chronicles and Cynthia from You Signed Up for What for coming up with today’s topic.

Tri Talk Tuesday

When thinking about RACE DAY PREP I can’t help but relate it to my preparation in these next coming weeks. In my opinion preparation is everything.  If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.  I have always been super prepared for race day, but NOTHING compares to being prepared for an Ironman.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am physically prepared for my big race i.e. swimming, biking and running my face off:) Here are some ways I prepare for a race, that aren’t necessarily training specific.  I need to be EXTRA prepared for IMMT since I am driving 6.5 hours to get there and I can’t just ‘run home’ if I forget something.

Read the athlete guide over and over.  I have not received the guide yet for IMMT, but I am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival in my inbox! I always read my race guides cover to cover just to make sure I’m not missing anything.

Know the course. If you aren’t able to physically practice the course, know the course in your mind.  For example, I always study the swim course to know where the turns are. When it gets to race morning, I warm up by going around a few buoys to get a feel for the course. I also like to study elevation profiles for the bike! Recently, I have been studying the IMMT course like crazy… reading race reports, blog posts, watching YouTube videos, etc. I feel like I’ve raced the course I’ve read so much about it!

Set your goals and say them out loud. Part of my race prep is always setting goals for my race. For example, I know the swim, bike and run splits I want to achieve on race day.  If I have a goal of placing in my age group, I make sure to tell people, it holds me accountable!  If you let other people in on your goals, you will have more motivation to achieve them!

Make a race day checklist. This is super important to making sure all of your ducks are in a row for race day!  I am a huge fan of checklists, in everyday life and with racing (type A over here). Making a checklist helps you forget the ‘little things’ like your racing bib waist strap or body glide. You want to sweat the small stuff when it comes to racing!

Kristin's iPhone 6.16.14 284

Know + practice your race day nutrition and timing. Make sure you have practiced your race fueling plan (i.e. how many gels and when to take them), so you aren’t questioning things on race day! Know when you need to take a shot block or a sip of sports drink on the run. Know everything!! Nutrition and timing can make or break your race.

Fine tune your body. This involves professional deep tissue massage, self massage, stretching, epsom salt baths, anything that gets your muscles fine tuned for race day.  I have all of my appointments lined up from now until race day.  I want my body to be in the best condition possible!

Fine tune your equipment. I recommend getting a bike ‘check up’ at least a week before the race.  Even if you think your bike is in perfect working order, it can’t hurt to get things checked by a mechanic. Also, make sure your goggles are in working order, same with your wetsuit! You can never be TOO safe. This goes for your GPS units too!


Visualize and stay positive. The days leading up to the race, it’s important to visualize yourself on the course and even finishing the race. There is power in positivity. If you BELIEVE you can do something and you visualize it in your own mind, trust me, you can do amazing things!

 What are you race prep tips? Feel free to share!



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  • Reply Courtney @The TriGirl Chronicles July 29, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Fantastic list! I also like to drive the bike and course if it’s a race where I can’t go do a practice run or bike on the course. I always kick myself for not at least driving the run course for Syracuse. I read up as much as I could about it before hand but was still surprised at just how hilly it really was.

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      Good point about driving the bike course! We plan to do that when we get up to Tremblant, I need to know what to expect! Oh and I might drive the run course too, it can’t hurt:)

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust July 30, 2014 at 12:55 am

    I become almost obsessive when it comes to knowing and studying the course beforehand. From elevation profiles to turns, I have to know it all. I have been doing a lot of research lately on different IM courses, trying to figure out which one I want to do. Traveling is something I definitely have to take into consideration as it is much easier to do a race that is within driving distance versus flying. If I can, I would like to ride the course beforehand.

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      I’m obsessive too, lol. Yes much easier to drive to a race (and cheaper!). I like the idea of packing my car with everything I need, including food of course.

  • Reply Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! July 30, 2014 at 3:37 am

    Oooh I love your tips and you have totally hit on some really great things! I have been looking at youtube videos of the bike course of my Half Ironman and obsessing like that! I didn’t do that for the NYC Tri (at least not yet).

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you! I definitely obsess before race day, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing . You tube videos can be super useful for race day prep!

  • Reply Kecia July 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Great list!! I would add that I have a plan, but also have a back-up plan in case something doesn’t go according to my plan. I think through EVERYTHING…what if I have a flat tire (can I change it?), what if I drop my chain (do I know how to fix it?), what if my nutrition doesn’t workout like I have planned and trained with (what is my back-up plan?), at some point it is going to hurt (how will I respond when it does?).

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      YES you are right! And my coach said the same thing! Know what to do when things go wrong. You obviously don’t want to think things might go wrong, but you need to know that it’s a possibility!

  • Reply Phaedra @ Blisters and Black Toenails July 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Great list! I agree with Kecia, have a back up plan. I had stomach issues on the run during my second IM so my nutrition plan went right out the window. I ended up surviving on flat coke and pretzels but it wasn’t pretty.

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      I get worried over nutrition issues! Luckily, I have trained with everything on the course, so I’m hoping all goes well… but you never know! Flat coke and pretzels does not sound pretty:(

  • Reply erin August 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    This is super! My number one is believe (this year’s mantra)… always believe in yourself. It is incredibly powerful! I think I’m the odd person out… I barely read the athlete guide last year for IM Canada and only looked at the bike course profile a few times (to get the general gist of elevation and directions, though we did drive it once we arrived in Whistler). Probably not the wisest decision, but it helps me FOCUS on me and how I feel 🙂 I also find it important to tune out all the unnecessary chatter (tri forums and fb pages, some social media, etc.) to keep distractions at a minimum, especially the last month leading up to the race!

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      I love your mantra erin!! Believing in yourself is the most important thing of all. You are too funny about the athlete guide, but I think you have a point… it is so important to focus on how you feel, not just all the nitty gritty course details. I like the idea of keeping out the unnecessary chatter… something that tends to get to me!

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats August 3, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Great list!! I think visualization is key! Being positive is also key!! Especially with an Ironman race. It is such a long day and you will inevitably have some “dark areas” but being positive will keep you on track with your goals!!
    I obsess a little bit about the course if I haven’t not seen it before. It helps to ride the course/run the course before. I don’t feel like it helps me to drive the course at all. It is totally different!

    • Reply Kristin August 6, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      I agree with you about visualization.. I have been trying to visualize myself already on the swim, bike and run, and I’m sure this becomes even more critical on race day. I know there will be dark moments, but I am trying to think of some good mantras to keep repeating to myself through out the race!

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