The following post was originally used in a weekly newsletter to a corporate tri team I coach. The group of total newbies will be racing the sprint course at the inaugural Twin Cities Triathlon on July 24, 2011.
The final month of training can be broken down in two different two week segments. In this first two week segment, you will ideally increase your distances to the peak of the season. At this point, everyone on this distribution list is more than capable of racing. Tomorrow. That’s right, you’re physically ready. The focus then over these next two weeks during the longer training rides and runs is to practice all the little stuff. Come race day, you may be a wee bit nervous about the swimming, biking, and running, but it will likely be all the little stuff that confuses you the most – where do I park? what should I eat/drink? what do I wear? The time to work out most of those details is now. Here are the most important ones:
– Nutrition: Find a way to consume ~300 calories on the bike. Gatorade, nutrition bar, gel, whatever. These are your last weekends to figure out what will work for you.
– Gear, Part I: What are you going to wear? Whatever it is, you should be wearing it during training. What about sunblock? Figure out what brand doesn’t burn your eyes or sweat off your skin during exercise.
– Hydration: This has been a tricky one to practice so far this year given the crummy weather. Now that it is warm and sunny, see how much you need to drink during to maintain body weight during an exercise session. The time to consume the most calories and water is on the first half of the bike. It will be easier for your body to digest it than on the run when your body is jarring up and down.
– Gear, Part II: Practice your transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. Have you figured out how to put on a shirt and socks while you are dripping wet? Now is the time to figure it out.
– Gear, Part III: Last chance for changes. A new outfit, a bike tune up, and new shoes are not necessary, but if you are going to do it, do it now.
The key is to lock down all the above details now. Come July 24, you should do nothing new on race day.