Navigating the Thrills and Challenges of Race Season
For those of us that live in the Plains and the Midwest, we made it through the long, dark winter and a cool, damp Spring. Summer is in full bloom, and so is race season! This is what we’ve looked forward to for months. Lots of sweating it out on the trainer, treadmill, etc. during the winter. Now that the fun part of being a multi-sport athlete is here, don’t blow it! Let’s have it be a real season of improvement and advancement, and let’s lower the risk of anything that might mess that up.
So here are a few things to think about as we roll into July and the meat of the season:
- RECOVER! The weather is great (ok, it’s hot), and so you’re out there a lot, pushing those pedals and pounding that pavement…oh yeah, and racing! If you have several races close together with key workouts in between, be SURE to focus on all the principles of a solid recovery. You want to be fresh and ready for every race. Make sure you’re bouncing back ALL the way from hard workouts and races. This is NO time for an injury.
- PAY ATTENTION TO “NIGGLES!” Deal with any strain, soreness, pain, tightness, etc., when you have it! I’ll spare you the list and just say, “Throw the kitchen sink at it!” with your own personal PT and maybe see a professional. Those little things can become big things and knock you out of a chunk of your season or the whole thing. It’s happened to me, and it’s depressing!
- EVALUATE! Be sure to sit down after every race and think it through from pre-race to start to finish to recovery. What did you learn? What would you do differently if you could do it all over again? What did you do well? Celebrate that! We grow in our knowledge and experience about racing, by, racing! Be sure to evaluate each and every race this season.
- CHECK YOUR GEAR! You’re putting a lot of stress on your bike, and you’re using a lot of tri gear this time of year. Over time, things can become loose. Check the bolts/screws on your bike. Consider getting a mid-season tune-up. Check that your goggles are relatively new for races and don’t fog because you’ve used them a few times in the pool. Be sure. Check the screws on the cleats of your cycling shoes and elastic shoe laces on your racing shoes. Things like that! I had to tighten up my cleats just this week.
- LASTLY, ENJOY! This is the part of the whole year that brings us great joy. Racing! Love it! Don’t forget to be thankful for your health and strength to be able to do this wonderful sport. Thank those in your life who support and encourage you. The time is now! It’s July! Let’s race!