8 Expert Tips To Help You Craft The Ultimate Race Plan

8 Expert Tips To Help You Craft The Ultimate Race Plan

After countless hours of training, it's not enough to just turn up to the start line and hope for the best.

We owe it to ourselves to craft a dependable Race Plan that will get our bodies and minds to the start line and then round to the finish in the best position to leverage all the hard work we put into our training.

Follow the pointers below on How To Craft The Ultimate Race Plan to ensure you stand the best chance of success on Race Day.

Let's begin:

 

1. Only Include Strategies You Have Tried And Tested In Training.

Everyone is different, and these differences are massively amplified when pushing our bodies to the limit during our events - so don't assume what works for others will work for you, especially in a racing situation.

You should only base your Race Plan on strategies that you have tried and tested yourself throughout training. That is the only way you can fully depend on your plan, and be confident it will hold up when the race inevitably gets tough, which is exactly when you will need it the most.

 

2. Include Nutrition, Hydration, Kit, And Mental Strategies.

Endurance events are unique from other sports because of the sheer physical demand and energy required just to get round the course. Throughout the race, you are asking your body to perform at it's best whilst it is constantly being dehydrated, subjected to repetitive stresses, and running out of energy.

If it sounds hard that's because it is, but achieving worthy goals was never meant to be easy. You can do it, but your Race Plan needs to accept and work with the challenges you and your body will face, and therefore needs to include the following:

  • A dialled refuelling plan that replenishes fuel¬†through the race without causing problems...
  • A precise hydration plan that replaces lost electrolytes and fluids, fast enough to avoid dehydration but not excessively to require multiple toilet stops.
  • Dependable kit preparation so you can trust and rely on it to perform.
  • A¬†set of mental strategies to get you through the inevitable tough times.

 

3. Plan The Week Leading Up To The Event Too.

Image an F1 car that lined up on the starting grid with perishing tyres, a broken front wing, and the wrong fuel in its tank. Regardless of the ambition and determination of the driver, you wouldn't expect the car to do very well...

In the same way, the success of your Race is affected by factors that begin days before you even get to the start line. Considerations like food, drink, sleep and kit in the days leading up to the race will determine whether you achieve your goal or not on the day, so include them in your plan and don't leave it to chance.

 

4. Don't Try Or Use Anything New On Race Day.

The absolute worst thing you can do on Race Day is to use untested kit, nutrition or hydration products. Foods and liquids can wreak havoc on the uninitiated (we don't need to go into details there, use your imagination), socks can cause blisters, trainers can ruin pronation, bikes can be set up wrong - need we go on?

Not only might it hinder your performance on the day itself, but considering your race is likely bigger than your usual training routine, you risk injuring yourself from the extended effort. You might be fine, but it's not a good strategy and considering the time you have put into training, why take the risk?

  

5. Learn And Use Course Features To Your Advantage.

You've started your taper and now there's nothing more you can physically do to prepare for the day, so what more can you do to help improve your chances of achieving your goals? Well, the course is set and it's not changing, so to give yourself an edge over the route (and your competition), learn the features of the course and build your specific Race Plan around them. 

Locations of hills and flats, on-road and off-road sections, and any possible bottlenecks can influence where you decide to dial it back or drop the hammer. Equally it will pay off to know where the aid stations are and what they are providing - it's no good planning a water stop at Mile 9 if there's none there...

 

6. Build In Flexibility And Allow For Mistakes.

Things always go wrong - if they didn't then everyone would know exactly what was going to happen all of the time, and events like this would be no fun! The only difference between good plans and bad plans is that good plans allow for the unexpected, and so should you.

Spend a few minutes noting down where the toilets will be ahead of time, pack some waterproofs in case of rain, and carry spare equipment where required. Most importantly, build in some room on timings and expect for things to go at least a little bit wrong - at the very least you won't be caught completely off guard and you can smile and work through it instead of panicking and ruining your day.

 

7. Finalise Your Plan In The Weeks Before - Commit It To Memory.

Unfortunately your race plan isn't very aerodynamic or waterproof, and for that reason we don't advise you take it with you. Instead, finalise it a few weeks before the event and read over it often enough to commit it memory. This will also give you plenty of time to refine your plan, which in turn will build your confidence in the lead up to the event.

 

8. After The Event, Reflect On Your Plan To Refine It For Next Time.

You've finished! Your race is over, and you've achieved what you set out for (and a little bit more). Well Done!

That doesn't have to be the end for your Race Plan though. It's worth having a brief review about what did and did not work, where it helped or hindered, and ultimately which parts of it you would change if you were to complete the same race again. Capture these brief notes whilst the experience is still fresh in your memory, because you might be going through it all again sooner than you think...

 

Finishing Remarks:

A well crafted Race Plan will make all the difference between happily achieving the goals we've worked hard for, or miserably failing and needlessly wasting all of our hard work. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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