This article was written by Katie Elliott, MS, RD, Sports Dietitian and USAT Coach with Elliott Performance & Nutrition.
It’s race week and the Saturday or Sunday you’ve been targeting for months is less than a week away. Who knows, you may be completely relaxed. But it’s more likely that you are experiencing something far less settling. Your awareness is heightened, butterflies are occupying your stomach and your mind is rehearsing run paces without your body moving an inch. Welcome to caring deeply about something and feeling all the feels that come with having an “A race” goal. This is a good sign– it means you care. But you also need to direct this energy wisely.
One way to ease the taper crazies is to make sure you have everything you need for race day. Showing up at the venue organized and dialed will help you to feel more confident and prepared to execute. So let’s get started.
As you prepare for your race, you’ll want to look at each course (swim, bike, run, transition area). For the swim, you’ll want to refer to the Athlete Guide (Ironman races provide these) or the website to see your start format. Is it a wave start, where you begin the swim in a pre-assigned group? Or is it a rolling start, where you will estimate your likely finish time and line up in a corral of your choosing?
You’ll also want to find out estimated water temperature and whether the race has historically been wetsuit legal. Realize that wetsuit decisions are often made the morning of the race. Since a wetsuit is a competitive advantage, I always recommend bringing one just in case. If the race is not expected to be wetsuit legal and you have a swimskin, aka speed suit, bring that. Just make sure you practice swimming in both your wetsuit and swimskin pre-race. Also make sure to allow enough time to get your wetsuit on properly (you don’t want any tug on your arms because you didn’t take enough time to account for the form fitting nature of the suit). Quintana Roo’s wetsuits do have irritation resistant material and comfort neck design, but giving it a test run prior to race day will let you know if you need to apply body glide to any sensitive areas (like the neck). Finally, you’ll want to have goggle options with different tints. I generally bring one pair for bright sun and another for cloudy conditions. Defog them before the start as well. I generally use a spray-based defog solution, but in a pinch Johnson & Johnson No More Tears prevents fogging quite well.
Comprehensive Swim List
If you are flying to your race, you will need to be smart when it comes to travel with your bike. First and foremost, is your bike case compatible with your wheel technology? Disc brakes are the latest, greatest, fastest technology available. However, some older cases were built to accommodate cantilever brakes only.
Is your bike case sturdy enough to deliver your beautiful Quintana Roo (QR) without incident? I recently traveled to Ironman 70.3 Victoria and found that my soft case is not going to keep my PR Disc Six in the condition I expect (both of my rotors were bent each way). That said, I need to find alternative solutions (either taking the rotors off, which is super easy to do, or getting a new case). You will also want to consider taking some replacement parts if you are going somewhere that might not have your specific component parts. A few things I bring with me are an extra set of rotors, an extra Di2 cable and an extra derailleur hanger. The new technology QR has unveiled is a complete game changer in terms of performance on a bike. You just need to make sure you can utilize all of this innovation to its fullest advantage through intelligent preparation. If you want more tips for traveling with your bike, check out Allan Hovda’s recent QR blog, “Top Tips for Traveling with your Bike.”
Here are a few other helpful tips for a stress-free bike experience (mostly learned from making these mistakes myself). If you have 404’s or 808’s, you are going to need an extender valve for your spare tube. If you have a disc wheel, you may also need a pump adapter to inflate your tires. Get these items before you arrive at the venue to ensure a stress free lead up to your race. If you have a Garmin head unit, you will want to put it in auto-pause mode prior to race day. That way your bike computer will automatically start without you having to turn the head unit on and push buttons at the beginning of the bike. Finally, if you are traveling to a race, you’ll want to put your bike together as soon as you possibly can [upon landing] and take it for a spin. That way you can troubleshoot if things were thrown off in transit (no the airlines do not generally give your bike the TLC you do).
Comprehensive Bike Checklist
View our size charts to see what size is best for you. After purchasing a new QR product, our team will reach out to you to confirm your order and sizing information to be sure you have selected the optimum size.
PRsix2 | PRsix | PRfive2 | PRfive | PRfour
HYDROsix Wetsuit | HYDROfive Wetsuit | HYDROspeed Swimskin