General Discussion Triathlon Talk » 10 Race Day Tips - a must read Rss Feed  
Moderators: jmk-brooklyn, Ron Reply
2014-02-16 9:32 AM

User image

Subject: 10 Race Day Tips - a must read

Stumbled across this while searching for something.  Love it!  Hopefully you haven't already seen this. Enjoy!

10 Race-Day Tips for the Sarcastic Triathlete

By Dr. Mitchell Greene

A frustrated triathlete told me that the best advice I ever gave him was the off-handed, tongue-in-cheek suggestion that he purposefully swim slower in his next race to try and ensure that less people will pass him on the bike. Thankfully, he didn’t take my advice to heart, but my recommendation turned out to help him with a more important problem than his slow bike time – he had lost his sense of humor. Thus is the inspiration of the following sarcastic tips. 

Just to be clear, the rule when reading these is to do the opposite of whatever the tip advises. Keep your wits about you and remember why you have chosen to compete in triathlon in the first place.

1)      Wait till race morning to pack your tri bag. Pre-dawn sprints from the clothes line in your basement to the tri bag in your bedroom result in a natural and refreshing adrenaline high.

2)      If you are new to triathlon, don’t bother practicing in open water prior to your race. The water is apt to be dank, dark and cold, and trying it out before race day will spoil the surprise. Stick to pool training and maximize the chances that you will get to meet a few friendly kayakers and give them something useful to do.

3)      Since you already know how to bike—you learned at age 8—it is fine to borrow your neighbor’s tri bike a week before the race. After all, if you haven’t used clipless pedals before, what’s the worst that can happen? Even if you get stuck in the clip, lose control, and crash into someone, you still get to keep the free wicking shirt they handed out at the expo.

4)      Use reverse psychology to tell yourself that you are a great runner even if it isn’t true. True triathletes say “reality be damned!” This psychological tool also applies to returning from injury. Just race as if you were never injured and didn’t miss any training time. The take-home message is that you don’t have to let reality run the show.

5)      If your legs are feeling really good as you taper for your next race, it means you should make up new race-day goals. Ignore your coach’s overly conservative advice about sticking to the original game plan. The coach obviously doesn’t realize that you are going places!

6)      Mentally approach the race as if where you finish is really important—not just to you but to the rest of us as well. It’s mostly (but not totally) self-centered to assume that this whole triathlon thing is mostly about you.   

7)      Start comparing yourself to others as soon as you get out of your car. Focus right in on how your helmet doesn’t look like a spike, how your love handles stick out from your tri suit, and how much calmer everyone else appears to be.  After all, frequent comparisons are the best way to understand why others are superior to you, and can teach you where you need to improve.

8)      Throw out those new-agey recommendations about “embracing the pain.” This season is about out-toughing the pain. When your legs are aching, create an even more painful picture in your head, like the dreadful image of your muscles ripping off the bone, so that the actual physical pain seems like nothing in comparison. Embracing the pain is for wimps!

9)      Despite what has been said about the top pros continuing to have doubts and insecurities (even during races), don’t allow yourself any such mental weaknesses. In other words, if you feel like quitting during the race, you really should. Just thinking about stopping means you need to psychologically go back to the drawing board.

10)   The best way to build confidence is to do tough workouts a few days before your race. It is worth the effort, even if your legs feel like lead on race day. Besides, if worst comes to worst, you can always claim that you trained too intensively. You’ve got yourself covered!

Dr. Mitchell Greene is the sport psychology consultant to the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon and the SheRox Triathlon series. Dr. Greene works with a range of competitive triathletes, from professional to recreational. If you have questions for Dr. Greene, you can email him at You can sign up for Dr. Greene's free newsletter at

2014-02-16 12:47 PM
in reply to: crissy_jo

User image

Subject: RE: 10 Race Day Tips - a must read
I am absolutely guilty of #7. I constantly compare myself to other triathletes as soon as I see them. I have some very old, deep seated insecurities from growing up overweight and completely nonathletic. I typically finish mid-pack or higher, but because I still carry a few extra pounds and it took me until middle age to discover my athletic abilities, the sight of all of those lean, toned triathletes brings out the same self-consciousness of always being picked last in gym class.
2014-02-16 2:36 PM
in reply to: happyscientist

User image

Subject: RE: 10 Race Day Tips - a must read

I'm guilty to a couple of these. hee-hee.  I've been guilty of #7 (bike envy).  I have since learned that people who don't "look" like they should be faster than I am often times are.  Now I don't pay much attention to how they look because that often times plays no role in how good they really are!

2014-02-16 6:13 PM
in reply to: crissy_jo

User image

Saigon, Vietnam
Subject: RE: 10 Race Day Tips - a must read
Bike envy--yep! I've actually had people laugh at my bike as I wheel it into transition. (Okay, so it has animal conservation stickers all over it, and cost a bit less than $1000. So what?) And looking at other people. Try as I might, I don't "look" like a triathlete, but a marathoner. I can just imagine all those buff people looking at me and wondering if I've shown up at the wrong race or something. It didn't help that at my first Oly, someone asked me and the petite Singaporean teenager standard next to me if we could handle a 1500m open water swim (in moderately rough conditions). She turned out to be a national junior swim champion and first out of the water! I also soundly beat the asker. Since then, I've learned to embrace it--if people don't take me seriously, that just gives me the element of surprise on the swim..
New Thread
General Discussion Triathlon Talk » 10 Race Day Tips - a must read Rss Feed  

10 Sarcastic Race Day Tips

Started by TriMyBest
Views: 1602 Posts: 8

2013-11-04 5:47 PM suefesta

10 Race-Day Tips for the Sarcastic Triathlete

Started by RushTogether
Views: 1094 Posts: 4

2012-06-07 8:20 AM FoggyGoggles

First race in wetsuit in 10 days - questions

Started by Trail_Runner
Views: 831 Posts: 9

2009-02-26 6:16 PM katherinel

Who is Racing this Weekend - 10/10 - 10/13 Pages: 1 2

Started by WaterDog66
Views: 2089 Posts: 40

2008-10-09 12:22 PM Andrew1801

10 days til race......

Started by SnMan
Views: 854 Posts: 5

2007-05-31 11:31 AM BikerGrrrl
date : March 29, 2013
author : jtriathlete
comments : 0
I'm curious about the 'don't increase your run by more than 10% per week' rule. Is there a minimum mileage under which this doesn't apply?
date : May 19, 2010
author : Patrick McCrann
comments : 1
Part 2 is about race day pacing, warming up and a discussion on the usefulness of powermeters and heart-rate monitors for half and full Iron distance races.
date : May 5, 2009
author : Amy Kuitse
comments : 0
A few tips for beginners during taper week to settle your nerves. Includes a race day checklist and some race day tips.
date : August 8, 2008
author : Coach AJ
comments : 0
Discussions on race day weakness, long course nutrition, RPE on race day and the key to a successful Ironman marathon
date : June 5, 2006
author : mikericci
comments : 0
How should I go about training for the marathon while also building base in the other two events? Doing this seems like it's causing me to break the 10% rule in running.
date : October 2, 2005
author : DominiqueL
comments : 0
Yes, the Dual is a little heavier than Cervèlo’s high end counterparts. But…the price is within reach of the masses and it still incorporates all of the design features that make a Cervèlo special.
date : June 14, 2005
author : tomp
comments : 1
Tips on swimming, biking and running to race-day lessons from this beginners first five months of training.
date : June 13, 2005
author : FishrCutB8
comments : 6
A little bit of everything from training, your equipment list, laying out a transition area and other pre-race preparations.