The food you eat, how you physically prepare your body and your mindset are all major contributors to your race day performance. In this series, we will take a brief look at what you should be focusing on in each area ONE month before, ONE week before, ONE day before and ONE hour before. Put these together and you’ll increase your chances of racing well on the big day.
ONE Month Before
One month before your event is a key time for training. It’s the period where you should be doing the hardest work to ensure you are in shape for the big day. If endurance is your weakness, it’s the period where your key sessions each week will be based around mileage and endurance. If you are already a diesel engine, but lack a kick then it’s the phase where you should do more speed work and if you find that you hit the rev limiter and can’t go as hard as you’d like, then maybe you need to be doing some solid reps around your lactate threshold. For all of these, its best to seek advice from a coach, but the common factor, is that one month out is a time for hard training. All atheltes should also be making sure that they work hard in key sessions, but not every session. Doing this can lead to over training and burnout. All this good training needs to be fed with good food, so what are the main considerations here?
Eating the right foods will support your training and help you get fitter faster, but what are the ‘right foods’? Research has constantly show us that natural, unprocessed foods that haven’t been processed into something unrecognisable are what we should all be basing our diet on. Ask the following 3 questions: 1) Does it look natural? If so, you’re onto a good start! 2) Does it come in a packet? If so, someone put it there and that can suggest it’s been processed. 3) Recognisable ingredients? If all the ingredients read like something from a chemistry set, it might be best to stay away. In addition, eating the most colourful diet possible is another way to be healthy as the nutrients in different, natural foods show themselves in different colours. Lastly, this isn’t the time to diet or try to lose weight through calorie restriction, support your training with good food. You can’t out-train a bad diet, but a good diet will boost your training!
As we move towards the season the weather will only get warmer and it’s important to make sure we drink enough as dehydration will affect our ability to perform in training. Make sure you drink 300-800mls of fluid per hour during training and if you find that you get a salty residue on your skin after a hard indoor session or session in the sun then you should add some sodium to your water. There are lots of products out there to help with this, but make sure you get 200-600mg of sodium per 500mls of fluid. This is especially important when the weather is hot, or you are training for a long time or at higher intensity indoors.
With one month to go before a race you might have spent several months training for, you might feel that the event is so close, but so far away. This can lead either to panic and worry, or lethargy and apathy about the event. In either case. Take time to refocus on your goals, why you are doing the event and what you want to get out of it. Look at all the training you’ve done so far and use it as a foundation to build on. If things haven’t gone well in training, don’t worry, there is still time to make a big shift in your fitness so refocus and go for it!!
The ideas and suggestions written below are the opinions of Joel Enoch, an award winning triathlon coach for the Hartree JETS, 9-time GB Age-group triathlete, 2 x Great Swim/Run winner and CLIF Bar’s paid nutritional ambassador in the UK. This article is provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. The contents of this article are not intended to make health or nutrition claims about Clif Bar & Company products. Always seek the advice of a Doctor or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health and nutrition related activity. @ClifBar #feedyouradventure @joel_enoch (twitter) @tricoachjoel (Instagram) @HartreeJetsTri https://www.facebook.com/hartreejetstri/