Under-prepared for a Triathlon? Make Your Dream Day Come True!

By John Marsh

Let’s face it, with our big race looming around the corner, many of us have been caught a little off guard! Like any other deadline, race day has been “ages” away for a long time now. So long in fact, that we are now left high and dry, wondering how we are actually going to pull together everything and get through the whole ordeal!

Like many things in life, if we break down the day, and focus on what really needs to be done, we end up with a series of small little tasks, which makes the triathlon seem like a piece of cake! Here are a couple of valuable little tips which you can use to turn the tables from being “wayyyy underprepared” to having the magic day!

  1. Keep it simple. As Da Vinci said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This holds true even in the world of triathlon. Often we get overwhelmed with the amount of gear we have to have, training we need to do and foods we need to eat. Break down each sport into the items you truly need, and the actions you need to take. This can be as simple as writing a step-by-step plan for the day, from the time you wake up and what you’ll have for breakfast, to crossing the line. This will help you to cut out any unnecessary steps, simplify things and get the job done. If things seem a little complicated now, you can be sure that when you are tired, keeping a clear head will be almost impossible!
  2. Don’t try anything new! The buzz leading up to the race can often leave you questioning your preparation and your plan, leading to last minute changes. Try not to let this happen! Stick to the foods you know, the routine you normally follow and your own plan. The only caveat here is covered in the next point..
  3. Watch those in the know. Pay attention to those who have been there before – ask questions, find out where people like to start their swim, where the hard parts of the ride are and search for tips on the run course. Don’t be afraid to ask – people who have done the race before are always keen to share their knowledge and experience! Local knowledge can be a huge factor in having a successful day, and this information generally won’t change your game plan, it will simply help you to implement it more smoothly!
  4. Rest up! Although we may not have gotten in as much training as we would have liked, ensuring that you are fresh for the day is a must. Try to keep off your feet in the days leading up to the race, especially if you have been working and travelling right up to the event. Keeping hydrated with quality water and getting plenty of sleep in the days prior to the race can do wonders for race day performance for both beginners and seasons athletes.

One professional triathlete who is likes to really freshen up is Pete Jacobs: “I do VERY little before a major race, and if anyone has been struggling to convert the hours spent in training to a strong race, I suggest you try doing less in the week before your next race!”

So, maybe you wanted to get a few more k’s under the belt than you actually did.. but by making sure you have a simple plan to follow, asking those in the know and by resting up before the race, you can ensure that you will be ready for the big day. By following these simple guidelines, you can often perform a lot better than you thought possible! The work has been done, it’s time to have fun and enjoy the day!

John Marsh

John Marsh is one half of Born to Run and manager of Northside Runners Crows Nest, NSW.

You can also follow John Marsh on Twitter @johntmarsh





Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.