Shaking Out the Rust –First Race of the Year

Posted on 16 March 2015

For many athletes, especially those who were subjected to one of the worst winters in a long while (East coast of US) made accumulating an adequate mileage base especially on the bike a bit difficult. However, the cross training benefits of snowshoeing and cross country skiing should have your aerobic engine ready for the first races of the year (if you put in the time outside in the snow).

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The challenge with the first event of the season is ramping up the intensity and pacing for an extended period of time with the added element of competitors. It’s just not the same in training and simulating the exact early season racing environment is difficult.

We can all expect to be quite sore after the first event of the season. It takes a few events to get the body and mind race ready. No matter how many speed sessions, track sessions, hill repeats, it’s just not like the race.

If you are gearing up for your spring marathon, triathlon or bike race make sure you focus on just using it as a stepping-stone to the season. Keep your expectations under control in the event your training was not 100% on target. It’s early in the season and there are plenty of other events. Write out a few goals for your first event – best case and worst-case scenarios. However, if you have been racing for months to remain race ready, then you are ready to let it rip.

Focus on building for the season and your key races after finishing your first event of the season. Make sure you recover fully especially from the severe soreness that can occur in the quads, calves and in many cases the neck muscles and back from racing early season triathlons.

For your first race, consider going out well below your overall race pace for the first quarter of the event and then build faster pace for each of the next three quarters. Your results should be significantly better by following this strategy than if you start out like a shotgun with the excitement of the first race.  Start slow, finish strong and have a great season!

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