Race week approaching!

Powerman Malaysia is coming up in just a week. Race week is here!

However, before we go further into that I’d like to congratulate one of our clients – Agnes – on her astonishing performance in today’s Tokyo Marathon. Massive running Agnes!

Next weekend a lot of our clients will head out to Putrajaya to race at the Malaysian Powerman, that has a whopping 2600 participants. Powerman is a duathlon, run – bike – run, that is available in two distances: 5 – 30 – 5 km, and 10 – 60 – 10 km. We also have clients racing the WMW Marathon and one client racing in Shah Alam next weekend as well!! So a big weekend for TJ Coaching.

Out of the TJ Coaching clients participating, a few are doing their first duathlon/triathlon, and some clients are coming back looking to improve. We also have clients that have many triathlon Ironman races under their belt, doing this race. Whether the seasoned veteran or the newcomer, race week is always special.

I thought I’d write a few advices regarding race week and race preparation:

1. Don’t listen to advices!

First of all an important thing to say about advices on tapering, race nutrition, preparation – everyone’s different and have different approaches. What seems to work really well for one, could be devastating for another. This being especially true when it comes to race day nutrition. Your buddies best brand of gels may not work very well with your belly/body. So find your own way, but sometimes (especially if you’re new into the sport) it’s nice to benchmark someone else.

2. Don’t overtrain during race week.

Secondly there is this quotation that TJ Coaching often refers to: “No medals are won in training”, this is very true at any time of the year, but extra important in race week. Medals are handed out only on Sunday, not Monday-Saturday this week, so don’t go for the Strava segment’s during the lead up to the race this week, turn down that challenge from your buddy to race to the top,… Make your easy work-outs really easy, and conserve your energy until race-day. However don’t just sit around on your butt doing nothing. Activate yourself! In all runs and rides during race week include a few short intense efforts, but don’t make it too intense and not too long! 3x50m efforts during a short slow run, or 3x1min of cadence work, or 5x30sec spin-ups on the bike, or similar.

3. Check your gear.

If you haven’t done so already now is high time to check your race gear. Is everything in order? What are you going to wear? Have you tried it out? Is your bike in prime condition? All bolts tightened? Tires in good condition? Chain running smoothly? Gears? Batteries? Practise to repair a flat tire! Running gear, and sunnies, and…

Make a checklist, lay out all clothes and gear on the floor, walk through the race, Start – run – T1 – bike – T2 – run. What do you need, have you got it, have you tried it in training? With one week to go, there’s still time to make adjustments, but don’t wait until Saturday/Sunday.

4. Don’t overeat and don’t carbo load!

It’s race week. You’re probably tapering, doing less training than usually, so the body won’t need as much energy as the usual weeks of higher training load. Don’t put on a few kg’s this week by using the carbo-loading excuse or just plain over-eating. With that said – don’t eat to little either.

And Carbo loading, to a great extent in my experience the whole carboloading thing is a hoax. It doesn’t work. The amount of carbs that we can quickly access and use in a race-situation is minimal. So the extra loading that we need to do is also minimal. The rest of the energy used has to be produced from turning body fat or muscle mass into energy that the muscles can use, or by adding energy that can be taken up fast during the race. Eat just a little bit more carbs than usual on Saturday. That’s enough. And don’t shove in heaps of pasta on Saturday evening. That will more likely clog the system…

5. Nutrition plan

By now you hopefully have an idea of what nutrition you’ll bring on race day, when to eat it and how your body reacts to it. If not, I’d recommend to try a sport drink, gel or similar early in the week on a few work-outs and just pencil down a plan for when to take it during the race.

My nutrition plan will be something like this: Light breakfast at 4 am, probably a plain/cheese omelette and some water. Then drink moderate amounts of water until the race starts, nothing else. Just before the gun goes off I’ll take one Hammer Nutrition Gel. I’ll continue with Hammer gels and water throughout the race, so that I keep my energy intake at approximately 180cal/hr.

6. Have fun, enjoy.

Maybe most important. Remember to have fun! Enjoy the day, cheer on your competitors, be a sport! Say Thank you! to the volunteers. Before the gun goes, be on your toes, look around you, enjoy the atmosphere. At certain points during the race, be thankful: I’ll be thankful for completing one lap of the run, for reaching T1, for one lap one the bike, for reaching T2, for one lap on the second run and finally for reaching the finish line. Being thankful always works wonders for me, bringing new energy to a tired body and mind.

And finally smile when you cross the finish line. Remember to practise your finishing pose, and don’t cross the finish line with one hand on your Garmin, you can wait 10 meters with turning the Garmin off 🙂


Good luck to clients and non clients alike racing in Putrajaya coming Sunday and also good luck to the ones racing the WMW – Marathon and in Shah Alam next week!!!

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