Your training should become more like racing the closer you get to your goal. So whether you are racing short- middle- or long distance. You need to get the feeling for how your body and mind will react simulating race-mode. Welcome to your Big day of training!
The short version
Wake up early and lead up to swimming just as in racing. Swim as you plan on race-day.
Rest for 90 minutes and eat something light.
Bike at your planned race-effort for 80% of your predicted race-time.
Rest for 60-90 minutes and eat something light, focus on fluids. Stay off your feet!
Depending on your chosen distance, run for 50% of the time you have predicted for your race day run.
Rest and think of all the useful insights you got from this day of training. They will help you prepare well for your race!
Further reading on your big day
During the build phase of our training programs, our clients have a planned Big day, where we simulate racing, but in a way so that it won’t take away from the following sessions. We have one Big day during the race-specific training, that one being even more like your planned race day.
The sessions, as in the swim, the bike and the run is the easy part. With sessions being somewhat straight forward. The focus here is not just training in a high volume. Instead, you want to dial in your plan for everything surrounding your race day.
Wake up early and have the breakfast you are planning on having. As an example, Most Ironman races start at 07:00, so to simulate that. Wake up at 04:30 to eat a light breakfast. At 07, start your swim as racelike as possible. If you plan on sprinting the start, do it in training as well.
After the swim, take a 90-minute break. Eat a light snack, and stay off of your feet.
Depending on your planned race-distance and ambition, this ride will be a little bit different. But as a general rule, ride at your planned race effort for 80% of the time it will take you to bike during competition.
Since biking is such a big part of the triathlon, around 50% of the time at the race will be spent in the saddle. You need to be focused during this part. Not only should you try to ride at race intensity. You should also take in energy like you where racing. Your mind will wander off, that’s normal. When it happens, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back into it. Ask yourself these questions: Am I thirsty? Do I need more energy? Is my power output dialed in? How’s my breathing? How do my legs feel?
After the bike ride, take a 60 to 90-minute break. Eat something light, mostly liquids. Keep off of your feet.
Depending on what distance you are racing. Your run should be between 20-30 minutes (sprint), 1 hour (middle) or 2 hours (long-distance).
Start your run slow. You will probably be quite stiff from the bike leg. Don’t worry, you will get into it! Wear what you will be wearing during racing. Same shoes, same clothes and other gear you are planning on wearing on race day. It is a good idea to plan your run so that you come back to a place where you can have your own energy station multiple times.
It’s the same as with the bike. You want to keep focused and ask yourself these questions often: Am I thirsty? Do I need more energy? Is my power output dialed in? How’s my breathing? How do my legs feel?
Ending your Big day
When you have finished your run, take some time to come back from your race-mode. This has truly been a BIG DAY. And now you will have gained lots of insights into how it will feel like, and what works for you. Make a list, writing down some learnings on what worked for you.
Saturdays are perfect
Planning your big days, try to do it on Saturdays. Then you can take Sunday off and do other things. I suggest one of these two activities:
- Bake something from scratch and treat your loved ones with the newly baked goods.
- Ask somebody to teach you about their passion, and if they want to share it with you.