The Best Way To Lose A Race!
We have all been there, months of training and planning mounting to this one race and we destroy it with in the first minute.
Starting Out Too Fast
It is something so simple to avoid, yet escapes 90% of amateur racers (probably 100% of men amateurs and only 80% of the women – as I have learned they are smarter and less egotistical.) So why is it that in training we make a plan and then the gun goes off and all of it goes out the window within the first minute. Do we have supermen complexes thinking races are so much different than training?
As experience will teach you, the tortoise will beat the hare, more the steady than the slow, but you catch my drift. So in knowing this, as I do, why do I still continue to start off too fast and finish so slow? Well, sometimes it is because I believe my training has prepared me better, other times I don’t realize how tired my body actually is, sometimes it is nutrition, but most notably it is that I get caught up in the competition. I don’t bike my own race! I want to be first! I don’t want that guy (or girl) to pass me! I want to give myself a chance at my dream goal time! I have a lot of excuses…
So… how do I overcome this complex? Brutal honesty and experience!
The more I race the more I learn. I am realistic about how much I have trained, how I feel and how the elements are going to affect me. Hotter days = slower times + more hydration required and I adjust accordingly. The only way you are really going to learn this is through experience and testing out different theories. I have attempted several 1 hour time trials to finally convince myself that starting out slower than I think produces much better results! It only took me 7 years!
Make a Plan and Stick To It
Before I race, I look at the weather, and then make a nutrition plan, a hydration plan and a race/effort plan and then I try to stick to it the best I can with only minor adjustments. What you eat on a long ride and how much you drink is just as critical as how much effort you put out. I have a power meter so it is very easy to measure effort; however, most people use heart rate. Whatever the measure try to be realistic. Training days will give you an accurate gauge of the race day!
Concentrate on your own pace and do not get caught up in the moment and understand that adrenaline can mask actual effort – especially in the beginning!