Monday, February 1, 2016

Early Racing Equals Learning

We have come to a point in the season where some athlete are getting ready to race for the first time while some already have a race in the bank. I have always believed that racing, especially early season racing, provides a variety of learning opportunities if we are simply willing to be honest with ourselves and the evaluation of our performance. What I find is the less experienced the athlete, the more important racing is to cement and improve good race day habits and build confidence.

So what can we can learn and identify from early season races?

  • Equipment - Does our equipment function (and fit) properly so that it is conducive to getting the best from your body on race day? (goggles, wetsuit, helmet, wheels, race kit, race shoes etc.)

  • Nutrition - From pre-race through the race are we processing and getting energy to sustain our efforts on race day?

  • Emotional control - From nerves to using adrenalin and emotion properly it’s good to revisit those feelings so that they can be channeled properly towards your best performance.

  • Pacing - With my athletes, our goal for early races is often to simply “swim and ride in a way that allows us to run well.” Now, run “well” is different for everyone but ideally it’s running in a manner that is in line with our training and that sees us negative split the race or hold even pacing across the run.

  • Benchmarking - On the heels of pacing, if we execute races well we create a platform to not only know where our fitness is but it creates a framework (of data) to properly create sessions through the next training block.

You all love to race but we should be sure to make the most of those early racing and learning opportunities to create a foundation that propels you to even more success across the year and beyond. Finally, if you make a mistake in your early races don’t be disappointed, walk away knowing you know how and what to improve for your peak period of racing.

Race on!

Dave Latourette is a full time triathlon coach living in Santa Rosa, California, who works with athletes from newcomer to elite. His top athletes have won USAT Age Group National Championships and raced in World Championship events that include the ITU World Championship and the Ironman World Championship. You can learn more about Dave and follow him at:, his blog, or on Twitter @dklatourette
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