Perfectly prepared for the big race

Valentin Belz 27. April 2022

If you want to make your major goal for the season a success, you would do well to start with a preparatory race. We'll show you why.

If you regularly take part in races, you’ll know "how the land lies” for better or worse. Nothing can phase you because everything from your journey and warm-up to competition nutrition goes like clockwork. There aren’t any question marks over your equipment either. For those who register for exactly one race a year, it’s a completely different matter in the sense of "one year - one challenge" or even "one race - many question marks".

Practice makes perfect

In order to gain confidence and feel good about tackling your major goal, we recommend you compete in at least one race beforehand as a preparatory competition. This is ideally half to two-thirds as long and takes place four to eight weeks beforehand, so you still have enough time to recover and, if necessary, make one or two adjustments to your training.

Test the following 5 points in particular during the preparatory race:

1. Tapering: 

Before a race, you should significantly reduce your training workload to ensure you are in full possession of your physical and mental strength on day X. It's also worth reducing your training before the preparatory race to ensure you experience the special feeling that comes from an advanced state of recovery and pre-race jitters, so you won't become needlessly unsettled.

2. Competition nutrition:

The longer your race, the more important your nutrition. Try out everything during training beforehand and in the preparatory race at the latest so you don't experience any nasty surprises when it really matters. Check the organiser's website to find out what's on offer in your major race. Test whether these products agree with you and then check in particular whether you can get enough energy from the provided refreshment points. If not, bring your own gels and/or bars.

3. Equipment:

A preparatory race is perfect for testing your equipment beforehand. Do your shoes and the new shirt fit? Do you need new clothing? What will you wear if it is going to be particularly wet or hot? This also applies to equipment: no experiments during the competition!

4. Dividing up the race:

When you’re in racing mode and engulfed by all the impressions and emotions, it can be difficult to choose the right speed at the start of the race. Starting too fast is therefore often pre-programmed and can be fatal for a successful "project". It is therefore all the more important that you know in advance what you’re capable of and stick to this during the race. The best performance is always achieved when the tempo can be increased in the second half!

5. Pre-race nutrition:

Your major race is not likely to take place on your doorstep. This means that for the last one to two (or even more) meals, compromises may need to be made and solutions prepared. Try to simulate this precisely in the preparatory race. Contemplate what you can still eat the night before the race if, for example, the serving in the restaurant is too small. Or think about how you can fill your reserves in the morning if the hotel buffet doesn't have your usual breakfast on offer.