Tri Coach Tuesday: Racing In Unexpected Weather

Eric Kenney of EK Endurance Coaching has these tips for dealing with and sub optimal conditions on race day.
plan B imageAcceptance. When your worst fears are all but certain. Go ahead, have a bit of a cry and a quick pity party, and then get to work. This first step is important. It’s not ideal, I know, but coming to terms and being present in reality is key. The minute you start hoping and what if-ing, your race will be over.
Adjusting Your Approach. Will the race be longer? Shorter? Will it be cooler, hotter? What different clothing will you need, nutrition, equipment? Will you need to go easier because the race will now be longer? Has the course changed? All of these things will have you scraping and re-doing what you have planned for the past several months. Again, it might be good to have short pity party here. Reality can be harsh sometimes. But for some, this is the moment. This is the time when the preparation is made to achieve your goals or let Mother Nature have its way.
Visualize your race in these new conditions, and think “What would I tell someone else to do? What would I tell a friend right now?” If you are not on the phone with your coach by now you should be. They should be doing these calculations with you and asking questions. I went through this with some athletes for the recent St George 70.3 and IM Canada last year. “What are you going to wear? Gloves? Hat? Can you get rid of that jacket if you need? Does it flap around a lot, or is it fairly aero?” You must visualize. What is this going to be like? And how will I respond? These moments, if done correctly, can have you much better prepared in the morning.
st george bike rain resizeNew Things to Remember. The situation is now different. You will have to do many things in the race that, under better circumstances, would be second nature, but are now unfamiliar and easy to forget.
You just spent some serious time making a new plan. Make a plan to keep that plan! A great example is hydration. In colder weather we don’t have a great thirst mechanism. You will have to force yourself to drink. Set an alarm on your watch? Right something on your hand?
Final Note. Everyone has the same conditions. Everyone has the same things to deal with. Who will adjust better? Who will overcome better?
In 1997 there was a basketball game. A championship game and one team’s star player was sick. He had the flu. I’m sure he was mad, upset and frustrated. I’m sure he asked why now, why me, etc. but at some point I’m sure he said what am I’m I gonna do? How do I deal with this? How do I adjust?
Michael Jordan scored 38 points that game and the Bulls won. After the game he said “I wanted it really bad.” I guess so.

Mike Ricci, head coach for D3 Multisport had these tips:
First rule of racing in bad weather is to be over prepared.
One thing my time in the Marine Corps taught me, was the importance of having more gear than you need. Always. So, if it’s 50 and cloudy and it could become 45 and rainy, you should have gear for those weather changes – gloves, knee warmers, rain jacket and even something to put over your ears since the ears are pretty sensitive to the cold. Our D3 Athletes at St George learned valuable lessons at Ironman St George 70.3:
1. Have more gear than you need, as noted above!
2. Keep eating and drinking to keep your body warm – it burns a lot of calories in the cold to stay warm!
3. Having a mantra to get you through the tough sections will pay off!
4. You can run well if you can’t feel your feet, so just keep plugging along until you can feel them or you hit the finish line – whatever comes first!
5. Never, ever give up as you don’t know how the weather is affecting your competitors. You may just end up on the podium even on a less than stellar day.

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