Three weeks… that’s it.
Right now in three weeks time those racing Ironman Australia will be likely having the day off and getting those race bags laid out and ready, the day will be so close you can taste it but still far enough away that the simmering pot of nerves hasn’t quite yet overflowed. The excitement is real. Can you feel it?
… but you still have three weeks and the ‘training’ is definitely not yet all said and done. Lots can still be gained or lost in this time, sure there may not be huge amounts of fitness to be gained, but fitness can be polished and it can also be lost.
There are things (below) that you could do now which have the potential to derail your race day or make give it greater opportunity to shine. I truly hope that your training has been of such that your nearly but not quite chomping at the bit to release it on race day.
1. Neglecting post session recovery nutrition
The effort you put into training is worth naught if you don’t put in the same effort with regards to your post session refueling and rehydration. This is where you provide essential nutrients to repair and make the most out of the training you have just done and get the body ready for the next session. This is also where you truly carbo-load and not in race week. Please read the link becuase you cannot load your muscles full of glycogen in race week. Sure it sounds good, but its physiologically impossible to increase your muscles glycogen capacity.
Fuel you body with the nutrients it needs such as complex carbohydrates and protein within the optimal 30 minute post session window. Ensure you add alkaline foods such as fruit or vegetables at this time to reduce the blood acidosis levels.
2. Eating what ever you like
Just becuase your an endurance athlete and are burning tons of calories, it doesn’t mean you can throw anything down your gullet and get away with it. Sure you body may ‘look’ the part but is it really functional and healthy? Mark Webber is not going to put discount fuel into his F1 car becuase he knows the cars performance will suffer.
Real food has real nutrients and these nutrients provide the body with optimal fuel and processes for performance functioning. It’s a pretty simple equation. Garbage in equals garbage out.
So in this last three weeks, eat exceptionally well. Choose whole foods, minimise the sugars and all those pro-inflammatory foods. Your nutrition could be a major player if you’re holding onto niggling injuries.
3. Give your muscles some massage loving.
Your muscle tissue needs some love to. Feeding it the right nutrients gives it love, but we also need to unlock the tissue by providing compression (massage). This compression coupled with deep breathing will bring blood flow and oxygen to the tissue which will help it regain it’s lost elasticity. Elasticity = power.
Schedule some massages as they are also a good stress release. I’m not a fan of heavy handed massage as it can create more scar tissue which is the opposite of what we’re aiming to achieve. We want to stimulate and not annihilate the muscle tissue.
4. Staying up late watching the idiot box (TV) or browsing the internet forums
Sleep is crucial to your performance. The more pre-midnight sleep hours you get the better. It’s not hard but you need to let your body truly recover and the most recovery happens at night while your sleeping. In this day and age we’re over stimulated we gadgets galore, noise and bright lights. Spend an hour or so winding down with lights turned down, conversation with your other half and time with the kids and you’ll find you sleep much better. TV’s shouldn’t live in bedrooms!
5. Visualise your perfect race
Spend some time daily running through your optimal race in your head. See what you want to see happen, make the image as real and clear as possible. The first time I went sub9 I had been doing visualisation daily and within my training sessions. When I ran down that finish chute in IMWA in 08, and saw the clock I thought, hang on, I had been here before!
All high performers use visualisation in their training. Believe in yourself and the training you have done and by loosing yourself in the moment, great things can happen.
Go on and make the most of this crucial last few weeks. See you in Port.