Top Training Tips for Your “A” Race

Sometimes we get the most straightforward question of all from triathletes – What are the most important things I can do to improve my performance for my “A” race?

Here’s some items to consider for your upcoming event, assuming you have at least 3 months before race day:

  • Maintain consistency: If you’ve been missing a few workouts in the past month or so, that’s ok. Now is the time to buckle down and hit the key sessions. If you’re doing a long-distance event like a 70.3/140.6 and feel strapped for time, make sure you not only get the volume but also include extended efforts at race intensity. One of the biggest mistakes I see athletes make (especially when training for a half ironman) is to avoid race-pace efforts.
  • Learn the course: Do your homework! Ask questions of teammates, training groups, Facebook communities and race pages, even google. There’s lots of knowledge out there. Removing uncertainty from the equation means more energy devoted to race performance.
  • Then, simulate the environment in training: Research what the weather conditions might be on game day and train for them. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
  • Preview the course if possible: Ride, and/or run the course you’ll be racing if at all possible. If not, find similar terrain near you or mimic it indoors. At very least, identify key sections (e.g. climbs, descents, turns, etc.) and practice those areas several times. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to pre-swim any course; however, a swim is often dictated by day-of weather conditions anyway. Smart trainers and programs like Zwift, Rouvy, and Trainer Road can also be set to mimic race elevations and/or intensities.
  • Practice your nutrition: Train your gut now! During your key weekly training sessions, use the hydration and nutrition products that you intend to have on race day. Use them at the same time prior to and during your training session as you would on race day. If your race is a 70.3 or 140.6 distance, it’s likely you may not be able to physically carry all of your nutrition with you. If that’s the case you must try and practice the nutrition that will be available on course before-hand. Do not try to swallow a new carbohydrate sports drink during the marathon of an ironman or be prepared to answer to the GI gods. We also recommend pre-loading electrolytes with nuun active the days before a key session if your race is likely to be hot and humid!
  • Test your equipment: Now is the time to be spending more time on and in your race day setup. Make sure you’re getting a significant amount of time in aero, and test the goggles and race kit you plan to use. Break in those shoes, socks, visors, glasses, clothing, and any race belt you plan to wear.
  • Visualize race day: Whether it’s during a workout or closing your eyes before bed, begin to imagine yourself in the race. I like to picture myself in a race once a week during a training session. When something bad happens in my mind, I start the visualization over and counter the challenge with positive solutions. It will give you a quiet confidence before the race and calm you in the face of adversity during the race.
  • Rally your support crew: Begin to plan for family and friends now to eliminate race week stress.  They’re at the event to support you so if you need help with research or logistics, lean on them!

An earlier version of this article was written for Nuun Hydration. David & Sara are proud #nuunELITE members. Check them out –

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