Racing well is like any thing else you want to master: you have to practice….A LOT. But, in addition, you need knowledge and support to know what skills to work on and the types of workouts and recovery sessions to use. For more than 5 years now, I’ve had specific coaches to help me with all the aspects of my race. I have a swim coach, I have had a specific bike coach, and I currently work with a former pro triathlete who understands HOW to put all three sports together for a fantastic race. It’s amazing to learn from others who have knowledge and skills you need to acquire: and just like in business, having mentors is really critical for success in athletics.
In addition to my “people”, I have books, blogs and podcasts that have been extremely helpful on everything from recovery strategies, to mental aspects of racing. I also watch other athletes race. From US Swimming Championships to the Tour De France and ITU Triathlon races, I observe how the best perform and I pay attention to the equipment they’re using.
Basically, I learn from every workout and race that I do. When I race, there are always things that go well, and things I could have done better and this informs my next workout or training block. Every race has different challenges so I make my workouts leading up to important races match the needs of the course. For example, if an upcoming race has a lot of turns on the bike course, I make sure that I practice smooth, fast turns so that I’m ready for them and don’t lose speed. And, when all goes well, the race results speak for themselves.