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Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make on Race Morning

Get a good night’s rest before your upcoming tri with this as your guide to avoid making these rookie mistakes on race morning!

Even after all the training and metal preparation you’ve put in for the day of the race, there are still things that can go wrong on race morning. We all know how chaotic race morning of a triathlon can be, but have no fear! Follow these few simple strategies to help your race day go much smoother when you avoid making these rookie mistakes on race morning.

1. Getting to Race Site Late

Get to the race site early so you have time to familiarize yourself with the transition areas and layout of the course. Arriving late will increase your pre-race jitters and take away the fun of race morning with your fellow athletes.

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make on Race Morning. Group yoga with fellow athletes at Rookie Tri

Warming up, overlooking Decker Lake!

2. Not Warming Up

At Rookie Tri, we have a group warm-up led by professional trainers to help make sure your body is properly warmed up for the race. This is important, so be sure to plan to have some time to get a warm-up in and get that blooding pumping before your tri!

3. Bringing More Than you Have to

Brining more items means to keep track of and more chance of losing an item. Avoid this common mistake and keep it simple by only bringing what you absolutely need.

Good looking gear set up on race morning

Tri gear set up in T1!

4. Forgetting Gear

You’d be surprised at how often folks forget their running shoes or helmet on race morning. This will cause you unnecessary stress, so have a checklist, or use ours!

5. Starting in the Wrong Gear

Being familiar with the course will help you determine which gear you should start the bike leg in. Starting in the right gear will help maximize your power right away and set you up for success throughout the bike portion.

Athlete drinking water from one of the aid stations on course

Quick stop tp hydrate at one of the aid stations!

6. Over Hydrating

We know it can be tempting to drink a bunch of water when you see an aid station on course. Determine how much fluids your body requires during training, so you don’t drink too much or too little on the day or your race.

7. Forgetting Sunscreen

You can’t avoid the Texas heat, but you can avoid the mistake of getting sun damage to your skin during a triathlon. Apply sunscreen on race morning before you get to the site. (This should also be done during your training!!)

8. Forgetting the FUN

Celebrating at the finish line party

After all, you signed up to have a great experience with friends and family around you. This should be easy with the infectious energy the athletes bring to The Rookie Tri who are always willing to help a fellow athlete if needed.

Use this as your guide for your next tri to avoid these common rookie mistakes triathletes on race morning and set yourself up for a fun-filled, hassle-free race morning!

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make During Training

Get more bang for your buck during your upcoming tri by addressing these rookie mistakes triathletes make during training

This year we celebrate 17 years of swim-bike-run fun at the 17th Annual Rookie Tri on May 3, 2020. We have seen just about everything you can think of in those 17 years, but we still see athletes make the same mistakes time and time again. Don’t let these mistakes get in your way of making progress on your training journey. Use this list to avoid the most common training mistakes made by triathletes to help your future race mornings go off without a hitch!

1. Selecting the Wrong Race

Go short before you go long. Your first triathlon is a learning experience, so ease yourself into the sport by completing a short distance tri like Rookie Tri. Once you’ve found your race, train for the distance you signed up for. The training leading up to the race will give you an idea of what to expect during the tri and help you determine which areas require more training.

2. Failing to Have a Training Plan

Training hard and logging those miles!

Now what? Find a training plan! We know it’s tough to find time to train for three different sports, so make it easier on yourself by finding a free online training plan. There are tons of free training plans created by professional coaches to guide you during your training. Using a training plan will ensure you divide up the training as needed to have you race-day ready.

3. Not Learning to Pace

Overexerting yourself at the start of the race will hurt you during the rest of the race. Pacing yourself throughout training is the best way to know your pace for each discipline. Practicing pacing is key to a strong finish and successful race.

4. Not Training Your Weakness

Ignoring your least favorite portion during your training will only hurt you on race day. It’s natural to avoid training your least favorite discipline and spend the majority of your time on your strongest. Improve your performance on race day by preparing for your least favorite discipline to eliminate any uncertainties you have.

Getting into bike gear in transition

Getting into gear in transition

5. Not Practicing for Transitions

Practicing transitions during training will give you the best idea of how long it takes you to execute transitions on race day. Some athletes leave their shoes clipped into their bike for a quicker transition. Practicing will help you figure out what works best for you in the least amount of time.

6. Not Knowing the Rules

Is your race wetsuit legal? Can you wear headphones? Don’t get disqualified by not knowing the basic rules of triathlon. Look over the USAT rules before starting your training so there are no surprises to throw you off your A-game on race day.

7. Not Doing an Open Water Swim Before Race Morning

Open water is vastly different than pool training. How you do on the swim sets the tone for the rest of your race. Plan some open-water swims into your training so you know exactly what to expect on race day. Go an extra step and get a group of other athletes who are training to do a mock swim with you!

Celebrating at the finish line party!

Whether you started your journey to get in shape or challenge yourself the most important thing to remember during training is to have FUN. Trust your training and enjoy the experience! This should be easy with the infectious energy the athletes bring to The Rookie Tri.

Use this as your guide leading up to your next tri to avoid these common rookie mistakes triathletes make during training. That way you can focus on having a great time and hopefully be inspired to continue your triathlon journey!

A Pro’s Guide to Race Week

Implement this race week checklist for your best Rookie Tri

by: Des Ficker Berry

The days before a big race can be stressful and hectic. Your mind might start to do funny things and your body can feel like it is playing tricks on you. That’s why you should closely follow a race week checklist.

I have had my absolute best races feeling slug-like several days out from a big race. I have learned to ignore signs of fatigue. You should know that your body is shutting down and resting to prepare for the big fight! I have created a race week checklist of how I spend my time and things I recommend doing five days out. Use some or all of my advice leading up to Rookie Tri!

Tuesday (5 days out)

  • last hard swim session of regular length, get in a set of 200s or 100s for some strength and speed
  • track session 4-6 x 800m with 90 secs rest, feeling good and strong but not going all out
  • sleep more than usual this night and eat more fruits and veggies, less starchy carbs

Wednesday (4 days out)

  • if needed, get a final tune-up for bike (schedule with James Balentine of City Limit Cycles and he’ll come to you!)
  • purchase any last-minute items you might need (gels, hydration, sunglasses, etc.)
  • 1-hour bike ride with some fast, 1-2 minute pickups at race pace
  • easy run and stretch
  • begin packing with that packing list!

Thursday (3 days out)

  • wake up and take ten minutes to imagine a perfect race in your head, down to each detail, this also helps you remember everything you need for the race
  • short swim with some fast 50s and 100’s
  • easy spin on the bike, if you have time
  • pack for the race (make a list and check it twice!)
  • begin adding in more carbs and thinking a lot about hydration

Friday (2 days out)

  • depending on your work/travel schedule, make this day very easy workout-wise, fit in a run or a swim if you can
  • hydrate and eat well all day long
  • dinner is important, make sure you get plenty of good carbs and lots of sleep with positive thoughts flowing about your race

Saturday (1 day out)

  • get easy and short workouts in as soon as you wake up (all three sports), no more than an hour of working out total
  • hydrate and eat a hearty breakfast and lunch, cut fiber intake completely on this day (low on salad and fruits )
  • pick up your packet!
  • lay out all of your race gear, organize it well so you can be done with it and relax
  • have a good dinner with no new foods!
  • do not go to bed stuffed or hungry
  • watch a movie as you go to bed that will help you get a good night’s sleep

Sunday (Race day!)

  • wake up and start moving around, jog a little after a coffee to get the-you-know-what flowing
  • eat an easily digestible breakfast (mine is always rice bread with peanut butter and honey)
  • carry a snack with you and some sports drink to drink one hour before go time

Get out there and kick some booty! You are all ready to go and have some FUN!!!

Desiree’s extensive recognition list:

2018 – qualified for 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials at California International Marathon (2:39:17)

2011 – 1st place Austin Marathon (2:50:35)

2010 – 1st place Cap10K (35:36)

2010 – 1st place Austin Half Marathon (1:17:41)

2009 – 10th place New York City Marathon (2:39:30)

2009 – 2nd place Austin Half Marathon (1:19:23)

2008 – qualified for Olympic Marathon Trials; finished in 2:48:11

2007 – 2nd place Austin Marathon (2:40:28)

2006 – 2nd place IRONMAN World Championship – Kona (9:28:02)

6 Tactics to Calm Your Pre-Race Jitters

Pre-race jitters will happen, calm them with our advice

Whether Rookie Triathlon is the first triathlon of your life or the first tri of your season, you’re likely to experience pre-race jitters. Don’t worry, this is normal! You’re excited, chatting with old friends and making new ones, scurrying to make your transition perfect, anxious to get in the water, checking off items on your to-do list. You’ve trained for this moment and want everything to go as smoothly as possible. So do we! That’s why we’ve compiled six tactics you can use to calm those pre-race jitters.

Plan race morning the night before

Take the time to plan out race morning when you’re not in a rush to get to Decker Lake. Follow our general advice and make race morning as smooth as possible! Completing this the day before ensures you have all the time you need. Start with leaving your house and lay out everything you’ll need to return home with your Rookie Tri medal! Think about transition, the swim, the bike, the run. Items to focus on: race bib, hydration, nutrition. If you’re a visual person, make a list and check it twice.

Remember your training

You’ve spent hours in the pool, logged miles on the bike, completed several brick workouts. You’re ready for this! It can be easy to think about what’s ahead, but it’s just as easy to think about what you’ve accomplished so far. If you have a game plan, go over that in your head. Focus on your breathing, make it mimic when you’re in the water. Think about your technique in the water. Look for items to focus on when you sight. If you had a particularly good bike ride, think about what went right on that ride.

Listen to music

This is used by many triathletes! You could jam out to the tunes playing at Rookie Tri or you could throw some headphones on and click play on your favorite album. You can’t use headphones during the race, so if you want a song to get stuck in your head make sure it’s one of the final songs you hear. Pro tip: if you find yourself with some extra time, find a quiet spot to sit down, listen to some tunes, close your eyes, and relax.

Complete the pre-race warmup

Complete the pre-race warmup with Camp Gladiator instructors to eliminate pre-race jitters.

Remove pre-race jitters by actually getting your blood flowing! Listen to the Camp Gladiator instructors and complete the pre-race warmup. You’ll get loose and start to feel good. Really focus on the activity you’re doing, make your form as perfect as possible. Zeroing in on what you’re doing keeps you from thinking about all the what-ifs that lead to pre-race jitters. Pro tip: add a deep stretch after the warmup to further loosen your muscles.

Get a friend to complete Rookie Tri with you

Has someone trained with you and showed you the ropes? Great! Have them join you at Rookie Tri. Having someone you know with you race morning brings familiarity. You’re more likely to be comfortable when they’re around. They can help you remember this pre-race jitters list! You could also talk about where you’ll celebrate and what you’ll eat/drink when you leave the finish line festival.

Invite friends and family to cheer for you

This is our favorite remedy for pre-race jitters. They don’t have to complete Rookie Tri, but invite friends and family to Decker Lake so they can cheer for you! They can make signs, take photos/video, and cheer for you at several different locations, including swim start, transition, and the finish line. Pro tip: you can hang out with friends and family before your swim wave begins.

Why You Should Hydrate Before Race Day

Don’t wait until race day to hydrate

nuun will be at Rookie Triathlon on Sunday, May 6th, ready to hydrate every triathlete. They will have two aid stations to ensure you have the electrolytes needed during your race. One aid station will be at transition and can be accessed before the swim and before the bike. There are no aid stations on the bike course. Take any nutrition or liquids that you want with you before you exit transition. The other aid station will be at Mile 1 of the run course. Aid stations will offer nuun and water. But don’t wait until race day to start hydrating!

Hydrate with nuun performance before Rookie Tri.

nuun performance contains balanced electrolytes and carbs.

Proper hydration is a building block to leading a healthier lifestyle. Most triathletes know that. But increasing your fluid intake before Rookie Triathlon can provide several benefits on race day.

  • reduce the possibility of dehydration
    • which can lead to a decrease in physical performance, muscle cramps, nausea, and fatigue
  • prepare for sweat loss
    • you’re going to sweat, prepare for the loss of sodium with an increase in electrolytes before and on race day
  • make sure you’re “topped off”
    • if you hydrate like you train, you’ll feel more comfortable if you skip an aid station (on purpose or not)
  • get a good night’s sleep on Saturday
    • proper and regular hydration has many benefits, including getting better sleep
  • lock in a hydration routine
    • most athletes like to have a routine, this will allow you to start the race hydrated and with an empty bladder

Increase your water and electrolyte intake several days before race day. You should drink anywhere from 10-12 glasses of fluid a day. Fluids consumed should be 50% water, 50% nuun. Drink a glass of water, then drink a glass of nuun. Having water filtration products in the house will save you a lot of money on bottled water. Go to Water Filter Way for reviews on such products. Having nuun tablets handy allows you to turn any bottle of water into an electrolyte-enhanced drink that is gluten-free and made from plant-based materials. Give their nuun performance a try. It contains a new formula that has increased carbohydrates.

This doesn’t allow you to skip aid stations on race day and avoid hydrating! Still hydrate during the race. This is meant to be another tool in your training as Sunday, May 6th, nears.