5 Mistakes to Avoid on Race Day

There’s nothing worse than finishing your key event and feeling like you didn’t get best out of yourself. You got dropped from a bunch you’d usually have no trouble keeping up with, your time was slower than expected or you’d simply gone faster in training the week before.

It’s such a common problem with competitive athletes who leave their best performances in training and can’t back up the number when it matters most. 

Be it stress related or lack of preparation these are the top 5 mistakes we see our endurance athletes making when they start out on their journey with us.

1 – Letting stress get the better of you 

Our previous blog “Stress, Gut Function and the Endurance Athlete” delves into the biomechanics of how stress can disrupt digestion and cause performance hampering issues for some athletes. Psychological stress can speed up gastric emptying leading to poor absorption of nutrients and an urgency to go. 

2 – Trying new race food on race day 

Racing with a team who use different products than you’re used to is such an easy mistake to avoid.

Different sports products will use various ratios of carbohydrate sources (eg. glucose and fructose) and your ability to absorb them can be dependent on whichever you typically use in training. Changing up that ratio or increasing the concentration of carbs can upset your ability to process the energy drink or gel. Especially if you are some-one who typically struggles with GI issues.

The same goes for supplements – nobody wants disaster pants on the start line of a TT because they’ve overloaded on Bicarbonate of Soda – we always have our athletes test ergogenic aids in training so they know what works for them.

3 – Forgetting about your recovery routine 

It’s easy to get distracted when you finally get to see teammates but that’s not an excuse to abandon your recovery nutrition. Especially in a stage race when it’s crucial to replenish fuel stores as soon as possible after the event.

4 – Thinking that your breakfast will be your main supply of fuel during the event

This will depend on the start time of course, however it will be your meals the day before which will form the basis of your fuel for an endurance event. We’ve all heard of carb loading where mountains of pasta are consumed the day before a race. Practically this may not be possible and some of our athletes (females in particular) don’t see a benefit in taking on huge amounts of carbs.

There will be a strategy that will work for you – again – it’s all about practice and understanding the evidence.

5 – Forgetting about hydration 

Especially in the rain. Dehydration is the nemesis of the endurance athlete – it hampers so many processes;

  • impacts decision making
  • causes your heart rate and body temperature to increase at a faster rate
  • decreases the amount of water in your blood making it harder to get that vital oxygen to the working muscle so your perception of effort goes up.

Sure racing can be stressful – but getting into a drinking routine during training and practicing it – makes the whole thing second nature.

Where do you go from here?

We know how confusing nutrition, hydration and performance supplements can be – that is why our 12 Week Performance Nutrition Program is so popular right now. We have the tools to translate all the science and evidence into practical situations.

We can help you figure out the best strategy for your event, be it a 5k park run, a sprint triathlon or a 3 day cycling stage race we’ll help you get the most out of your performance.

Get in touch to find out more about our Endurance Performance Nutrition Program.