Plan for the worst, expect the best: managing race day expectations

Next up on the race calendar is Ironman Western Australia. Last year we talked about some of the fabulous places to visit while you’re in Busso. As you all probably know, Busselton is home to Bindi HQ and we can’t help it, we are totally in love with this beautiful part of WA. (#sorrynotsorry)

But as IMWA race day grows nearer and triathletes are making final adjustments to their race plans and nutrition , we thought we’d talk about the elephant in the room – or in this case – the sharks in the water.

Last year the swim leg was aborted and hundreds of athletes had to exit the ocean via a panicky climb up ladders on the jetty when a shark was spotted 800m out from the beach.

The mass exodus of athletes from the ocean was a sight to see, and the atmosphere of tension and confusion palpable as they huddled on the hot beach, awaiting instruction from the race directors.

When the cancellation of the swim was announced you could feel the atmosphere change as thousands of athletes realised the race they had trained for, planned for, and made sacrifices for, wasn’t going to happen the way they wanted.

For many, there was the feeling that, “well, this doesn’t count now,” and “it’s not a full IM distance, why just do the bike/run combo?” and, “how can you qualify for the IM World Champs when you haven’t completed the distance?”

These were comments overheard and passed on to me, and they got me thinking.

Preparing for the unexpected should absolutely be part of your race day planning.

You never know what race day will bring. The last few years are testament to that here in South West WA.

From sharks and bush fires to howling winds, torrential rain and choppy waters, the last few IMWA and Busselton 70.3 races have thrown up their fair share of challenges.

So how do you cope?

Race day rarely goes to plan, we all know that for sure, and given most triathletes display tremendous resilience and strength throughout punishing training blocks, the best advice we can give is this: just breathe.

If a challenge arises (yes #nature, I’m talking to you), take a moment, refocus your goal and try to take it in your stride.

If the swim is cancelled, focus on not going out too hard in the bike and blowing up on the run (I can’t tell you how many athletes did this last year).

If the bike leg is shortened, run your heart out. If you get a mechanical, think about the energy you are saving for that all-important run.

Most of all race hard, race with pride and cross that line with a smile on your face!  Ultimately we are very lucky to even be able to compete in this sport.

Triathlon is an outdoor sport, and sometimes the elements hit back, along with other unforeseen challenges. By preparing yourself mentally for the possibility of last minutes changes, you’ll be in a better position to readjust and complete your race the way you want to.

Whatever happens on Dec 2, I’ll be out there on course with you by racing the 70.3 and then cheering my little heart out for the Ironman #bindicrew. So let’s go do this!

Happy training!

Belinda x