Race Day

Don’t change your bike on race day

Growing up I played a lot of soccer, as such I had a good cardiovascular capacity. I had also been a successful swimmer through elementary school, and so in junior high school I decided to ‘test the waters’ by entering a triathlon. I spent many hours swimming, cycling and running in preparation for my first triathlon, and was feeling confident going into my competition. A couple of days before the event my dad bought a new mountain bike for himself (I had been training on an old 10 speed road bike), it was a really nice bike, so I asked him if could use it for my triathlon that was coming up and he said yes.

Race day arrived and I was both nervous and excited. The first event of a triathlon is the swim, and some people will argue it’s the toughest of the three events, but my training had paid off and I was the first one out of the water! I ran over to where my bike (my dad’s brand new mountain was parked), put my shoes on and started pedaling. I quickly realized that I was working really hard but wasn’t going anywhere, although my dad’s new bike was a nice bike, it was a mountain bike, not a road/triathlon bike, it had big knobby tires, and forced me to sit in a much more upright position.

Despite being first out of the water, I ended up being the last one to come in for the cycling portion of the race. I did my best to catch up on the run, but I was too far behind, and did not finish well. How does this story relate to lifting? I have coached athletes in the lifting sports at various levels; (worlds, nationals, regionals, provincials, and local meets) and on numerous occasions I have seen athletes “change their bike on race day”; they suddenly change how they have been doing things for weeks because they are at a competition, why?

I am going to suggest that as coaches and athletes we should be seeking to have our training mimic competition as much as possible, so that when competition comes we feel comfortable, confident and prepared. Don’t change how you do things on competition day.