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Race Prep: 5 Tips for an A-Race

Countdown to IM Lake Placid: Blog #4 of 6

The training is done and the big day is nearly here. How you approach the days leading up to your A-race can have a large impact on the race itself. I’ll be up in Lake Placid tomorrow, but even now in crazy NYC, I’m trying to stay as relaxed as possible prior to the race start on Sunday morning.

Here are my 5 keys to preparing for an A-Race:

You won’t sleep on race night, and that’s okay. Frankly if you sleep like lamb the night before an ironman, I’m a little concerned. (You should be anxious and excited!) It is the night before the night before the race that matters. Try to get 8+ hours.

Reduce anxiety
You have no time or need to be stressed at this point. If something or someone is stressing you out, stay away and stay relaxed.

Stay off your feet
Whether you are going to run a marathon or compete in a triathlon, you are going to be racing a long way in the days to come. Now is not the time to walk around town or go for a workout. Your training is done. There is nothing you can do to increase your fitness between now and the race, so save all the energy you can. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to burn any pent-up energy on the course.

Take everything in and enjoy
After all, we undertake these events to test our limits and have a great experience. Go to the expo and soak up the heightened vibe. Out on the course, take in the experience, high five some spectators and thank the volunteers. It is amazing how contagious enthusiasm is and what it can do for you when you are in a dark place.

A far more accomplished long distance triathlete than I once told me to take a moment on each of the disciplines to zone out and reflect on the experience: all the dedicated training, the reasons why you signed up for the event in the first place, etc. This is likely the best piece of advice I have ever received in regards to endurance racing, and I make sure to follow it every long distance event.

What are your keys to being prepared for your A-race? And who’s going up to LP this weekend? We’ll see you there! More blogs to come this week… stay tuned.

Finish Line PT is sponsoring local elite triathlete Garen Riedel this year in his quest to return to the Ironman World Championship in Kona. In 2012, Garen was the top New York finisher at the Ironman U.S. Championship in New York City, finishing 28th overall — the 5th overall amateur and 2nd in his age group.


  1. blazemanmomJuly 24, 2013

    Have a great race on Sunday Garen…we will be rooting all the way for you!!!!!!!!!

    bmom and bdad

  2. Pasta MonsterJuly 24, 2013

    The most important factor in determining race day performance for me is whether I have enjoyed a dinner at Olive Garden the night before.

    Call me crazy, but something about those bread sticks just really revs my engine. I have never eaten at Olive Garden and not PR’d the following day.

    You should really try it. And bring a date.

  3. GarenJuly 24, 2013

    Thanks Mary Ann and Bob!

  4. GarenJuly 24, 2013

    Pasta Monster — Ha, love it! Unfortunately I don’t think there is an Olive Garden within 100 miles of Lake Placid so it looks like I am out of luck.

    We all certainly have our own quirks and superstitions (I have some whacky ones to be sure!), but your reply brings up an important point I probably should have made in the post above…

    Don’t mess with success!

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