Race Week Preparation - How do you prepare your body the week leading up to a race?
I had planned on a great post about the type of clothing to wear when riding. (What you wear when riding is really important, especially in the heat we have here in Texas.)
But then I got a great message on the Texas Mountain Bike Trails Facebook page, it was a question about race preparation. The question is listed below, and I edited out the readers name with some really sweet looking blue boxes.
We’ve tweeted and communicated before, mainly about how great the site is. Anyways, this last Sunday I rode OCNP and completed my first MTB race. It was hot, it was hard, my legs were dead, and I could barely keep going. But for some reason all I could think when I crossed the line is “When can I do this again?”
So I noticed you recently moved up to Cat 2 and I have a lot of question about training, nutrition, and generally preparing for races. I didn’t finish last this weekend but it would be a lot more fun to be more competitive. So basically I’m just curious as to how you trained and everything for your Cat 3 races. Any help is appreciated.
Thanks! Love the site, you’re doing a great job.
2 side notes…
- Congratulations to this reader on completing their first race! Oak Cliff Nature Preserve was my first race a few years ago and it was a blast. So glad to see another local racer enjoying the same experience.
- For anyone not yet following the Texas Mountain Bike Trails facebook page you can get there by going to facebook.com/TexasMTBtrails. It is a great way to get in touch with me and to meet other excellent riders, so go make a friend and like the page on Facebook.
This reader’s question is really more about overall training for the season than just race week preparation. But, since we’re already in the midst of this fall race season I think that focusing on the week of the race is better.
Grayson Keppler’s Tips For Race Week Preparation.
The objective of the week before your race is to get rid of all fatigue that your body has accumulated through the prior weeks of training. Stick to the golden rule of recovery and rest.
If you don’t have to stand, then sit. If you don’t have to sit, then lie down. Allow your body to heal and your muscles to recover.
Do NOT change your diet. Don’t try new supplements, recovery drinks, energy gels, protein bars, pre-ride diet, nothing. Stick to the same foods that you would eat if it were your daily ride.
Do NOT change your gear. Don’t change your tires, your chain, your brakes or anything else on your bike.
Note From Shawn: One of our teammates changed his saddle (seat) the night before the race at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve (OCNP). After 20 minutes into his race the saddle broke and his day was finished. I would also recommend not trying any new clothing, shoes, helmets or eyewear. I have known several people to get terrible rashes or chafing from wearing new shorts and jerseys, also many others who have blistered their feet due to wearing new shoes. Wearing new gear during a race is just a bad idea, make sure you break it in thoroughly before hand.
Drink a lot of water. It helps to flush your body of toxins, removes lactic acid and helps to hydrate you.
Stretch and focus on flexibility. This helps to increase your range of motion and the power level you are capable of sustaining.
During your week on the bike, don’t just spin lightly but do 1 or 2 days of some interval work. These interval sets would consist of six to eight 15 or 30 second intervals. Both power intervals as well as high cadence intervals. The power intervals help activate the large muscle groups and get them ready for the race day workload. The high cadence intervals help activate the fast twitch muscles and prepare you for the higher cadence riding during the race.
Do a proper warm-down after any riding you do this week. A proper warm down has you gradually bringing your heart rate from 70% or so down to 40% and then off the bike and resting.
Grayson frequently talks about nutrition and training advice for athletes on his blog at mudbandit.blogspot.com. Some highlights are this great post on running tips, and also this one on vegan dieting for athletes.
Thank you so much Grayson for these excellent tips on race week preparation and how to prepare your body before a race. Be sure to sign up for the email list to get additional great tips.
Did you enjoy this article?
Get Free Updates