So you’ve decided to do a competitive event, obviously what your going to need will vary depending on whether your doing a Ironman Triathlon or a Tough mudder 5k. However this post will provide the general necessities in what you should bring with you from my own personal experience and curated opinions from event veterans.
Regardless of intensity, variety and competitive nature of the race the way you look after your general well being should always be the same, that is the consistent variable. Every Giro d’Italia and cycling races alike are going to have the puncture repair kits and spare helmets you’ll need. Just as well every Big Swim will have the spare caps and compression gear to buy on site. What I’m saying is that with such a broad title, this post is going to detail the foundation of what you should bring to ANY race. Then you can branch out and specialise your gear towards your niche upon ticking those first few necessary boxes.
Every athlete is always paying attention to water intake, but if your new to this then in the build up to race day you need to keep a keen eye out here. General rule of thumb is listen to your body, keep an eye on general thirst as well as urine colour. Pee shouldn’t bee too dark nor too light. Sticking to roughly 8 eight-ounce glasses a day is a good rule of thumb. Acknowledge that everyone who’s taking on too much fluid can lead to a depletion in sodium levels, and what is caused by low sodium levels? CRAMPS! This is prevalent in all those creatine users out there who are consuming water like a blue whale everyday.
Keeping an eye on this one is important, personally I’m genetically a big sweater so I’m always thankful when I find some electrolyte gel at the bottom of my bag after a big run. I like to do a little bit of electrolyte loading in the build-up to race day. But please, when I say loading I don’t mean overloading! We don’t want any Hyperkalemia cases please! Usually I like to keep things ‘au naturel’ getting my electrolyte supplement from good quality coconut water. However if you do want to take more concentrated means, in the 3 days before the big race during your workouts you can try taking a electrolyte gel supplement. This will also give your body the chance to see how this gel will effect your body. This pre-loading makes the engine feel well oiled on race day.
NOTE: It’s always good to have another pack tucked away in a zip
compartment to consume mid race. Here are the shorts I wear:
Get your own pair here.
If your one day out from the big race, your body knows your routine, its best to keep things the same. You don’t want to get runners trots from some fad diet. One thing you can do though is carb load, you want 75-85% of your calories in the three days leading up to your race to come from carbohydrates. This is part of the goal of giving your body fuel to convert into glycogen, you should consume 4 grams of crabs for every pound of body weight you have.
You want to make sure you have the following items ready:
You might have just been following an intense programme to get you ready for this final frontier, often nothing feels right other than to go out on that last push and training harder than ever so you feel like your ready. Actually what you want to do have an “active cardio rest day”, this means to rest but keep active.
To calm the nerves take yourself on a well deserved pamper day. Your body needs to relax and reflect upon all this hard work you’ve done leading up to the race. Most importantly you want to visualise yourself completing it. I’m a big fan of using the steam room as my own little dragon ball z hyperbolic time chamber to get a bit of head space before the big race. I like to do this after preparing everything for the next day, so I can relax and know that it is all done.
Your about to have the time of your life, The things you learn about yourself when your eyes are closed and your legs are somehow still moving. The experience of seeing all those people around you working together to complete a common cause. Enjoy.