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Race Tips

Why A Pre-Race Plan Is A Must

Why you should have a set strategy for race morning—plus, a sample schedule for the hours leading up to the race start.

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Q: Do I really need a race morning plan and, if so, what should it include?

A: You’ve spent months focused on your big event—do you really want to waste mental energy stressing about logistics the day of your race? Of course not! That’s why having a pre-race plan is a must.

About a week before your event, write down your race morning plan. Start from the time the gun goes off and work your way backward until the night before. Be sure to include absolutely everything that will happen during those last 12–24 hours leading up to the start. This includes your food intake, hydration, sleeping, bathroom visits, packing your bags and setting up your transition to your pre-race warm-up.

Once you write down your plan, go over it at least a handful of times. Not only does this help to ensure you didn’t miss anything, but it also helps you memorize the timeline. This way, come the day of the race, you’ll know—to the minute—where and what you should be doing!

Having a detailed plan will minimize last-minute stress, allowing you to focus on your race.

Sample race morning plan

4:45–5:00 a.m. Wake up and have breakfast [detail your breakfast here]

5:00–5:30 a.m. Travel to race site

5:30–5:45 a.m. Foam rolling/stretching

5:45–6:00 a.m. Set up transition area

6:15–6:30 a.m. Visit Porta-Potty, put on wetsuit

6:30 a.m. Get in water and begin warm-up

6:45–6:50 a.m. Finish warm-up, stand by beach, stretching

7:00 a.m. Race start!

Tony Zamora is a USAT-certified coach who coaches athletes throughout the world as head coach of TZCoaching, based in northern Los Angeles.