When racing the 140.6 distance, sticking to a sound race plan is often more important than great fitness. Consider a very fit athlete who can’t resist a great bike split. While fast bike splits are fun, cycling beyond your capability will significantly affect your final result. After a few miles of running, this athlete fades and begins walking. In contrast, consider a less fit athlete that executes a sound race plan and runs the entire 26.2 miles. In long-course racing, the tortoise typically wins!!

Here are 5 tips for formulating and executing a sound long-course race plan.

  1. Nothing new on race dayIf equipment or strategy hasn’t been thoroughly been tested during training, DO NOT use it on race day.
  2. Practice your nutritionDuring all long workouts, practice consuming calories as if you were racing. Conduct some experiments to find the number of calories (per hour) and products that work for you. Constantly training your body to process certain products and quantities will help avoid gastro-intestinal issues on race day. Your race plan should include the products and quantities you will consume on the race course.
  3. Chose pacing based on your data – Throughout your training, track your swim, bike, and run paces (or power / heart rate). Use this data to determine your capabilities. Be conservative! Your race paces should be a bit slower than your long distance workout paces.
  4. Embrace the negative splitNegative splitting is starting relatively slowly and increasing pace as you go. This works for swimming, biking, and running. When done properly, you’ll be surging when most are fading.
  5. Stick to your race plan – If a competitor passes you, don’t try to immediately match their pace. Instead, stick to your plan! Let your competitors make mistakes while you steadily move ahead. As they fade, you will remain strong. In long-course racing, discipline is far more important than fitness.

As you begin your next 140.6 race build-up, begin formulating a race plan. As your fitness builds, you plan will take shape. On race day, stick to the plan and race to your potential!!