How to Assess a Race and your Triathlon Season
Evaluating Your Race Performance Is Crucial to Improve
A post-race report or blog should aim to do more than just entertain the reader; it should help assess what went successfully, what went wrong and what can be approved upon.
A race report should be used as a way to learn from the race and develop your performance. The most effective time comes post-race, the sooner the better.
If you are a coached athlete or a self-coached athlete, it is crucial to be honest when assessing and no matter if it was a race filled with negatives or a never occurring perfect race, as long as the negatives are assessed and learned from, the negatives can be turned into positives which help you move forward towards a better performance in the next race.
Important Components for A Race Report
Travel – Did travel affect your performance?
Sleep – Did you sleep adequately or were sleeping patterns affected in the days prior to the race?
Nutrition and Hydration – In terms of nutrition and hydration, how were the days leading up to race day, the morning of the race, race hydration plan, race nutrition plan, execution of plans?
Mindset – How were you feeling mentally? Were you nervous, anxious, excited, confident, motivated?
Kit – Were you prepared for the weather conditions? You can break this down into swim, bike and run.
Warm-up – Did you warm-up prior to the race and if so, what did you do and how long did you do it before the start?
Pacing – Did you stick to a plan, did the plan go out of the window, what affected pacing, what were your splits, what do the splits show about performance?
Before actually beginning the evaluation process, don’t be afraid to detail as much as you can remember. The more information provided, the greater likelihood of identifying key components that can be learned from and affect future race performances.
The time taken to evaluate performance will help maximise and identify any factors that most influence performance on race day. Once these limiters are acknowledged, you are already making positive progress and on the road to seeing better results.
Evaluating Your Race Season
After an exhaustive and intense race season, it is expected that a triathlete will be ready for a post-season break and this is always recommended to reap the benefits of the season and to start looking ahead to a better following season.
But before putting your feet up and settling into the recovery process, it is crucial to give a truthful review of what happened and what didn’t (but should have) happened during the race season.
The goal of the postseason review is to allow you to build on the experiences and progress towards an even faster and more successful triathlon season next time.
Most athletes believe that analysis of a race or season is determined by finish positions or PB times. To allow the finish line clock or your finish ranking to determine your evaluation would be unfair to yourself; there are many external factors that could affect these results. Race times can be affected by many variables including (but not limited to) weather, course changes, distances being inaccurate etc. Moreover, while we all want to finish as high up the field as possible, to set a goal which could be decided by others rather than your own performance, would be the wrong way to declare a failure of your season.
To help assess and evaluate your season, here are some prompts to help analyse and evaluate how the season has truly gone:
- Did you set season goals and were they clear (could you have set them higher or were they unrealistic in expectations)?
- Did you achieve what you set out to do at the start of the year (often as you improve through the year, goals get advanced and the originals get forgotten)?
- What were you most proud of this season (was it the improvements you made in either swim, bike or run. Was it the dedication and commitment through the season)?
- What went well, what didn’t go well (learn from the positives and negatives)
- Are there any habits that you feel have held you back (can these be broken)?
- Did you miss any training (why and could this be avoided)?
- Be honest with yourself and put in writing what decisions you could make to progress you to having the best season yet.