Race days are always stressful. You’re in unfamiliar territory. You’re fiddling with race numbers and timing chip. You’re trying to find a few minutes to warm up and you’re making last minute adjustments to your skates. And all the while, you’re trying to focus on what you want to accomplish in your race.
That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a solid pre-race routine. Not only will it help get you to the starting line on time, but it will smooth out those pre-race jitters.
Early wake up
I like to get up at least three hours before the start of a race and have breakfast straight away. My pre-race breakfast is very basic: white bread or toast with honey.
If the race starts later in the day, I’ll eat a larger meal, making sure to finish at least three hours before the race. This gives me time to digest my food.
I never eat unfamiliar food before a race. I don’t want to risk getting sick to my stomach or having some other unpleasantness before a race.
I like to arrive at the race village at least an hour and a half before the start. This gives me time to get through my pre-race routine without rushing.
The first thing I do when I arrive is double check the start time for my wave and pick up my race numbers and timing chip. I also find a safe place to stow my skate bag, so I don’t have to worry about it disappearing.
An hour before the race starts, I put on my skin suit and race numbers. I also strap my timing chip to my ankle straight away so I don’t lose it or forget it.
Next, I find the toilet that is closest to the start line, so that I won’t be rushing around at the last minute trying to find it.
Now I’m just about ready to put on my skates. But before I do that, I check to make sure my mounting bolts and my axles are tight, and I give my wheels a spin to make sure they are turning freely.
I start my warm up with about ten minutes of skating at a moderate speed on a flat section of road. Then, I skate the final section of the racecourse at a faster speed to get a feel for what the speed will be like in the sprint and to find the best path to the finish line.
I also acquaint myself with the actual finish line. Sometimes, it isn’t directly under the event banner. Other times, there are other lines on the road that could be mistaken for the finish line.
Arriving at the starting line
I like to be on the line, ready to go, five to ten minutes before the start of my race. Once I get there, I make some last minute equipment checks: I check to make sure my wheels are spinning and tighten my laces.
Then I try to relax and enjoy the scenery, content in the knowledge that I’ve done everything I can to be ready to roll.