22 Oct 6 Tips for Racing in Bad Weather

By Laurel Wassner, Pro Triathlete

Racing a triathlon is not an easy endeavor on its own, but throw in a rainstorm, or brutal heat? Well, things become even more difficult. But, you’ve signed up, paid the entry fee, hotels, done all the training… so there’s no backing out now!

Here’s a few tips on how to carry on when unexpected weather or other changes happen:

1) Keep calm. 

Don’t let the change in events rattle you. Remember, you have put in the training, you are fit, you are ready to go. Stay positive and carry on.

2) Be flexible and adapt.

You wake up race day and it’s pouring rain, these things happen.  Go on with your routine, BUT make some changes based on the weather. Don’t be afraid to pack some extra clothes to put on for the bike ride. Take a little pressure out of your tires. Be a bit more careful around the corners. Be mindful of the little changes that will carry you far.

3) Rethink your nutrition strategy.

Have the temperatures soared above 90F? Or, have they dropped below 50? These are times when you are going to have to look at your nutrition plan and make a few changes. When the weather is extreme you must make sure to get enough and in some  cases even more fuel than you think. Did your swim take longer because the waves were really big? Add an extra bottle of XRCEL when you come out of the water. When it’s very cold, your body is using energy to stay warm, so make sure you have enough fuel on board the bike to adapt for that. Pack more XRCEL than you normally would. When it’s hot? Well, you may not feel like eating. That’s where XRCEL is handy – it’s easy to get down (and stays down!). It’s better to have too much than too little in these circumstances.

4) Stay steady all day.

If you have made the adaptations in your fueling plan, you should be able to have the energy to stay strong throughout the day. Keeping a steady pace, rather than going out hard and fading, is a good strategy for racing in extreme conditions. You want to be the one who is still going when the race gets tough. If you stay steady, you will find yourself passing people who went out too hard.

5) Be smart.

Extreme cold, heat, wind, etc can be dangerous. Be smart about it, race accordingly. Adjust your paces, add 20-30 seconds a mile to your goal running pace and be ok with that. 

6) Don’t quit. 

A positive mindset will help get you through even the worst conditions. Remember everyone else is going through the same thing. Be the one who doesn’t quit!

Frederick Sexton
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