Thought today’s coaches corner would be very appropriate to all those who have raced recently and help aid those racing soon. Today’s coaches corner is about Post Race Reflection.
It’s very easy straight after a race to over analyse your performance and reflect in a negative way. We are all competitive in our own ways, whether with with outcome goals such as winning you age group, event or performance based such as looking to improve on your previous race splits or looking to set a PB at a given race. Taking a step back and a few hours, even days will help you better to reflect upon your performance.
There are a few variables to which you should take into considering post race to help you reflect with a clear head.
Time of season: any race early season (April - End of May) is still early in the calendar. Yes your training has moved up a notch from base to pre competition, but there is still a time lap to find those super sharp race legs. Top tip - Compare your times from previous season to help reflect on where you are now to then. Even look at previous end of season results to see how you are fairing. If you are equal or even up, then you are in good shape so stay positive. Everyone at this time of year is rusty, the margins are going to be close and the ones who come out on top might have had a slightly better winter (no injuries, warm weather training).
Weather conditions: early season races are hard and can affect performance greatly. Low water temperatures will make your muscles cold and therefore less responsive. Yes you maybe swimming faster in the pool, but the pool isn’t 14 degrees. Wind chill on the bike or raining conditions will slow you down, so look to bare that in mind and prepare accordingly. Top Tip Look to my previous coaches corner on how to race in cold condition to reduce the weather effect on your body and performance.
Comparable times of your peers: if you are concerned about your overall position, then look at the times of your peers. See how they faired in the same condition as you. If your times are fairly similar in areas, then take heart from that. If you know roughly what they can do to you and you are still in the same ball park, then overall you can dismiss that time and reflect that you are still there or there abouts.
Recent training levels / performances: injuries, breaks in training will hinder progress. One week off can take around two to three weeks to get back to the same levels. Time out of the pool, off the bike or off the road running, shouldn’t be underestimated. Top tip - move those goal times back and give a more achievable time performance outcome such as gold time, silver time and bronze time. Goal is PB, silver is current form and bronze is a more controlled time. Taking into account the other stated factors will help this this approach.
Standard of event: not all events are the same. A local event will have a more relaxed feel and field. So you can relax into the event and have less riding on it. With your A event or bigger events such as European or World Qualifiers, the field will be stacked with the best of the best hunting medals and places. So expect those margins to be even tighter. 1min in a normal race could see 2 - 3 athletes in that time range. At a major event this could be 20+ so you will be pushed down further than normal. Top tip - see these events for what they are, a true marker to your peers and their levels. This for most will drive them on and look to close those gaps for future races.