Get Better with Mocks

How do you know you are ready to take a test, fly a space shuttle, or compete in a triathlon? One of the best ways in addition to studying and practicing individual components is to simulate the experience as close as you can.

If you are studying for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), the Law School Admission Council states, “at a minimum, we recommend taking a practice test, including a writing sample, under the time constraints.” NASA Astronaut, Eric Boe, reinforces the importance stating, “the simulations are important for the flight tests, because this is the place to put it all together,”  I have done several mock triathlons over the years and seem to learn something new each time. In today’s blog I’ll cover the purpose of the mock triathlon and considerations in preparation, during the simulation itself, and after.

Purpose

Why do this? Because it’s glorious to be in nature exercising! In addition to that, think of these as the purpose of completing a mock triathlon:

  • Practice and/or experiment preparation, skills, and nutrition/fuel resulting in confidence. Don’t ever try something new on race day.
  • Develop ability to handle adversity. It will happen on race day so the more you practice dealing with things when they go wrong the better you will respond during the race.
  • Get used to conditions similar to race day…time of day, weather, elevation, terrain, etc.
  • Simulate race effort including quick transitions (no chance to rest). You don’t always have to do a mock at the same intensity of a race so check with your coach on what makes sense for your goals.
  • Get faster! No matter your goals, completing a triathlon as efficiently as you possibly can gets you through the finish line sooner to celebrate your accomplishment or to get you to the food and beverage tent.

Preparation

It’s really important to practice your preparation just like you will do for the actual race. This does not start on race morning either. Here are some things to consider prior to race day and the day of your event you will want to simulate in the mock triathlon:

Prior to mock or race day:

  • Race plan – Document your goals for the race using a race plan (ex. start swim under control, run first mile at x pace, etc.). You will also want to consider in your plan the terrain, climate, conditions, and elevation. Try to practice in similar conditions to your race.
  • Nutrition – Plan what you will be eating and drinking the day prior and race day. This will be in your race plan but I want to emphasize this as it’s so important.
  • Gear preparation – Use a list identifying everything you will need to bring (ex. helmet, cycling shoes, transition mat, etc.). It’s great to wear what you will wear in the race during the mock…get used to it.

Day of the mock or race:

  • Wake-up – Identify how long will it take you from wake-up to get out the door and to the race location. You will want to identify this prior to the morning of…on morning of it is execution time.
  • Nutrition – Consume (including drinks) what you planned from wake-up to race start.
  • Transition – Set-up your transition area effectively by sequencing use of equipment and supplies. Conduct a final audit before transition closes.
  • Warm-up – Engage your mind, muscles, heart and lungs for the effort ahead.

During the Mock

Contemplate the following tips for each of the triathlon elements:

  • Swim – Practice what you will do from how you will wear your gear (goggles, cap, wet suit, etc.), enter the water, swim throughout the course, and exit the water.
  • Transition 1 (Swim to Bike) – Simulate how you will approach your location, transition out of swim to bike gear, and exit.
  • Bike – Practice how you will mount, find your groove early in the ride, get your feel for the ride throughout, fuel, and dismount.
  • Transition 2 (Bike to Run) – Simulate how you will approach your location, transition out of bike to run gear, and exit to run.
  • Run – Practice how you will find your pace early and get comfortable with the heavy legs from the bike, when you will settle in to your pace, and finish. Focus on form when getting tired.
  • Overall – Practice your nutrition / hydration in-take.

After the Mock

  • Cool down – Hydrate, go for a short run (mile) to flush out those tight muscles (you will be so happy you did the next day), and stretch.
  • Reflect – What went well? What opportunities will I take-away to work on? What do I need to consult with a coach on?

Hopefully you find these considerations helpful. For more information on specifics including race plans, checklists, techniques, and more, contact Celia Dubey (celia@tarpontotalfitness.com) and/or I (alangraff@thehealthygiraffe.com).

Also, if you are interested in attending a Mock Triathlon I am hosting Saturday, June 8 in Fort DeSoto, please contact me as well. It will be one fantastic experience.

– Add Health to Your Life

 

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