By Jim on Friday, October 29, 2010
Racing is hard enough on it's own, let alone all the other things that make you worry and get nervous.
The things you should focus on most of all are the things you can control.
The one thing I see often is people who are new to racing, positioning themselves next to the fastest paddlers in the race.
Getting a good start is one of the most important parts of the race.
When you are new to racing, positioning on the start line is one of the least thought about things, if it's not being up at the start line it's being out wide to make sure you are not in anyones way.
When you get next to someone who is to faster you get BLOWN AWAY.
'Blown away' means the person next to you starts so fast you're left thinking "WHAT HAPPENED? "
When this happens, you end up paddling in their wash and playing catch up. This can psychologically put you off your race plan straight away.
The answer is to position yourself next to people who are slightly faster than you. This way, you will get off to a good start which will help you get into a great frame of mind to race well.
When you miss the start or get blown away you tend to think that you must catch back up straight away. You push too hard and build up a lot of lactate acid. Paddling at their pace not your may force you into poor technique.
When you get to the start line, know your competitors, position yourself next to the people who are similar or marginally faster than you then work with each other. This will ensure that you stay focused, stick to your race plan and have your best possible start.
The fire of the gun and then it's off you go. You must get out hard, this fast pace will only last about 800m for the top competitors and about 450m for the middle level competitors. So it's not far into to the race but it's important for the next part of the race, because you prepare yourself mentally.
Small changes make for big difference:
Check list for race day.
- Hydrate 24hrs before hand.
- Get to registration early, that way if there are any changes to the course you are well aware of them. Best to know the course and choose your lines early.
- Check your equipment, paddle, boat, rudder and cables.
- Imagine yourself going through the race, see your race plan in your mind
- Chat with your friends and other competitors to relax.
- Change into the right clothing to suit the weather.
- Get onto the water for warm up, 25 minutes minimum, more if you are older.
- Get to the start line early, work out your line and find the competitors you need to be next to.
- Race hard and confident, back your training.
- Enjoy yourself.