#SECRETTRAINING: The Perfect Pre-Race Routine

I get asked quite often, “What is the best pre-cyclocross race routine?” Trying to figure out what to eat, when to eat, how to warm up and what to wear can be an overwhelming task. The take home message of this article is the best pre-race routine is the one that works best for you! To help you get started and figure out what might work best for you, I thought I would share here my idea of a perfect pre-race routine.

The day before the race:

  • I do an “openers” workout. For an example of an openers workout go here >>
  • I make sure my bikes and equipment are clean and dialed.
  • I ensure the bolts on my bike and my shoe cleats have been checked for tightness.
  • I inspect my tires and wheels.
  • I know where the race is and how long it takes to get there.
  • I know what time I want to arrive at the race, which is generally two hours before.
  • I pack all my gear and have a rough idea of what I will be wearing on race day.
  • I stay hydrated all day.
  • I eat a healthy dinner.
  • I got to bed at my normal time.

The morning before the race:

  • I wake up without an alarm clock.
  • I drink one liter of water.I drink a large cup of coffee.
  • I try to eat three hours before the race start.
  • This is generally one cup of oatmeal and two eggs NOTE: If the race is a later afternoon race I will eat a healthy breakfast and still have the pre-race oatmeal and eggs. For me info check out #SECRETTRAINING: WHAT TO EAT BEFORE A CYCLOCROSS RACE
  • I sip water constantly.
  • I pack up all of my water bottles and may make a pre-race coffee or espresso.
  • I will drink the coffee 20-30 minutes before the start.
  • I don’t drink much hydration mix unless it is very hot. I will mix a bit in my water and I sip throughout the day.
  • I leave for the race and get to the venue two hours before the start.
At the race:
  • I go to registration and get my number
  • I unload my bikes and gear and get ready to ride.
  • I top off my tires and ride my bikes around a bit to make sure they are working properly.
  • I likely visit the bathroom.
  • I keep drinking water.
  • Depending on the race day schedule I try get in a few laps on the course.
  • After a few laps, I adjust my tire pressure and clothing selection.
  • I likely visit the bathroom, again.
  • I drink more water.
  • I take my spare bike (or wheels) to the pit.
  • If it’s a nasty weather day I make sure I have someone at the start line to take my warm up clothes for me.
  • I do not eat any more food.
  • I continue my warm-up on roads around the course.
  • My pre-race warm up was typically this:
  • 10-15 minutes of tempo riding
  • Five 20 -30 second sprints with 2 min recovery in between
  • Five practice starts
  • 20-30 minutes before the start I drink my coffee or a Rockstar (yes, a Rockstar)
  • Continued easy riding until start time.
  • If the weather is bad, I warm up on a trainer.
  • I get to the start line on time so I don’t miss my call up.
  • I get to line and make sure I know where I’d prefer to be on the start grid and what gear I want to be in when we start.
Go! Whoa. That is a lot to remember and we could even go deeper on lots of individual bullet points, but I’ll save this for another article! And, remember this is what works for me. You need to experiment and find out what works best for you. It’s a good idea to test out the nutritional elements on training days rather than race days. Nothing like an upset stomach on race day to make things messy, if you know what I mean! Good luck this season!