What's Your Logistics Plan?

CBCG Pro Andrew Langfield takes the start at Ironman Canada. He's right behind Trevor Wurtele, in the Orca Sonar wetsuit. Andrew finished 10th place in 9:07, bettering his previous Iron-distance PR by about ten minutes.

CBCG Pro Andrew Langfield takes the start at Ironman Canada. He's right behind Trevor Wurtele, in the Orca Sonar wetsuit. Andrew finished 10th place in 9:07, bettering his previous Iron-distance PR by about ten minutes.

Triathletes (well, most athletes, actually) like to talk about plans: pacing plans, nutrition plans, mental plans. There are excellent reasons to do so. Planning structures the future, and allows you to rehearse ahead of time what you want to occur. Even though planning may seem like a pedestrian activity, it's actually a sophisticated mental skill, a close cousin of visualization.

But something I often see athletes leaving out is a logistics plan. They say "Eh, I'll just do what I always do on race weekend," forgetting that the schedule is somewhat out of their hands. These athletes are putting their races at risk by not taking the time to write down the logistics of their particular weekend. One CBCG athlete, recently, showed up at his race only to discover that he hadn't checked when registration closed—it turns out he was an entire day late, and spent the whole day before the race running around, trying to convince the organizers to let him race. He got in, but how easy would it have been to simply read the race schedule for the weekend and have a plan in place ahead of time?

One of our pros, Andrew Langfield, had a breakthrough race a few weekends ago at Ironman Canada, posting the most consistent performance of his career: aiming to swim 59 minutes, he swam 55; aiming to ride 4:50, he rode 5:00 (but built his heart rate perfectly over the ride); aiming for 3:05 in the marathon, he ran an impressive 3:04:51. In the final week before the race, I asked him for a logistics plan for race morning. Andrew is a laid-back guy, and has often rolled into race weekend casually. That's great for being relaxed on race day, but, as pointed out above, you can leave some things to chance. Whistler is a logistically challenging course: there are two transition zones; there is a shuttle you have to get on before the start; the race starts early. Here's the plan Andrew came up with:

3:45 - wake up, eat applesauce/banana, load up
4:00 - in the car
4:45 - arrive in Whistler village, drop off special needs bag, go put banana in run gear bag
5:00 - in line for the shuttle
5:30 - hopefully at T1 by now, drop off bike gear bag, go put shoes and gels on bike, top off tire pressure
5:45 - quick run
6:00 - porta-potty, start getting into wetsuit, caffeine pill
6:15 - in the water
6:30 - out for a gel, kiss Elena
6:45 - race starts! (I'll be a 2.5 out of 5)

I love this, especially the fact that he put his energy level goal (2.5 out of 5, which is the arousal level we aimed for). On race day, he simply walked through this schedule, never worried or freaked out, and arrived at the start line ready to perform. 9:07 later, he'd put up the race of his life.