Q: I am traveling to Nice for 70.3 Worlds, heading from the MidWest. I have read what you have written that the ‘ideal’ travel date for performance is a day for every hour of time-zone shift. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the ability to arrive early enough to adhere. What are the best steps to take?
A: First, don’t panic. We send athletes all over the globe to race, arriving one or two days prior to competition with super results. There is no need to panic, and we simply arrive back at the old saying of control what you can control. Here is a quick and simple list to help you navigate travel and be fresh for race day:
- Don’t over obsess on getting into time-zone: If arriving close to race day, look more to manage stress levels. I would be prepared for middle-of-the-night waking with books and other things to keep the mind busy, but I would keep the lights low and avoid screens. Take naps, sleep when you need to.
- Manage hydration: arrive at the flight hydrated, remain hydrated on the flight, rehydrate following travel.
- Avoid alcohol on the plane. Duh!
- Bring a pillow: That overnight flight is stressful. Set yourself up for success, and I would encourage you to bring your own pillow (if you can fit) to help set up best sleep with both comfort and familiar scent.
- Move: While sleep is imperative on the flight, at least rest, you do want to maximize movement when not resting. Get up, move around, stay mobile. It will help.
- Eat breakfast on arrival: You will arrive in Europe ready for a meal. Have it as soon as possible - on your layover. Eat a real meal with plenty of protein.
- Flush and spark: As soon as you can, move the body on arrival. The day of arrival cannot be stressful at all, but including a series of very short spikes of intensity (under 20 sec) with lots of easy between each will spark the central nervous system.
- Train your way in: Don’t be afraid to extend session duration in the day or two preceding the race. You should not chase feeling good with added intensity, but some additional minutes of swimming and riding (all smooth) will help. It is not uncommon for me to ask athletes to shift from a 20-30 min pre-race day to 60 to 75 minutes. We ride until we feel good!
- Don’t seek feeling good. You don’t need validation of readiness or fitness, you just need to be charged up for giving your best effort. This mindset will reward you with optimal performances.
I hope that helps.
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