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Race Planning with Ali Halpin

July 19, 2017

Race Planning with Ali Halpin

No matter the sport, the best way to set yourself up for success is to have a plan. From race tactics to what time you need to leave the house to what you're going to eat and when, putting some time into planning it all out in advance will save you from bonehead moves on the big day. We got with new Picky Team cyclist Allison Halpin for some of her proven tricks of the trade, which she's used in countless road, cyclocross, and mountain bike races over the years.

Take it away, Ali!

RACE PLANNING with pro cyclist Ali Halpin

When I first started racing bikes, I was a total disaster on race day. My car looked like a category 5 hurricane had run through it, I couldn’t find my gloves or nutrition when I needed them, and I was always short on time. Convinced there was a leprechaun following me to races and hiding my things I knew something had to change, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I needed to do. Once I started traveling with other racers I picked up on their most excellent organizational skills and pre-race plans. That’s the key word here, PLAN! Ever since I started making a race day plan I have had way less stress and am able to channel that energy into the race rather than frantically digging for my nutrition or rushing to the start line. So, what does creating a plan look like, you might ask? Here are 3 tips/tricks to helping you reduce stress on race day by creating a pre-race plan.

  • Write it down! The night before a race I write down all my plans in my training log. I love the Believe training journal, since it outlines everything for me, but a simple note book will do the trick too. Everything from what clothing I will bring to the race, to nutrition, race goals, and the pre-race schedule gets written down. This gives me something to reference on race day and it better solidifies the plan in my mind.
  • Create a pre-race schedule. I write myself a timed schedule for race day. My busy mind is easily distracted and I always think I have more time than I do. This helps keep me on track and takes the guess work and stress out of the day. These are the key things I write down in my pre race schedule:
    • Time I will leave the house or hotel.
    • Time I plan to arrive at the venue.
    • When I will start my warm up.
    • When I will end my warm up.
    • Time I will go to the start, usually about 15 mins prior to start time. This gives me time to pee, eat, and chat.
    • Start time.
  • Nutrition plan. I write down everything from what I will eat on the way to the race, to warm up nutrition, and what I will eat during the race. While I don’t always eat everything, it helps keep me on track. These are the key things I will write down:
    • How many bottles will I need? Number that will have electrolytes, number that will just have water.
    • Will I eat gummies or gel? How many of each do I need?
    • Pre and post race food; Picky Bars, recovery mix, PB and J?

Ali Halpin Race Day Nutrition

Super nerd alert… I put all my race food together in a plastic baggie. If I am racing back to back races on a weekend I make a bag for each day and label them. I have lost food at the bottom of my race bag WAAAAAY to many times. Also, fill and stage all your water bottles pre race. If it’s going to be hot I will put them in a cooler. If not then I use a wine tote to keep the bottles all together. Our bodies are already under stress on race day and everything we can do to reduce stress will help us better focus on the task at hand, the race! You will also be able to relax and have more fun if your not worrying about having enough time or where your gloves are.

- Ali