No matter how much you train, how much you spend time analyzing your data and making improvements, you won’t really know how your body reacts in a race environment until you’ve tried it.
That’s why pro athletes, like Sebastian Kienle, incorporate several tune-up races in their season in addition to the main race(s). A while back we caught up with Kienle to talk about how he uses data to balance training and recovery and how he prepares for his main challenge of the season: The IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii.
One important part of his preparation for the ultimate challenge in Kona, Hawaii, and his racing plan for the season are tune-up races. In the beginning of the year, Kienle sets two big race goals and builds the season around them by including 6-7 middle distance races.
Why not just focus on the main race and give it all you’ve got?
Here are three reasons why Sebastian Kienle does more than one big race during the season (well, besides the obvious reason that racing is his job).
But even if you’re not a pro, this is how tune-up races can help you reach peak performance in your main event:
1. Test your limits
“You will never be able to push yourself as far in a training session as in a race situation. No matter how much you give during training, you’re always able to still go harder with the boost of race adrenaline. ”
2. See your plan in action
“You can see how well your nutrition, pacing and transitions work in a real race situation. There are things you can’t practice and prepare for without an authentic race situation: for example, your stomach may react in a race, which doesn’t happen when you’re training. If you find out what works and what doesn’t in smaller races, you’ll be better prepared for the big one. ”
3. Take some of the pressure off
“If something goes wrong in the main race, it’s important to have a couple of results to show for your work – otherwise you would risk ending the season with nothing to show for it. Also, it’s part of the pro athlete’s job to show up more than twice a year: it’s important for the sponsors, age groupers, media, fans and followers to see pros in action.”
And, he’s right: we can’t wait to see Sebastian Kienle in action this Saturday in the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship!
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.