Beginning tri training, week 20: One (or two) weeks to race day!

Your taper week is a good time to make sure all your gear is ready to go  Credit: Brian Bahr/Allsport
If you've got a race this weekend, then last week you did the brick week (Week 14) which was not an easy week from the point of view of activity, but it shouldn't have been hard from the aspect of effort.

This week, we're entering the taper, and the best thing you can do is to spend time in the pool -- especially if you're a weak swimmer -- and hone your swim skills. That won't be taxing, and a few swim sessions are compatible with a taper week.

There are plenty of places you can go for tactical help. There are a variety of helpful articles on race fueling and on taking care of your bicycle in Slowtwitch's Coach's Corner and Tech Center.

If this is your first triathlon, you can also find a lot of useful race-planning tips and gear information at Active's Give It a Tri section, which is geared to first-time triathletes.

Get your bike into shape now -- several days, or a couple of weeks, prior to the race -- not the day before the race. Figure out what you're going to wear during each leg of the race -- if you're going to change clothes, and how, and where.

Do a mental walk-through of the race, and make a list of everything you're going to need to bring to the race -- not just race clothing and equipment, but things like your bicycle floor pump, and a towel on which to set all your shoes and clothing in the transition area, next to your bike.

How much water and fluid replacement will you drink on the bike? Do you need two bottles full of fluid? Have you got two bottles? Two water bottle cages on the frame?


The hard part is the training, and you've done that. The easy part is sometimes the part athletes forget to do: Where is the race? How do you get there? Is the race on a Sunday just following a daylight savings time change? Are there mandatory, or suggested, pre-race meetings? Are there rules to this race you ought to read? When is registration? Do you have your race number, timing chip, or do you know when and where to pick these up? Is your bike in good working order? Are the gears on your bike compatible with the uphill pitches on the course?

So many athletes lose out because they bring their hard and fit bodies to the race, but they leave their brains at home.


The bad news: With a week or two to go you can't really do anything to improve your performance -- except perhaps in the pool -- but you can do things to mess yourself up. The good news: That won't happen to you, because you're now in "thinking mode," right?

  • Race this weekend: Repeat week 15 (rest week)
  • Race next weekend: Repeat week 14 (brick week)
  • Ready to catch the swim-bike-run bug? Check out our Give it a Tri section

    Find and register online for your first triathlon!

    Check out the full beginning tri-training guide

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