"Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity"
Tomorrow, the second RowLeeds Indoor Championship of the 2018-19 Series takes place, with schools from across the region competing for medals, personal bests and the team trophy. For some of our young people, this will be their first experience competing in an indoor rowing competition.
So whether this is your first ever event or you are racing to hold onto your title, we pulled together our top tips for preparing for your best possible performance on the day.
Drink plenty of water the night before, when you get up in the morning, throughout the morning and in the early afternoon before your race. Drink little and often. Stay hydrated before your race and remember to drink after your race, both immediately and for the rest of the evening. (Toilets are available at the venue to use before you are called for your warm up)
2. Fuel Up
A lack of proper fuelling can lead to low blood sugar, which in turn could cause fatigue, muscle weakness and concentration issues. To maximise your performance on the day, eat a good carbohydrate packed meal the night before (e.g. pasta, rice, bread, potatoes) and a good breakfast before or at school (e.g. porridge, toast, cereal, fruit juice). Try to keep fibre and fat to a minimum before your race to avoid an upset tummy. After your race, treat yourself to a well deserved, nutritious meal, ideally high in protein (e.g. fish, meat, dairy)
3. Reinforce Your Goal
Remind yourself of what your goal is, whether it's reaching a certain distance, a podium position or simply to row hard for the full race duration. Turn your goal into a short sentence, like a mantra and repeat this to yourself a few times in the run up to your race. If you start to feel a bit nervous, repeat your goal. A good idea is to write your goal or target split times/ stroke rate on a post-it note to stick to your rowing machine screen area for when you are racing.
4. Visualise Your Race
Walk yourself through the race process. Imagine going to the warm up area then entering the holding pen. See yourself making your way to the race floor, handing over your race card and getting set up on the rowing machine. Imagine your first few strokes when the race starts and imagine what you will tell yourself when you start to feel tired. Imagine how you will keep up your stroke rate and how you will push through the last minute of your race. Imagine your last few strokes. Imagine how you will feel when your race will over and how your teammates and supporters will greet you when you come off the race floor. If you a struggling to visualise the race environment, check out videos and photos of previous championships held at the same venue.
We have written a more detailed blog on visualising your perfect race - see related posts.
5. Kit Bag
Prepare your kit bag the night before. Know what you are going to wear for your race. You may want to bring a change of clothes for after the race and any other personal comforts like deodorant, tissues or a hairbrush. Remember your water bottle and any snacks you want to have before or after your race.
6. Rest Well
Get a good night's sleep.
7. Warm Up
Some light exercise is recommended in the morning/early afternoon (e.g. walking to school or to the venue). At the venue you will have time to warm up before your race. One of our experienced rowers will be at warm up area sharing his top tips on stretching and warm up exercises for indoor rowing races.
8. Give It Everything
Why not? Remember your training, remember your goal, visualise again how you will perform and feel, know you've hydrated well, eaten well and rested well. Remember your team is behind you at every stroke. Give it everything.
Read how two of our competitors from February's championships got on with their first ever race here: How it feels to win
Why not share your top tips for junior athletes? Tag us #rowleeds
Read more about the RowLeeds Indoor Programme.