There are a few reasons why I believe it to be important for you to write a race report. Just as you would ask for feedback and reflect on an important work project or job interview,it’s important to take the time to reflect on your race. You train so hard, sacrifice so much, and whilst a podium finish might not be the main agenda when it comes to competing, most of us want to make progress and improve in our racing.
So what are some of the benefits of writing a race report? A good race report will:
- Prevent an overly negative perception/evaluation of your race
- Help you to create an action plan so that you can train smarter, not harder!
- Assist in refining your race routine
- Improve your mental toughness
- Improves communication with your coach
- Stops your excuses and makes you ‘own your race’
Let me tell you in a little more detail how a race report can help you!
It prevents an overly negative perception of your race.
A race report can help you to overcome that post race ‘psychological roundabout’ where you analyse your race over and over again, without it amounting to any action plan. There is hardly any point in ‘picking your performance to pieces’ if it only makes you feel bad about your performance! Assessing your race should be helpful. However, if not approached in the correct way, post race analysis can start to make you feel miserable and wonder why you even race at all.
Due to the very nature of the sport, most triathletes rarely have their ‘perfect race’. I know of athletes who have raced for years, and still have never had what they would consider a ‘perfect race’. Using a formalised document that provokes a balanced race assessment in terms of assessing both the positives and negative components of a race can prevent us from being ‘one sided’. It stops us from dwelling on the negatives alone, and ensures that we learn from the race experience. A good race report will not only analyse the race, but it will help you to create an action plan too. ‘
It helps you to create an action plan so you can train smarter, not harder!
A formalised approach to analysing your race helps you to implement a strategic action plan. Writing a race report helps you to identify any ‘gaps’ in your training. Often it is the things that we overlook in our training that hinder our performance on race day. You race how you train, and if you haven’t focused on nutrition and transitions for example, you can’t expect them to be excellent on race day. When you know what you need to work on and where you need to focus most of your efforts you will be able to train smarter, not harder!
It helps to refine your race routine
A race report is not just about identifying the negative aspects of your race. A good race report will also help you to identify what worked for you on race day, so that you can keep doing it. Knowing what works for you on race day will help you to create a ‘race day routine’.
When race day jitters start to creep up it’s easy to start to question yourself, and start comparing yourself to others. For example, if you see a fellow athlete warming up with a long run, you might start to think you should be doing the same. Race reports will help you to identify what works for you from how you taper, to your warm up and cool down, and everything in between. Knowing what works and what doesn’t, and having a race routine can prevent your head from wondering and help you maintain your focus which will be a huge benefit come race day.
A race report helps you to improve your mental toughness
Part of being mentally tough is to be able focus on the moment you are in right now, especially when you are racing. For example, mentally tough athletes are able to put their swim behind them when they are out of the water and focus on their transition to the bike. Writing race reports helps you learn to ‘digest’ your race a lot quicker than you might if you never put pen to paper. Learning to ‘process your race’ without spending days, weeks, or even months perseverating on what you could have done differently will teach you to be more ‘present’ and ‘in the moment’ on race day. You will understand that what is done is done, and that you must focus on the next part of your race without any unnecessary mental blocks.
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It improves your communication with your coach
If you work with a coach or even a training partner, sharing a race report with them will help them to understand how to help you in moving forward. A good race report will reveal your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. It will consider more than just your times and splits. It will consider your nutrition, hydration, mental state, and your equipment, amongst other things. Race reports provide much more in depth information for yourself and your coach to work with, so that they can tailor your program accordingly.
It helps you to quit the excuses and ‘own’ your race
Sometimes as athletes we can start to make excuses for our performance. The weather was bad, the course wasn’t well signed, another athlete got in my way, I got a flat tyre… Whilst these might all be legitimate reasons as to why you didn’t perform as well as you may have anticipated or hoped for, the reality is that sometimes if we were better prepared we could have prevented these mishaps on race day. Instead of blaming the bad weather, it may help you to acknowledge that you need to stop avoiding training sessions on your bike on windy days. Owning your race can only help you to improve as an athlete. Rather than making excuses, you can make an action plan as to how you could be better prepared next time.
How should you write a race report?
Knowing where to start and what you should include in a race report can be a challenge. In my opinion, it needs to be detailed enough to make sure you learn from your race, but brief enough that you don’t overanalyse every single detail of your race. Rather than tell you what I think you should include, I have a template that you can use. The beauty of this template is that you can add as much or as little as you would like. In order to get your FREE copy of this workbook, simply sign up to access our resource library. I have also included some of my favourite tips for race recovery.
Don’t forget to grab your free workbook. It is designed especially to help you create an action plan which is the most important part of writing your report!
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