What’s the first thing you do post-race? Search for results? Search for race photos? Compare your times to your competitors or the whole field? Chat to your coach? Whatever method(s) you use, it is important to examine some of the information as this is how to improve your next performance.
Data to collect:
- Race data
- Category and overall position
- Athlete race reflection
1. Race Data
Gives a non-judgmental look into how the race panned out. Will include splits, power profiles, pacing, heart rate and speed for the entire race.
- Can be compared to others in the field
- Consider conditions such as wind, waves, temperature and course elevation profile
- Compare the power, heart rate, speed and/or pace between laps or segments of the race. Did you start too easy or go out too hard?
2. Category & Overall Position
Can be useful to gauge the overall effect of environmental conditions. For example, was there a consistent drop in speed on one segment of the course? Or were splits consistently 1-2mins slower when compared to other courses.
- Evaluate which leg you lost the most time on the category winner and/or the overall winner
- Create new goals within your category or overall position. Can you realistically aim to place top 20, top 10, top 5, on the podium etc.
- Evaluate whether your overall placement change as the race continues
3. Athlete Race Reflection
Useful to add to the “hard data” mentioned above as it may go toward explaining what happened on the day.
- What was learnt
- What went well
- What needs improvement
- Response to weather or external factors (other competitors, change in race etc.)
- Did you stick to race plan, why/why not?
- Did you stick to nutrition plan why/why not?
- Did you lose focus or motivation at any time during the race?
This is a lot of analysis and you may find that you limit it to a quick debrief with your coach or on your own post-race. A larger scale debrief may be of greater use before lead up races or bigger goal races.
It will be important to consult your coach for an “external” perspective and help you prioritise areas for improvement relative to your overall goal.