As the winner of the first Highwayman last year, we asked Olympic rower turned triathlete Toby Garbett for his advice on approaching the event. Here are Toby’s 8 top tips:
Taper to the tape: Competing in the Highwayman is like preparing for exams, you can’t try to cram at the last minute — but you can improve your performance with the right revision. Make sure you taper off, and do slightly less mileage and time on the road in the countdown to the big weekend. You feel you can do more but you want to store up that energy and be full of beans on the day.
Tread carefully: You have the choice of the following run distances 5, 9, 17 & 25km and 62 120 182km bike options to pick from, so pick a distance that is challenging but achievable for you. If you like being spurred on by running with a partner find a friend who has similar ability and enjoy training for, or even competing in the highwayman together.
Shoe in: You should change your trainers at around 500 miles. So if you still have your old school plimsolls or green flashes its time for a change. Athlete Service in Henley can advise on what’s best for you.
Easy does it: Don’t go off too hard. You should run the first half of the run slower than the second half, so you have something left in the tank and can really enjoy the experience. Some people run by feel, and some run by what their watch says. Either way, measure your effort.
Overnight Oats: With any endurance sport you need carbohydrates. I love to have porridge with milk on non-race days, but I don’t race very well on dairy. So instead, I soak oats in water the night before for long, sustained, slow-release carbs. If you are a heavy sweater and it’s a hot day, add a pinch of salt to a 50/50 mix of juice and water and make your own electrolyte drink.
Relax: You don’t want to be stressed or rushed on race morning. Work back from the race start and plan your schedule. Aim to get there early and use the time to visualise different stages of the race, and different race situations, think positivity.
Hold your nerve: You might be nervous. As an athlete I had to deal with them all the time and I used to try to subdue my nerves. But what I worked out with the Team GB psychologist is that I performed my best when I was most nervous. Nerves are a good thing-it means the race means something to you. Don’t be worried by nerves, they are there for a reason.
Don’t forget to warm up! It’s crucial to make sure your muscles are properly warmed up to reduce the risk of injury and DOMS — delayed onset muscle soreness. It’s crazy to try to work muscles that are cold and sluggish. Flexibility is impaired and there is a much greater risk of a tear or sprain.
Toby Garbett is a personal trainer and British Triathlon coach in Henley on Thames