Race Week with Christie Johnson

Race Week with Christie Johnson


Just the thought of race week tightens the top of my tummy, as excited, nervous little butterflies swim around my stomach. There’s nothing quite like those race week nerves. Even after years of racing!
“How are you feeling? You ready?” Are the two main questions I get asked continually during every race week. Without fail. And I’m always left wondering, “Am I? Have I done enough?” If you ask me the same question two or three weeks out from race day, my answer would probably be different. Isn’t it funny how we always feel stronger and ready during peak training compared to a week out…well most of the time, anyway!
After many races now, I’ve leant to bring my focus and positivity from peak training into race week. It is amazing how shifting our mindset slightly can impact us in so many ways; from controlling our nerves, to preparing well, and racing our best.
For me, race week is all about looking after myself, getting prepared for the weekend, and finding that balance between resting and turning the legs over.
My typical race week involves:
- Taper:
Reducing the number of training sessions and intensity, to allow my body to recover well and be strong for race day.
- Making lists - lots of lists:
Where to eat if travelling, what to pack (race gear and food), race nutrition supplies, and pre-race meals (because you can’t always relying on buying things when you arrive at the race location!).
- Aiming for at least 8-9 hours sleep each night:
Especially the 2 nights before race day (lack of sleep usually hits us two days later, so it’s important to get a great Friday night sleep if race day is Sunday).
- Keeping hydrated:
I always carry a water bottle with me, but during race week I make sure I am filling it up constantly. If my urine is pale or clear, I know I’m doing well. Occasionally I will have an electrolyte or sports drink to help, especially if it’s very hot!
- Staying off my feet as much as possible:
I love to make the most of this week, and do things I wouldn’t usually get time for. Like reading on the couch or letting other people do the housework!
- Increasing my carbohydrate intake 2-3 days out from the race:
You don’t need to go overboard and use this as an excuse to pig out. It’s more about eating a little more carbs than usual to help maximise your glycogen (muscle) stores for race day - this way you don’t need to eat too much come race morning.*
I find by the end of the week I can get quite overwhelmed. Especially if it’s an important race. The best thing I have learnt to do is remind myself of all the hard work I’ve put in, how far I’ve come, and focus on micro race goals. That way I can focus on giving it my best, and most importantly, having fun!
*Carbohydrate loading is individualised. To load appropriately, speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian or Sports Dietitian.
Christie Johnson
Accredited Practising Dietitian & AG AUS Triathlete


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