In the lead up to the Macpac Motatapu, it’s important that you get your training regime dialed so that come race day, you’re physically and mentally prepared, and can concentrate on enjoying the experience that is one of New Zealand’s most unique races. We asked some of our athlete ambassadors for their best training tips (both physical and mental) for not only the Motatapu, but any challenge that requires preparation.
I’m going to talk about the triathlon event at the Motatapu, but the same principles can be applied to any event. For the tri, I believe it’s really helpful to get out there, do the distance and time on the bike, and build the belief that you can make it. And remember, on race day you’re always more capable than you think.
The open water swim is held at Glendhu Bay, where it is normally three to four degrees colder than Wanaka township. If the lake is cold and it looks to be a cold day, make sure you have more than your compulsory layers in your kit. I use arm warmers and a vest as they are light and will stop wind-chill, but are easy to take off if you get hot.
You can lose a lot of time in the last eight kilometers of the course, if you’re not comfortable riding through rivers. This is worth practicing. Every year is different and in places the rivers might sometimes be too high to ride, but normally it’s pretty dry at this time of the year and the rivers won’t be too bad. Still, you do need to build the confidence to cross them. Try to get through this section of the course pre-race day and work out your lines ahead of time.
Braden’s Macpac Must Have:
My Transition Rain Jacket. It’s super high-tech, lightweight and comfortable for riding. It always passes the gear test. It’s great when you get out of the swim and you are a bit cold, which happens a lot. I really like riding in it because it doesn’t feel weighty at all.
Find your limit and push beyond it. I challenge anyone reading this to mentally reset their limit. I used to think I was pushing as hard as I could and doing everything possible to achieve success. Then one day, someone challenged me to go that next step further in a training session, to push even harder, to go even faster. This was a turning point.
Once you realise you can push beyond your boundaries and extend what is possible, your training will reach new levels. I’m not saying it’s easy, but once you learn to manage yourself, you will be surprised at what is possible. Don’t think this is specific only to sport – it can be applied to any part of your life!
Listen to your body. The longer I have been a professional athlete, the more I appreciate how complex and fascinating the human body is. Training your body smarter and more efficiently will help you reach new levels. Pay attention to tight areas in your body because these issues might hold the key to solving that frustrating niggle or imbalance. Sometimes rest and recovery time can be the smartest thing to do in the long run. Breathing is important too. For me, I’ve had to learn to breathe correctly using my diaphragm (I know, breathing sounds like something I should know how to do by now!). All this ended up solving many of my back and glute issues.
Jamie’s Macpac Must Have:
The Prothermal Zip Top is my favourite piece of Macpac kit. It looks great, gives me amazing warmth, is thin and super lightweight, and provides great breathability when I overheat. It’s versatile enough to use for skiing (my main sport), and basically any other adventures – ideal for the mountain bike event on a cooler day.
Training and building toward a big race is like a box of matches. The matches represent the amount of motivation you have. When the weather is perfect, you’re feeling good and you have some great company, those are the days you don’t need to burn your motivation matches. It’s the days when you’re struggling – sore, tired and the weather is against you – that you need to light a match.
The trick is to use these matches carefully. Sometimes it is easy to burn through all your motivation, making those key training sessions much easier to skip, especially building into the peak season. Make them count!
There’s a simple saying that makes it easier to win the mental battle during training and racing: Everyone has bad patches, it is how you deal with and work through these patches that will determine your successes.
Sam’s Macpac Must Have:
I can’t go without my Eyre top for work outs and competition. It’s super light and breathable, and fits really well so you never feel it pulling whether you’re on the bike or running.
Whether you’re building towards a tough event like the Macpac Motatapu, or training for your local fun-run, these mental and physical training tips are easy to relate to. Apply them to your training and reap the rewards.
Remember, the Macpac Motatapu is just around the corner. Check out all information at www.motatapu.com