What’s Your Race Plan?

By Marlene Royle

The lanes may be straight, but you still need a road map to reach the finish line. Your race plan is the tool that will guide you there. Remember to keep it simple but positive. Write your plan clearly on a piece of paper and copy it for each crewmember. Include cue words that help you maintain your technique as the buoys tick by. Know the sequence of the race and mentally rehearse it before practices and in the evenings. Simulate pieces in training to refine each part of the race, especially if you have a known rough spot. Revise as needed. Use your formula to stay focused and in the moment. A good plan should allow you to draw upon all the energy and mental power you have and also work through the pain. It reinforces your resolve and gives you the best chance for an optimal performance. Your race plan need not be complicated, either. It can be as simple as a few reminders every 100 to 250 meters—calls like “swing,” “length,” or “rhythm.” Or it can be more detailed, with precise stroke counts and slide lengths at the start and tactical calls emphasizing technique and power at the major distance markers of 500, 1,000, and 1,500 meters.