Coaching, Training, Camps.

Impulsive Decisions Before Race Day
Coach Scott Bennefield

I regularly remind my athletes regarding what it means to be race ready. One basic component is: don’t do anything just prior to or on race day that has not been part of your routine or you have not practiced. This does not mean inflexibility, but rather don’t veer or venture into new territory by making impulsive decisions going into a race. I often refer to examples from my own race experience as well as others I know.

I love to cook out on my grill all the time. When we threw out the idea of doing a pancake breakfast following our group cycling workout on a recent Saturday I was excited because I had wanted to buy a griddle for my outdoor grill for some time. So I purchased one on the Thursday before, and thought how cool this was going to be. After all, I have made pancakes for years in the kitchen with a Teflon electric skillet.  My wife had strongly suggested I do a trial run before the big morning. I heard what she said, however, there where may other things that were on my agenda and time was scarce. I thought a test drive of making pancakes was not needed. After all, how different could this be?

So the first time for me to try this new cooking equipment out was the Saturday morning after the team workout when the group was at my home. I had all the ingredients lined up, mixed and ready to cook. I was so excited to have all of our team over to my home. Prideful, like I was on a cooking competition on the Food Network, this was my chance to impress my friends. We were just back from a strong endurance ride and all were anticipating with growling stomachs. We are all on the patio talking and enjoying the friendships. With the imagined finesse of a Chef de Cuisine, I poured on four servings of batter on it knowing this is going to be so good. I was so hungry and excited, that in my rush, I had neglected to read the manual that said to spray the new cooking surface with non-stick spray.

Then I went to flip the first pancake. To my shock and surprise, it stuck to the new griddle. I tried to lift it and it broke apart leaving a residue of gummy remains. So did the other pancakes. Immediately my mind tries to reconcile what just happened. Maybe I miscalculated the heat. Maybe I mixed the batter incorrectly. Maybe this new piece of equipment was faulty! Hoping no one was watching too closely, I scraped the first set off as best I could and without further consideration, I quickly tried a couple of more servings. A big no go. Now I wasted most of the batter I had prepared. Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do now? How do I get out of this “sticky” situation? While all the team waited patiently, I retreated embarrassed indoors to make them the way I always have done it before. And there I was successful with the tools and routine that I was most familiar with from experience. I should have heeded my wife and my own coaching advice. Score it: Impulsiveness – 1, Scott – 0.

What’s the lesson?
DO NOT try anything radical on race day that you have not practiced. Don’t let shiny/futuristic new equipment entice you to question your readiness 48 hours before your race. Either you are ready to race or not. Maybe you saw something on social media that might make you look better or go faster and you feel pressure because that’s what all your friends are touting. Don’t do it. Don’t “waffle” on your training plan, nutrition plan, or any other radical action that may seem logical or harmless.
Trust me, in triathlon and in life, this is how it “stacks up”. When I make impulsive decisions, I tend to be the one who gets “pancaked”.
With much appreciation for my fellow athletes letting me demonstrate what not to do… for their benefit of course.

If you would like more information about working with Coach Scott Bennefield, he can be reached at