Two Is One, One is None – Race Strategy Contingency Plan
I heard this on a podcast a few years ago, and it stuck in my head immediately. It’s a military (Seals) terminology indicating that having one of something is the same as having nothing at all. Having two of something is the same as having only one of something. Meaning when something fails/ goes wrong, and you just had one contingency, then my friend, you are left with nothing.
Of course, there is always hope, but I am a believer in concentrated planning and forethought, hope – while a possible solution – isn’t a failsafe.
That’s how we treat race execution with our EC athletes.
If you are showing up with only 1 race strategy, that only allows for a single approach to the day, then you are setting up to fail. If you turn up with that strategy but also have a contingency to adjust to should shit hit the fan, then you are more prepared than most.
You can break this down to relatively minute detail. Think about your last nutrition plan. Even if it worked, did you have something in place to cover your behind if it didn’t? Also, if that plan is something you have crafted over the seasons and works for you – do you want to risk it? Did you have a cooling strategy for that race that said “mild” but turned out to be asphalt melting, lava-like conditions?
Whenever I get pushback for hounding athletes for race plans, I ask this simple question: are you racing with spare tyres/ tubes? The answer is almost always yes. Then OK – why don’t you have more contingencies in place? Tyres are an easy one, but the risks of racing are far more complex than a blown tube.
It doesn’t mean you should have two aero helmets, two disc-wheels and a second wetsuit. Two watches… But having two sets of goggles at a race has helped me more than once! And really, there is enough excess in the sports of triathlon already.
Planning is your ticket to a clear head on race day.
Have you ever ridden past the panic-stricken athlete on the side of the road, desperately trying to find the last molecules of C02 from his empty cartridge? My heart would always break for those people. It might be bad luck, but smart planning edges you further from bad luck and closer to being able to solve and adapt.
It isn’t even hard to do – it just takes time, self-awareness and a bit of forethought. And my friends – those things are free! That cost you nothing. But ignoring it can cost you your race.