Who says you have to be ready?

With the Christmas New Year break pretty much all but forgotten for another year, the racing season is now back in full swing. At this time of the year there is an abundance of races you can choose from. Pick a weekend and somewhere close by there will be a race being held. It’s such a great time of the year to be a part of the sport of triathlon and cycling!

Yet chatting to a number of athletes, and I’m finding that many are deciding not to race at the moment. And after chatting further, it all came back to the same reason…

So if you are not racing at the moment, ask yourself – why ?

Are you coming off the back of a long course race at the end of last year and building back that strength, endurance and speed again? Or maybe you are recovering from an injury? Has the time off over the holiday period and that little extra Christmas pudding left you feeling slower and heavier, so you are waiting until you get the fitness and weight back in check?  Do you not feel quite at your peak yet? Or not quite ready to test your training out in a race? Maybe you are waiting for the ‘right’ time. The right race. The right circumstances for you to be ready?

The common theme I’m finding as to why athletes don’t race is centred around believing they are not ready to race yet.

But who says you have to be ‘ready’ to race? And what does being ready even look like? Why can’t you just go out and race because you feel like it? To learn from it? To gain physical and mental strength from it?

If you have been in your base training but haven’t done your race specific prep yet, does it matter? You will finish and you will be fine AND you may just surprise yourself! Racing isn’t always about being ‘ready’. It’s about putting yourself out there. It’s about learning and discovering how to push yourself.

Every race doesn’t have to be raced for a PB. (as nice as a PB is!) 

I’ll be racing a short course race this weekend – my first triathlon since having my little man 5 months ago. But I certainly haven’t trained specifically for it. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been in the pool in the last 12 months. My running (aka jogging) is with a pram and on average once a week (if that), and my cycling is sporadic – and mostly on the trainer, but I’ve been strength training and walking. Loads. I’m definitely not ‘ready’ to race, but in my mind, I don’t know when I will be. And what does it matter anyway? I’m fit, and I’m healthy and I love training and I love racing. So why not race?

My old athlete self would never have toed a start line without being ‘ready’. I would not have even considered it. I remember conversations I’ve have with athletes a few years ago and they would ask if I was racing. If I wasn’t I’ll tell them – ‘no I’m not ready to race yet‘, ‘can’t you just race to enjoy it?’ I remember one athlete ask back. And I remember at the time that I quipped back ‘I’d rather not race at all….‘  Back then, I was all or nothing. If I hadn’t put everything into training, then I felt I wouldn’t be able to put everything into a race. And there was no way I was going into a race without being race ready.

How wrong my old self was!

If I could go back and advise my old self, I would tell the younger me that it is ok to race even if you aren’t 100% ready. As long as you give 100% of whatever you have on the day – then you are winning. And you will gain from it. You will learn from it. And you will be motivated from it. You don’t have to be ‘race ready’ to get the benefits from a race. It is often these races that athletes actually gain more from than the ones when they are ready.

Of course when you are fully prepared you get the results and the rewards, but it is the races when you come in without expectations, you learn how to mentally push yourself when your body physically doesn’t want you to. It is these races where you can surprise yourself, and when you will learn more about yourself.

There are plenty of goals you can have for a race. Even if you are underdone. You just have to be prepared to put yourself out there.

So go into a race underdone – but with a different goal. You may have been working tirelessly on your bike leg which has previously been your weakness, but that’s left your run underdone. So go in with the purpose of racing hard on the bike and letting the run be what it will be.

Your training may have fallen off the bandwagon as you search for a new goal, if so, then use the race to get that fire in the belly back.

You may be returning from injury and can’t run – enter as a team.

Every race you do you experience and learn from. So the more racing you do, the more you will learn. About how to race, what the body is capable of, how to read racing conditions, race tactics… the list is endless.

So stop putting off entering a race because you don’t feel ready. Enter and throw yourself into it. You won’t regret it!


Coach Sarah

Complete Per4mance Coaching is triathlon, cycling and running coaching for athletes seeking a performance edge. My coaching is born out of the desire and passion to not just coach but to educate athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal performance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life.

Every athlete is individual, therefore I provide programs written and designed specifically based on each athletes goals, time commitment, training level and ‘life’ in general. Delivered through training peaks, each athlete receives a truly personal coaching service dedicated to improving YOUR results, while providing a pricing structure that helps allow every athlete receive the coaching that they deserve.

Contact me to discuss your training and coaching options. 

First race of the season

The first race of the season in Melbourne kicked off on the weekend with Race 1 of the 2XU Triathlon Series at Elwood. I was super excited as it wasn’t just the first race on the calendar, but also the first race of athletes racing for CPC. So I wonder if it was for that reason that I turned up to StKilda instead of Elwood! 😉 I’m clearly still learning that no matter how many years of racing, ALWAYS look up details of your race – especially the location!  (can I blame baby brain for that one!) 😉 Another great lesson to take away – always allow plenty of time before your race for unexpected things to happen!

Despite the detour, all athletes arrived on time and prepped and ready for their race. Rain over night always makes the swim leg doubtful, but good news in the morning that the swim was on and race 1 of the series was set and ready to go! So conditions were pretty good for racing – the bay surprisingly clear and flat, the bike fast as usual despite a little bit of breeze and the run warm and humid but great for spectating. A light sprinkle of rain during the race didn’t phase athletes and was actually welcomed in the warm conditions.

We had a small group taking on the race including Brett Sands – returning to defend his series podium finish last year against always tough competition in the 45-49 age group. Mal McLeod – off the back of the Half Ironman World Championships and Melbourne Marathon! And new mums Dayna Wilkie and Coach Sarah teamed up as a team for their first races post babies.

Well done to so many of our friends racing also – the triathlon community is a fantastic one, and it doesn’t matter who you are, who you train with or how long you have been in the sport, the support for one another is fantastic and it’s always fun cheering on your fellow competitors on the sidelines and from within. So well done everyone, and thanks to the supporters who came down and cheered!


Brett Sands – 2nd M45-49
Swim 8:34 Bike 30:54 Run 19:17 Overall 1:02.21
“Going in to today’s race I thought I was well underdone, as I had missed some key sessions of late. I made sure Sarah knew this at the time. Sarah made some adjustments to my program and she nailed it. 2nd on the day and I thought I was way off this result going in. Goes to show my coach knows me better than I do! Thanks Sarah, there is no way I could have got this right without your input.” ~Brett
After a review from last years races, one of the key focus’s for Brett for this race was to have slick transitions, and Brett nailed it with 6th fastest in T1 and fastest out of T2. The little things always count! Well done Brett on your execution on a great race!

Team Dayna & Sarah – 2nd Teams
Swim 9:29 (Dayna)  Bike 36:45 (Dayna) Run 21:40(Sarah) Overall 1:12.09

Going into this race with zero expectations meant that, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t nervous at the start line. I went out pretty hard on the swim, trying to keep up with the others in my wave, until I had to force myself to back off, knowing that I was never going to be able to keep going at that effort level. Eventually the others must have realised the same as I slowly started catching and passing many of them. The run from the water to the bike felt like a marathon for someone that hasn’t been allowed to do any run training! I finally got on my bike. It has been a long time since I last raced, so it took a little longer than usual to get my shoes done up, but once they were on it was go time. I felt good on the bike… not my fittest “good” but still good… and overall I was happy with my time splits for my current fitness level. Once back into transition it was onto Sarah for the run…” ~Dayna

It was so good to team up with Dayna so she could get back onto the racing scene 9 months post baby. Dayna hasn’t been able to return to running yet, but has been committed to getting back her fitness in the swim and ride, and her work has paid off, nailing her fastest swim AND bike times over the sprint distance! (she failed to mention that!) Who said having a baby slows you down!

Mal McLeod – 9th Clydesdale
Swim 12:38 Bike 34:13 Run 29:02 Overall 1:19.58

Mal is starting his build back after a big year of training and racing including the resent Half Ironman World Championships followed closely by the Melbourne Marathon. A consistent race all round and we look forward to working closely together to continue his triathlon and health journey.

Official Photos here
More photos here
Race Results here


On Saturday north of Melbourne in Bendigo Goldfields, we had two athletes take on an off road triathlon. For those who haven’t raced off road before – they are TOUGH! The physical ability racing off road is harder as well as the mental concentration required to navigate rocks, turns, climbs, tree roots, other competitors means you have to be ‘on’ the whole race. But at the same time they are super fun and very rewarding so if you haven’t done one before, have a think about including one into your races this season! Well done to both our athletes out there over the weekend.

Ollie McNulty – 4th M40-49
Sprint 400/10/5 01:26:4097

Margaret Wilcock – 2nd 
Teaser 200/5/1 50:03.38
Margaret wasn’t going to let injury and recent illness stopping her from lining up for her first off-road race as part of her journey to her ultimate goal!
Read about Margarets experience here.

Race Results here