MITIGATING TRAVEL STRESS ON ATHLETES
maintained during the taper, and the emphasis is on overall stress reduction. a correctly designed taper will bring to fruition months of training and peak performance on race day. it is important to note that the body recognizes and reacts to physical and mental stress in much the same way and with many of the same responses. Reducing both mental/psychological stressors as well as the physical should be a key component of the taper. Traveling to an event, especially when it involves
air travel across multiple time zones to a foreign environment, can be stressful for an athlete. There are rapid changes in sleep cycles and habits, changes in diet and a suppressed immune system. the preparation for and the travel itself is taxing. For the athlete this is no vacation — dealing with pre-race anxieties and pressures along with the demands of travel. Worst of all “jet lag” associated with travel can really throw the athlete for a physical loop. and even a short flight likely will bring changes in climate such as heat, humidity and perhaps pollution and allergens in the new locale. the assumption is that the athlete has taken steps to acclimate to competing in the new environment several weeks or more in advance. Mitigating the mental strain of travel and
adjustment to the new environs should be tantamount leading up to an event. Manipulating the athlete’s immediate physicality, as well as taking steps to quickly adapt to their new environment may make all the difference on race day. Having an organized process to address travel stress will be less stress on both the athlete and the coach. Disorganization is the leading cause of travel stress. if this is the athlete’s first time traveling abroad the coach can be of tremendous value. Start by creating a checklist or series of checklists for the athlete that may include the following examples:
• Securing passport, visa and currency. Notify credit card companies.
• Emergency contacts, medical insurance and prescriptions for all medicines.
• Arranging for bicycle transport, packing equipment properly, equipment checklist and labeling of all equipment.
• Have a written travel itinerary, training availability at venue and an overview of the local culture.
• Understanding of food types available upon arrival, food and water safety and packing of essentials.
PERFORMANCECOACHING | page 3 he purpose of the race taper is to
facilitate maximal recovery by gradually reducing training stress. Fitness is simply
By Matt Russ USA Triathlon Level III Certified Coach
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