It might feel like winter, but it’s only over three months to go until surf lifesaving’s first big event of the new season, the Coolangatta Gold. Lots of people say they want to give it a go, which is no surprise as there’s no event like it. But it makes sense to start your planning now if you’re serious. I thought I’d share with you some sessions, advice, insights and ideas about what it takes to tackle this gruelling endurance challenge. First up is what I like to call pre-season preparation!!!
10 tips to get you ready to tackle and complete the Coolangatta Gold.
- FIND A COACH
Coaches are the X Factor in achievement.
This is the most important thing. Find someone who knows what it takes to complete the Coolangatta Gold, can answer your questions, will keep you accountable when training becomes tough, and just as importantly, make sure you’re not doing too much.
- PLAN YOUR PROGRAM
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Sit down with your coach and figure out a plan for the next four months. When are we going train, where, how far and why? Ensure you log in rest days, a couple of pre-race run throughs and enough time away from training to ensure it doesn’t become too much. Don’t be afraid to amend the plan as you go, but just making it up as you go along is a recipe for disaster.
- FIND A TEAM
A journey alone is harder regardless of the path.
Having a team around you to train with, support you and offer advice is another critical element to succeeding in the Gold. You’ll need training partners for your long sessions as well as a network of people to help you off the water. AND remember to ask for help if you need it!!
- ASK YOURSELF WHY?
Why do we do what we do?
Before you start toward the Coolangatta Gold it’s important to figure out what you want to achieve and why? It has to be YOUR goal and YOUR motivation and no-one else’s. Whether it’s to win, just finish, impress the kids or simply tick the box, your goal should be central to your journey.
- GET YOUR GEAR IN ORDER
A good tradesman never blames his tools.
For some of us the last time we touched surfcraft was two months ago at the Aussie titles. For others, you may have never paddled a ski or board before, but everyone tackling the Coolangatta Gold should have their craft ready to go before training starts. There is nothing worse than missing 2 weeks of training because your ski is in the shop getting repairs. That goes for running shoes as well. Buy yourself a new pair if you can, it’ll help you avoid injury.
- GET A HEALTH CHECK
Health is Wealth
It might seem silly but going to see a doctor and physio prior to starting your preparation will give you piece of mind. Make sure you explain to both what you’re doing, your training requirements and ask for advice. They’re the professionals. The doctor should advise on your overall health and any underlying concerns, while a good physio will help manage your body through the slog towards October.
- BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE RACE
Know your enemy.
Jump online and get to know the Coolangatta Gold, the race, the course, and its history. The more you know the better prepared you will be on race day. There are plenty of old races on YouTube to watch and articles on the web… I hear 2014 was a good one. 😊
- BALANCE BUDDY
You can’t win it early, but you can lose it. It’s easy to look at the Coolangatta Gold and think it’s a ski paddler’s race, as the first half of the entire event is on the ski, but it’s the easier half. Making sure you’ve done enough paddling is essential but don’t neglect the swim, board and run. The swim is cold, lonely and often the deciding leg for the best competitors. The board is very tough for those who haven’t done the work, as you’ll be starting to feel fatigue when you get there. And nobody wants to be left walking the final stretch to Coolangatta. Make sure your sessions cover the 4 legs of an ironman race.
- SIGN UP
Walk your talk.
The day entries open, sign yourself up! That small step alone shows your commitment and will hold you accountable for the winter months. Don’t put it off any longer, take up the challenge.
- GET GOING
Nobody said it was easy.
The first month is always going to be the hardest, but possibly the most rewarding. It’s cold, you may be unfit, and the race is still far enough away that it feels like a missed session won’t hurt you. Don’t take the easy option. Get your preparation going and everyday will be easier than the last.
So good luck and congratulations on taking on the challenge of the toughest test in surf sports. The feeling you get when you cross the finish line will be worth it!