Guide to Travel Competitions- Part I
I was recently discussing last year’s USPF Nationals (which took place in Chicago) with Pam Paul when I realized that she was extremely well prepared beyond her workouts. I had taken care of her training in the gym and gave her a few pointers about being out of state for a few days but Pam took it to the next level. Everything ran so smooth that I guess until recently I hadn’t even noticed how well she prepared everything involved with the travel. So I asked Pam to write a blog giving a few pointers on traveling to a meet in which you’ll be away from home for a few days. She broke it into three parts. This is a must read for anyone traveling for their first powerlifting meet or any athlete that travels for competition and is looking for a few pointers they may have overlooked in the past.
So you’ve decided to travel to a powerlifting competition. You’ve selected the meet, and you’ve put in the time in the gym but this is just the beginning. There are a lot of things to consider when planning for a travel competition beyond just your training plan. Federation membership, equipment, travel plans, and much more need to be prepared and in order to have a successful meet. Preparing early and knowing what to expect can be the difference between a successful meet experience and a stressful, disappointing one.
6-8 weeks Prior to Comp:
• Check the rules. Rules can change at any time, and it’s good to be familiar with the rules prior to the rules meeting. This way you can make sure you’re training is consistent with a good lift at the meet.
• Check your gear. Make sure that your gear fits and is in working order and that you have everything you’ll need the day of the meet. Confirm that your gear is compliant with federation requirements. If you aren’t sure, check with the meet director or other federation official. This way you have time to shop for and order anything that you don’t have or won’t work at the comp.
• Check your federation membership. Make sure your membership is current, and will still be in effect the day of the meet. Update if necessary so that you’ll have your membership card in plenty of time for the meet.
• Send in your meet entry. This may require getting on a scale so you know what weight class you’ll be in. For some reason, people tend to forget this important step. Make sure you know the entry deadline and you send in your entry well in advance. Most meet directors will let you change something if you’ve registered early, but they’re less open to last minute entries especially at a larger meet.
• Book your travel. I recommend staying in the meet venue or as close as possible to it. It reduces stress and confusion for weigh-ins and lifting day. Also, this allows you to run back to your room if necessary the day of. Get there at least a day early with plenty of time to get to weigh-ins and recover before you need to lift. If you have the time or if you’re changing time zones, 2 days before is even better. You don’t want to be tight and lethargic from traveling on the day of the meet, or worse yet, miss the last weigh-in due to a delayed flight.
o Hotel Tip: It’s definitely worth trying to make sure your room has a fridge, and the hotel has a hot tub. You’ll want the immediate access to food without worrying if the kitchen is open. After a long and tiring meet, there’s nothing better than soaking in the hot tub. Staying closer would take precedence, but these two things are definitely nice to have.
• Know where the food is! Do some research of the surrounding area you will be staying. Google the local restaurants and food stores as the last thing you want to be worried about is where to get your next meal.
• Make a checklist. Make yourself a checklist of things you want in your gear bag. Obviously, that will include all of your lifting gear, singlet, bench shirt if you wear one, belt, shoes, etc. Also on your checklist should be anything else you’ll want with you at the meet. These are things like: pool chalk, kilo conversion chart, mp3 player, protein bars, energy drink or mix, a jacket or shirt to wear between lifts to keep muscles warm. Anything that will make you more comfortable and reduce your stress.
• Standardize your warm-up for each lift. If you normally just warm up by feel, now is the time to get into a more structured warm up routine. You want to train your body to be warmed up by your routine, and you won’t have time the day of the comp to be disorderly. Other athletes need to get their warm up in at the same time, and you’ll need to work in. Knowing what you want makes this go faster for everyone.
Part II to be continued in an upcoming blog….