The race is over, your gear is unpacked, and you are done. Or are you? Have you written a race report?
Though both athletes and coaches benefit from thoughtfully written race reports, they can be tricky to write. The idea of “not knowing how” to write one can prevent athletes from doing it altogether. The main motivation behind writing post-race summaries is that it keeps driving performance forward. As athletes, it allows us time to thoughtfully reflect on our performance to identify evidence of progression as well as areas for future growth. It also is a very useful exercise to give your coach a complete picture of how the race went down, which is also pretty important since the coach is the one writing your plans!
If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around what to include, it can be helpful to think of the race as a whole AND each event or phase within the race. You might also want to consider including information about factors such as nutrition and hydration before, during, and after the race. Reflect on the following aspects of your performance to get a holistic and useful review of your race execution:
What did you do well? What were your strengths?
What you wish you did better? What limited your performance?
If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently (and how)?
How do you want to incorporate what you learned from this race into your training?
How does this one race fit in with your progression to larger goals?
The big secret about race reports is…there is no “right” way to do it! Over the years, I’ve seen athletes write them as a blog posts that read like a narrative, structured documents filled with short notes, and everything in between. However, the best format for your race summaries is the one that is most natural for you. I have yet to find a coach who turns down information about how his or her athlete experienced and has processed a performance, so write to your heart’s desire!