Part of being an athlete is routine. Its all about the ritual. I get up, have my shower and make my morning smoothie. I pack my gear bag and make sure I have 2 bottles of water, bananas and One Square Meals handy. I spend about 30 minutes on mobility and stretching and I have to have the Eminem blaring in my headphones on the drive there. My warm up routine takes about 40 minutes, and is the same no matter whether I am training, or getting ready for a National final.

Routine is everything; it’s something to hold onto in the heat of competition. When there are countless distractions around you it’s crucial that you say focused on the task at hand and prepare yourself to execute a peak performance.

I have a busy few months ahead of me.

  • The New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships on March 6th.
  • The New Zealand Track and Field Championships March 28th
  • The Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships April
  • The World Surf Lifesaving Championships September

These are the 4 major comps I have targeted this season. I will be travelling and staying in unfamiliar territory for each one, and this is where some people can run into problems. New cities come with new distractions, and if you are not careful it can be easy to turn up to your competition ill prepared.

So I have compiled a list of strategies to combat being away from home and help ensure you are physically and mentally ready for the task at hand.

10 issues you may face when travelling overseas to compete:




This is not the time for experimenting with some exotic Asian cuisine. Stick to what you know as best as you can, wining and dining can be done another time. You have a job to do.

Timing of Competition

Plan out your eating a day or so in advance so you have the nutrients in your system when you need them. Be methodical.


Drink lots of water in the days leading up to comp and have plenty with you when you arrive at the venue. I aim to have 4-5 litres in my sports bag, especially if you are in a team situation and sharing transport. There’s nothing worse than being stuck without water at a competition.

Going out to Dinner/Drinks with the Team

Remember why you are here, eat well and sleep well. Get to bed early and for the love of god avoid alcohol. Party after the job is done.

©michael marzi

©michael marzi

Supermarket 100 km’s from your Accommodation

Go on a big shop when you first arrive and buy all your meals for the coming days. Going with the flow and trusting that you will be near enough to a decent food store when you need to eat is a recipe for disaster.

Stuck at Competition Venue all Day

Take food that is easily packaged and stored, like energy bars, fruits and nuts. Take sunscreen and a hat, long sleeved shirts and stay out of the sun as much as possible. A few hours you in the sun can be fatal to your energy levels leading up to competition. Sip fluid throughout the day, high carb sports drink is key to keep your energy levels up. Slip, slop and slap you crazy animals.

Local water not clean

Stock up on bottled water. It’s not worth the risk, if you are unsure stay clear.

Sharing a Room

Invest in a pair of earplugs and even a face mask. I am a freak when it comes to sleep. I wake very easily and need silence and complete darkness to doze off. A pair of earplugs may be the best investment of the year if it allows you to get a good night sleep.

Remembering how to eat in the stress of competition

Have a food diary written out prior with timing and quantities. Throw it on your phone or in your sports bag.

Combating Nerves

Trust yourself, you have done the training, you have your nutrition on point and you are ready. Don’t worry about anybody else. All you can do is focus in on yourself and what you have to do. Other competitors will try and put doubt in your mind, some people are pros at getting inside their competitions heads and psyching them out. Don’t let them, words are words, you know what you have to do.

Now do it.

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