Writing a great race report

It is very important to log and document your training activities as a serious athlete. What do I mean by a serious athlete? Athletes who are using structure in there training to make improvements in their physical performance are how I define a serious athlete. So if you are a recreational rider, event rider, racer, runner, or triathlete who is organizing and logging their training, welcome to the serious athletes club. But are you documenting your big events and races? If not you may be missing out on a wealth of information.

If the above describes you then I thought I would share the things that I capture in my own race reports and how I use them.

Let’s start with how I use my race reports. First, my race reports have been very casual affairs mainly to update my coach, my teammates, and sponsors. This gives my coach something else to look at other than the raw telemetry/data of a race. There is quite a bit to be learned by the subjective commentary of a race report vs. race or event data. For instance, I was not posting numbers in my training that would show that I was capable of creating a break off the front of the peloton. However, in a race I did just this. So I learned under certain circumstances, mood, rest, weather, and adrenaline, I was able to do something training had proved was not in the cards for me. When I began writing race reports I initially used them as a tool to provide new racers on my team lessons learned and to get other teammates excited about each other’s progress and efforts. I like to think of it as collaborative bench racing!

After I posted my last race report to the team I realized it was way too long and an incredibly unorganized mess of text. This lead to this post and the outline I will be using from now on. I am covering each heading below with instructions. While I am sharing this outline with you my readers and those that I coach I only intend to capture highlights for my teammates and sponsors. I also have marked items with a */asterisk that I will use in my summary race reports that are less formal.

*Athlete: Your name! Use your nickname too if your team has bestowed one on you!

*Name of Race/Event: What’s’ the name of the event/race? Include City, State, and which course if more than one course or race run/ridden

*Race/Event Category: What Category did you race (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Masters, D, C, B, A), Multi-Sport/Run Age Group, or which group did you ride within your event (Front, Pack, Back, A, B, C,)


Time: Time of day (Early Morning, Mid Morning, Afternoon, Late Afternoon, Eve, Night)

Sleep: How many hours of sleep the night before?

Athlete Mood: How did you feel before, during and after the race? (Amazing, Great, Good, Bad, Horrible)

Pack Mood: What seemed to be the mood of the group you are riding/racing/running/swimming with (Nervous, Up Beat, Rowdy, Having Fun, Way to Serious)

Weather conditions: What was the weather like? (Windy, Bad Head Wind, Bad Cross Wind, Cold, Warm, Just Right, Hot, Blazing, Wet, Slick, Dry)

*Course/Road Conditions: What was the course like? Did you pre-ride/run the course? (Smooth pavement, chip-seal, broken pavement, good or bad corners, specific obstacles or technical sections, slick, rough….)

Rate the Race/Event: How did the organizers do with the race/event set up? (1-5 five being the highest rating)

*Items you liked about the Race/Event: List whatever comes to mind about the race/event that you really liked.

Race/Event Objectives: What is your performance-oriented intentions for this race/event? (Try to attack, get in the break, stay upright, first out of the water, fastest transition time, finish, sprint, in the end, mix it up….)

*Race/Event Goals: What are your outcome goals for this race/event? (Finish, Finish under x time, Finish with the pack, Top 30, Top 20, Top 10, Top 5, Podium, Not to be dead last)

*Race/Event Details: In 500 words or less describe your experience in the race. What you feel you did well at and what you think needs to improve. Where did other racers/riders/teammates shine? Did you see a tactic or move that you thought was great or sketchy?

Pros: List 2-5 pros about the race (Can be anything from officiating, weather, course, mood to outcomes)

Cons: List 2-5 cons about the race (Can be anything from officiating, weather, course, mood to outcomes)

*Lessons Learned: Wrap up the report with things that you learned about the race/event, your technical and or physical performance or any other incite that may help you do better at the next race/event

By the Numbers: Feel free to add more details to your report such as average and maximums on heart rate, speed, cadence and of course power if you have it.

I have covered just about everything I want in a race report. The bigger question is, will it be useful to you? If you think something is missing from this list let me know as I am preparing an e-book titled (for now) “D-Day Preparation for Races and Events”.

Have a great ride!

Coach Rob

6 Comments on “Writing a great race report”

  1. Great point Hallvard,

    I don’t directly provide my athletes sports nutrition coaching but my partner does. So unless one of my athletes is working with Kelli I don’t ask for it in their race report.

    I do talk to my athletes prior to their priority races and we do go over all of their tactics including nutrition. Athletes that have had a history of bonking, cramping or are racing in a me discipline or longer events I will spend more time talking nutrition with them.

  2. Thank you for this! I race motorcycle enduros and I found this outline useful for my sport too. Much appreciated.

  3. Thanks Ruth, great race report. Sorry about the weather. I know how awful it is to run in soaking wet shoes too. If you ever want to discuss how to manage your pace in a race I would be happy to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.