Andrew Campbell, the sailor selected to represent the USA in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympics, wrote a post on his blog a few days ago entitled Top 3 Training Tips for the Laser Worlds. Nothing illustrates better the gulf between an elite sailor like Andrew and a mid-fleet old-fart weekend-warrior hacker like me than our approaches to practice and training before a World Championship.
We both sailed in our respective World Championships last month in Australia. Andrew sailed in the real/ open/ senior Worlds against the best Laser sailors on the planet. I sailed in the Laser Masters Worlds held at the same location, using the same boats, a few days later, against... well, the best Laser sailors on the planet who just happen to be over 55.
Andrew showed up at the regatta site a week early. Tillerwoman and I flew to Oz and spent a couple of days staying at an old pub in the Rocks area of Sydney that claims to be the oldest licensed establishment in Australia, did a bit of sight-seeing, drank lots of beer and wine, had a great meal out at a Sydney restaurant with some friends, ate some fish and chips (of course) at the pub, and drove up to Terrigal, the regatta site, a couple of days before my regatta was due to start.
Andrew's recommended schedule for the week before a Worlds includes such items as a few "normal gym sessions" (whatever they are), five days of sailing, putting up the "race sail" if the wind is light or moderate, and a rest day immediately before the regatta starts.
My pre-regatta preparation before the regatta included a couple of hours on the water using my one and only sail that I had used/ abused for racing all last season, one evening at the Terrigal Mexican restaurant consuming margaritas and tequila shots, and another evening trying to score as much free alcohol as I could at the extremely long, noisy, crowded opening ceremony. Hey I paid my registration fee, and I'm going to get my money's worth.
Wait. Andrew mentioned gym sessions. What gym? There's a gym in Terrigal? I never found it. (Not that I actually looked for it.)
Andrew's three tips were "Show Up Early", "Know your threshold for good training", and "Don't Get Burned Out by Practice".
I agree (almost). My one tip which I follow religiously is "Don't Get Burned Out by Practice". But I did actually practice in Terrigal before the regatta started. More details to come...