The most important training you do may happen after the race.
If you visit any running, cycling or triathlon forums on the Internet, you'll notice the popularity of race reports. We all seem to love the storytelling which goes with our adventures, especially in longer races - where so many things happen, the toughest part is remembering them all for the report!
Many athletes enjoy writing the report and talking about the funny instances, the pain and discomfort (at times) and the lows and extreme highs of their performance. However, most are missing a quality opportunity to assess their race, performance, strategy, nutrition, pace and even confidence or motivation in some cases.
If you're tempted to write a race report, it's fine to make it enjoyable for others to read, but be sure to use it as tool to be honest and objective with yourself. In fact, a race report should be more for your use as an evaluation tool than as an entertainment tool for others.
With as much time as athletes put into training and preparation for an event, probably the most effective use of time comes after the race; in truthfully assessing your performance and how closely it matched your expectations. If it didn't match, what were some of the causes? Were you under-confident in yourself, and performed much better than you expected? Did you overestimate your fitness, or underestimate the course and conditions?
What types of things can be learned from this reflection and evaluation? It may seem unimportant once the race is over, but if you ever plan to return to a similar endeavor, this opportunity is golden!