Boost your pre-race mental game

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When was the last time you had a workout when everything clicked and you felt unstoppable?
Although we all looooove that feeling and hope for it on race day, it's natural
 to doubt yourself and to feel unprepared before an important event. Certainly, in our always-connected world, it’s also very hard to keep things in perspective as it may seem like everyone is doing more than you and you are not doing enough. 

Regardless of how your training did or didn’t go, I encourage you to adjust your mindset so that you can confidently say, "I am ready!"

Here are some ways to boost your mental game before an important race: 

1. You control your thoughts – Feelings come from thoughts. All conflicting and negative thoughts start internally, in the mind. The next time your mind starts racing and you notice self-doubt, anxiety, fear or stress, try to let go of the negative feelings and uncertainties. Choose positive, quality thoughts that will help you excel on race day. And never let another athlete or person get inside your head. 

2. Feelings are not actions – Every time you let yourself think that some type of feeling, whether it is a niggle, low energy, heavy legs or nerves, will turn into an action, like not being able to perform on race day, you’ll find yourself doubting yourself before you even have an opportunity to prove yourself otherwise. Putting blame or excuses on scenarios before race day is easy but the truth is that the only day that matters is race day. Never let your thoughts be confused with actions. You can still have niggles, a previous setback or heavy legs and perform amazingly well on race day.

3. You got yourself ready – When something is important to you, you will find the time and you will put in the work. It takes a lot of hard work to be prepared for an event but the truth is that nobody ever feels 100% ready for something that is meaningful. Since you can't go back in time, you need to reflect on all of your previous training to remind yourself that you have the necessary skills to execute on race day. Even though race day may be tough, struggling does not mean that you are having a bad race. Trust that you have done the work and remember that every great success requires some kind of struggle to get to the finish line. 

4. Try your best - Your greatest fear should not be fear of failure. Not trying is failing. Great things come to those who work hard and never give up. Always race with your current level of fitness and remember that you are a developing athlete, getting to where you want to be, one race at a time. An athlete who makes mistakes is the person who willing to fail in order to win. It’s better to have a season of small mistakes to learn from, than a season of playing it safe, with regrets of never really trying.

5. Be thankful – Don’t worry about anyone else. Everyone person fights a battle or has to overcome some type of obstacle before a race. What incredible battles have you overcome this season? 
The next time you notice self-defeating thoughts filing your mind, or you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts that you are not good enough, ready enough or prepared enough, take a pause so that you can put things into perspective. Always choose to focus on good things in life, that make you feel great, and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.


Final St. George 70.3 training - weekend recap

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A few months ago, I reached out to my friend Katie (Thomas) Morales to see if we could arrange a weekend of training together here in Greenville. Not only did I want her and her hubby Chris to come and visit us so that we could all hang out, but I thought it would be great to train with Katie, since she is extremely fast and strong. Although we both favor hard, hilly and challenging race courses, I race as an age grouper and she races as a professional triathlete. She is one fast and strong female!

Katie and I have been friends for many years. Just before she turned pro, we raced together in Lake Placid and then again in Kona in 2013. 

Katie, Kendra and I before the awards at 2013 IM Lake Placid.

Looking ahead and thinking about the timing of training, I thought it would be so fun to be pushed by Katie and to have some company in town while enjoying our amazing cycling roads two weeks out from St. George.

With this being my final weekend of big training before IM 70.3 St. George on May 6th, Katie and her hubby were able to take time off work to come and visit us on Thursday evening and stay until Sunday. Not only did Katie celebrate her 34th birthday with us but we had 3 full days together, for some swim, bike, run fun. 

Although our work at Trimarni never stops or slows down (especially with 5 of our athletes racing IM Texas this past weekend), we were able to squeeze in some training and finish off our last big training block with lots of fun, great food, smiles and a little bit of suffering. Thankfully, we had great weather on Friday and Saturday and minus the rain and cooler temps on Sunday, we were able to get in three days of quality training. Next week is all about recovery and starting the sharpening phase of our training to help us feel sharp, fresh and fit for the hills of St. George, Utah. 

Here's a recap of our training::

Friday AM: 
4750 yard swim

500 warm-up

Pre set:
6 x 100s (25 kick, 50 swim, 25 kick) w/ fins
6 x 100's (25 kick, 50 swim, 25 kick) no fins

MS 3x's:
16 x 25s on 25 seconds
200 swim EZ w/ paddles/buoy
1 min rest

Post set:
3 x 100's as (25 strong w/ 5 sec rest, 50 build to fast w/ 10 sec rest, 25 fast) into 50 EZ
Rest 1 minute

Friday late morning: 
2:27 hr ride (43.7 miles), 2864 elevation gain
Social ride, exploring the roads and having fun on two wheels. Karel and I rode our road bikes.

Saturday morning: 
4:09 hr ride (76.3 miles), 7755 elevation gain
Double bakery route starting from our house with a stop at Flat Rock bakery.

20-25 minute progressive run off the bike (each on our own)

Sunday morning: 
Katie had her own workout (trainer bike + run) so Karel, Chris and I all did our run workout outside. Karel ran 75 minutes (very EZ) and Chris joined me for 90 minutes (1 mile run, 30 sec walk - all conversational with about 600 feet of climbing) and then he finished his run at 2 hours. 

Here are some snapshots of our training weekend. Can't wait to take pictures in St. George in a week from Tuesday! 

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Post swim smiles. Katie made me work hard and I could hardly keep up!

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Group pic with a mountain photo bomb. 

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We love to climb!

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Enjoying the views.

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Quick stop to refill bottles. 

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Starting our Saturday ride in the fog with perfect weather for a long ride. 

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Chasing the mountains all morning. 

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Heading to the Watershed to start our climb into North Carolina. 

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Starting the climb

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Bakery stop to refill bottles. 

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Stop at Hotel Domestique to refill bottles/bathroom.

No pictures from our Sunday morning run due to the rain. 


Don't be afraid to be competitive on race day

On race day, every athlete will have a reason for enduring the pain and the physical challenge that comes with racing.  I encourage you to love competition for competitive feelings help you feel energized, confident and ready to take on a challenge. 

Far too often, athletes get in their own way before and on race day. Nerves, anxiety, fear, self-doubt can shift a race ready body into a frozen body that is unable to perform.  

The thoughts in your mind may play ping-pong between positive and negative but this nervous energy is totally normal and needed. Gloria (Dr. G, my mental coach) believes that nerves are a good thing as it means you are ready and that you care. 

The beautiful thing about competition is that the stress that is felt before a race is a sign that you are willing and able to face a big challenge. This nervous excitement can be a great thing as it is a sign that you are ready and willing to stretch your physical limits and possibly, do something that you have never done before. 

Embracing the competition means that you will let other athletes have the race that they trained for without feeling bitter, jealous or upset. Never should you compare yourself to someone else and decide that you are too slow, too heavy or that you will never be that good and you don't belong out on the course.  Every athlete at a race can be competitive. No matter how long it takes you to get to the finish line, not only do you deserve to be there but you worked hard to be there. 

It's good to put a little pressure on yourself with a no expectations attitude. Never lose trust in your abilities. Be confident and enjoy the race experience. 

In a recent article by Dr. G, she discussed some simple tricks to stay mentally tough, no matter what obstacles get in your way. 

For anyone who is racing in the near future, here are my two favorite paragraphs from the article (I recommend reading the entire article):

Only you know what got you to the race and will get you to the finish line. Everyone has character strengths and experiences that they can capitalize on in challenging situations. First, have awareness of what your strengths are and secondly, use them. Embrace your competitiveness, your humor, your grit. Remember, it was your time, money, training, and planning that got you to the race, so own it. Enjoy the process and focus on doing you on race day!

Successful athletes know their goal so well that they can close their eyes and create a mental picture of it in their mind. The more vivid and clear your goal is, the more your brain and body know where to aim. Motivation increases when you know where you're are aiming your efforts. This means creating a picture in your mind, putting visual cues of your goal in your environment, or writing it out specifically and clearly in your training log. Then leading up to the race, you can recall your goal to help focus and direct all that energy so you're more excited and less freaked out."