With the taper-induced phantom pains and niggles and lethargy behind, you may find yourself with a bit of self-doubt, worry and anxiety with only a few nights of sleep before your triathlon race.
While it's perfectly normal to feel some stress, nerves and pressure before an important event, use that powerful energy to fire you up so it brings out the best version of yourself on race day.
Because lack of self-belief and worry can have a disastrous effect on your race day performance, here are a few tips to improve your confidence for race day:
- Stop worrying about the uncontrollables - If you find yourself emotionally stressed out in the week or two before a big event, there's a good chance that you are dealing with a roller coaster of emotions dealing with the "what ifs". Worrying about things that are out of your control, like the weather or competition, is self sabotaging. Turn those negative thoughts into something positive so that those thoughts do not paint a bad mental picture and drain your energy before the race.
- Stop focusing on the outcome - Too much mental energy on paces, speed. times or results can leave you emotionally drained, worried and anxious. It can also keep you from making good decisions, in the moment. Remove any extra pressure on what needs to happen as an end result and focus on the process of delivering yourself to the finish line. Remind yourself of all the tools that you have gained over the season and that a great race day performance is all about being in the moment and dealing with obstacles as they come about.
- List your mantras - Every athlete will have low moments in a race - lots of them. There will be voices in your head that will try to convince you to slow down and maybe even quit when the going gets tough. How will you challenge these voices? What will help you take your focus off your self-doubts and refocus your mind to get you to a positive state of flow? By repeating a powerful statement to yourself over and over again in your mind, you'll find yourself pushing through these low moments and getting through the low moments of racing.
- Reflect on your journey - Look at your individual journey to see how far you've come. Don't compare yourself with anyone else. Remember that time when you couldn't do what you can do now? Or when you completed that tough workout that you didn't think was possible? What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to the start line? Focus on the highlighted moments instead of dwelling on what should have or could have been.
- Mental preparation - Picture yourself at various points during the race and work through all types of scenarios - the good and the bad. Look at course maps, videos and pictures to help you put images to places on the course. And don't forget to visualize yourself crossing the finish line.
- Focus on what you can control - Take care of yourself. Don't worry about anyone else. Focus on what you can control such as your gear and equipment, your sleep, nutrition and hydration as well as your thoughts. Surround yourself with energy givers, not energy suckers and avoid forums/media that cause self-doubt, worry or stress.
- Have fun - Remind yourself that this is just a hobby. Your self-worth and athletic worthiness is not determined by one race. Enjoy being on the roller coaster of emotions as it's your body's way of preparing you for action. Make sure to remind yourself why you signed up for this event and how special it will be to cross that finish line. Don't let your nerves and worries suck the fun out of racing. Focus on what you can control, trust your training, visualize success, mentally prepare yourself and don't forget to have fun.