Did You Bring Your Mental Game?

By: C.Lewis

The triathlon and cycling racing season in Southern Ontario is now underway!! Most of us have put in many hours and a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the pool, on the bike and on the road to prepare physically for our goal events this season.  But are you ready for the mental challenges that come with racing?  As a Coach I have worked with athletes who can nail almost every training session I give them but who get in a race and cannot seem to perform to their potential.  On the contrary I have worked with athletes who deal with day to day stresses that hinder their ability to succeed every day with workouts but yet get on the race course and are able to perform at a very high level.  What makes the difference in these two athletes?  The ability to handle the stresses of race day and pre-race preparations and the ability put 100% into their performance in the moment.  Training for the mental stresses of race day is important just as training for physical is.

Coach Cindy Lewis racing IM Texas, using all of her mental training techniques to get through the extreme heat.

 

Visualization of your ideal performance is easy to do and key to a good performance on race day as well as helping you during your workouts.  Picture yourself on the course with a nice smooth and powerful swim stroke during the swim.  Picture yourself powering past other people in aero position on your bike feeling strong and powerful with a smile on your face.  Picture yourself running strong!!  Relaxed upper body, quick cadence, smiling and working through the (good) hurt.  Visualization is very beneficial and can be done on a day to day basis free of charge!!  Try adding this into your program.

 

Another way to prepare is to make a mental list of all the tough workouts you crushed… the workouts you nailed by putting your head down and getting it done.  Store those in your mind so you can call on them when it gets tough during the race.  If you did those intervals in the pool or on the bike, got through those challenging pieces in your runs, you can remind yourself of that and convince yourself to keep going when times get challenging during the race and you want to slow down – remind yourself of what you are capable of and find the drive to continue.

 

Usually we don’t want you thinking about negatives… however, it can be helpful to think of what could happen that we don’t want to happen and have a solution ready.  For example, if you get a flat tire, you get a blister, you lose your nutrition… walk through what you would do in situations like this.  Picture this happening and you being calm and cool and going through these solutions that you have already come up with so if it does happen you are able to stay calm, go through the motions of fixing the problem and continue on!

 

In summary, mental strength and focus are ultra important in endurance races.  Train your mind just like you train your body!!  For more ideas and information on this and training in general, talk to your CL Performance Training Coach.  Good luck in your races this season!!

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Burlington, ON

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