Not many variables in triathlon are more important than believing in yourself . . . but self-doubt can be relentless. Over the course of my athletic career I have come to the conclusion there’s only one way to change self-defeating voices in your head, it’s called: Diving In.
Facing fear has never been easy, but it always makes me feel alive. If you’re afraid to talk to a stranger, go for a dream job, or sign up for an Ironman, do it . . . now.
When you think about it, fear is what makes life interesting. It forces us to think, adapt, and grow.
Other than actually completing long training swims, rides, and runs, the next best thing for my confidence is writing. It’s therapy that leads me through the event before it happens. It’s problem solving in advance that settles in my subconscious.
Life is about learning and writing let’s me visualize every stage of the game. It hasn’t always been perfect, but my race “visions” and results have been pretty consistent with my writing forecasts.
I just read an article by Chris Bagg for LAVA magazine that gives some ideas for keeping your head in the game during training and races. After a “prolonged shuffle through the filing cabinets of his athletic past” he finally (I think) got to the point of his piece with this:
I hope to make a point today about mental toughness: how easy it is to have it when we have no knowledge of it, how devastating its absence can be to any kind of athlete, and how difficult (yet possible!) it is for any of us to regain it. I should say, here, that I am indebted to Jesse Kropelnicki at QT2 Systems for working with me on my mental game, and to the United States Olympic Committee’s excellent handbook on the subject: Sport Psychology: Mental Training Manual. Essentially they focus on two key elements of mental strength.
It all honestly took some mental toughness to read the piece, but here’s what I took away:
Use positive affirmations, relax, and try to approach races like they are practice.
You can read the entire article here.