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Psych Out: Dealing With Race-Day Anxiety

  • By Erin Beresini
  • Published Aug 23, 2013
  • Updated Sep 10, 2013 at 6:16 PM UTC
Jesse Thomas at the 2012 Wildflower Long Course Triathlon. Photo: Aaron Hersh


Do you tend to freak out before a big race? These three expert tips can help you annihilate race-day anxiety.

This article was originally printed in the July/August 2012 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.

When pro triathlete Jesse Thomas raced Wildflower for the first time in 2011, nobody knew who he was. When he came back as returning champion in 2012, he was larger than life—literally. He was on billboards, signing his photo on issues of Triathlete, and trying to tune out the race announcer who wondered aloud if Thomas could repeat his win. How did he cope with all of that hoopla—and his personal expectations—to dominate once again? We asked his coach, Matt Dixon, how to keep it together when the pressure’s on.

1. Plan it out.

“Understand the framing of your race in the context of your season and in the context of your year,” Dixon says. It’s easier to avoid stressing yourself out at a certain event if you understand how that event fits into your long-term racing plan. Thomas had to recognize that both his career and his 2012 season weren’t built around Wildflower, so he wouldn’t let his success or failure at becoming a repeat champ define him as an athlete.

RELATED: Coping With Pre-Race Nerves

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FILED UNDER: InsideTri / Training TAGS: /

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