Problem 6: Keeping up race-day confidence
I must be last after that terrible swim. My legs hurt more than they should. I dropped a Gu—I’m going to bonk!
Solved: Stay positive. “If you put negative thoughts in your mind, then they’re more likely to be predictive and accurate,” Carr says. Walker agrees. “Every time a negative thought enters your head, you’ll contract your muscle fibers, and you won’t have the same body out there as you did in training,” she says.
Whenever a negative thought begins to creep in, replace it with a positive one. Got a flat? That’s OK, you’re a whiz at fixing flats! A few other strategies: “Remind yourself of the body parts that feel good,” Walker says. Or try counting your steps. And just as you might during a big workout, break the race into pieces, then remind yourself you’ll soon be moving on to the next discipline.
Pro Tip: Positive Self-Talk
“I remember specific training sessions when I had an awesome day,” says Thomas, who added a sports psychologist to his training arsenal in 2013. “This year during Wildflower, I used ‘4:38,’ the time of the mile I ran at the end of a big interval long run. During the entire run, I told myself, ‘Nobody can do that!’”