Rachel Joyce Overcomes Setbacks To Rise Near The Top Of Ironman

  • By Holly Bennett
  • Published Dec 6, 2013
  • Updated Feb 18, 2014 at 12:15 AM UTC
Photo: Endura Pix | Michael Raushendorfer

Mind Over Matter

Joyce shares the key tips she’s gleaned for conquering adversity, before, during and after a race that doesn’t quite go to plan.

When I’ve had interruptions to my preparation going into a race, I of course have moments when I panic about all the training I have missed. But as race day nears, I switch those thoughts off and focus only on what I have done — the sessions that went well and will boost my confidence. I think about the quality of those sessions and not the volume I’ve missed.

Focus on yourself and not what other people are doing. It’s hard to do in an era of social media, but switch off as much as possible. Paying too much attention to others can be detrimental to your confidence.

Remain calm and limit the time allowed for a pity party. Then take action — seek the best advice possible and do everything you can to get to the start line in the best shape you can, given the circumstances.

I toed the line in Kona in 2012 knowing I wasn’t fully healthy but with hope that maybe I could have a good race. I had some of the biggest lows during the end of the bike and beginning of the run — feeling ill and feeling huge waves of disappointment. I learned to change my expectations within the race and by remaining positive I was able to almost enjoy the final stages, and also pull out an OK result.

RELATED: Joyce Wins 2012 Challenge Roth

Avoid dwelling on a single disappointing race. Of course you need to address why the race didn’t go as planned, but remember it is just one race. Resist the urge to judge yourself by that one result. Remember the other more successful races you’ve had to regain some perspective.

When you are on the sidelines it is natural to have doubts about your ability to come back. Confidence takes a knock and it is easy to feel isolated, as you miss out on the social aspects of training, too. Stay in touch with your triathlon community, build up a support network and focus on what you can do to get back to training. Taking positive action will make you feel like you’re on the comeback trail.

This article was originally published in the Sep./Oct. 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.

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