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Mental Cues for Racing

Race day is just as much mental, as it is physical. Here are four tips for race day.

Relax – Everyone has anxiety before the gun goes off. Even the pros!

  • Figure out how to harness your nervous energy. You should never be too excited or not excited enough. Settle for a happy medium
  • Focus only on what YOU can control. Ignore everyone else.
  • When the gun goes off, focus on breathing and settle into your swim. Recite the words “Relax” over and over if you feel like you are going to hard.

Have a game plan – Make sure you have a general idea of how you want to race.

  • How are you going to execute your swim? Where can you line up to optimize your start?
  • How do you want to control power and pace on the bike? Where can you take advantage of the course? When do you plan to eat and drink?
  • Off the bike, your legs may feel heavy. What are your mental cues for settling into your run pace?

It’s not a math test. It’s a race!

  • Don’t overthink anything while racing. The homework should have been done in training. All you need to do is show up, relax, and execute your plan.
  • Remember that when it is appropriate, LET LOOSE! It is a race after all. Sometimes you are having a great day, and you should see what you can do.
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Have fun – Racing against other people is awesome. Enjoy it.

  • Remember to pick your head up and look around! Many races are held in amazing locations with amazing crowds.
  • Control your own emotions. Smiling will trigger a response in your brain. Even if you are hurting, smile!
  • Stay positive. No matter how the race is going, positivity is one aspect of the race that you can ALWAYS control.
  • Thank the volunteers and cheer for other racers. Creating this type of positivity around your race will always help keep your head in the game.

— by Christopher J Lee
AJ Baucco Triathlon Coach
Former Head Coach CU Boulder Swimming
NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
FMS Functional Movement Systems Lvl 1
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
Stages Cycling Certified