You have been preparing for months. You’ve trained your body and mind – intensely. You’ve been eating the right food in the right amounts and at the right times. Everything you’ve been doing in your waking and even sleeping moments have been leading to this.
It has all been about the day you finally get to compete in your first triathlon.
Competing in a triathlon is something you definitely have to be excited about – not to mention proud of. Not everyone can post on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media platform they fancy that they are participating in an endurance race – and that’s because they can’t. You, on the other hand, have paid the price. You have been to hell and back. So yeah, you have the right to be proud of the fact that you’re participating in a major competition.
But race day is completely different from your practice sessions, no matter how intense they were. That is why you need to have a pre-competition strategy ready. A strategy that will give you a competitive edge. And no, I’m not talking about the physical aspect of things – you’ve done that well enough. You need to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead.
Mental Preparation to Give You a Competitive Edge
Major competitions like triathlons are not just a test of physical strength, stamina, and speed. They are also a test of your mental strength. This is why you need to prepare your mind for the challenge, especially in the days leading to the competition.
So, how do you prepare yourself mentally?
1. Change Your Perspective
All the time you have been training and practicing, your mind has been in training mode. You need to switch it to competition mode. And if you are one of those people who enters a competition just to participate, you also need to switch perspective. You are not participating, you are competing.
Competition, by definition, is the process of striving to gain mastery in a certain event or discipline.
This means when you register for a marathon, triathlon, or whatever other competition you love, you must get rid of the participant mentality and start thinking like a competitive winner.
2. Lock Your Doubts Away
It’s normal to doubt yourself in the last few days and hours before any major competition. Even great athletes go through moments of self-doubt, and that’s exactly what they should be – moments. When those moments come, lock those doubts away and throw away the key.
Don’t let the thoughts of doubt fester in your mind, otherwise, they will stop you from competing to the best of your abilities.
3. Think Positive Thoughts
This is not some “mumbo jumbo” stuff I’m talking about. Thinking positive thoughts is known to increase the secretion of “feel good” hormones like dopamine that give you that extra boost in performance. This means you need to banish negative thoughts in the hours leading to the competition.
4. Motivate Yourself
In order to compete successfully in any event, you need to learn to motivate yourself. Don’t leave the motivation to your coach or fans. You are your biggest cheerleader. How do you motivate yourself? Simple. Give yourself a pep talk or two. In fact, “pep talk” yourself as much as you can. This may sound like some mystic practice but believe me, it works a world of wonders when it comes to preparing yourself for a competition.
5. Relax – You’ve Got This
Race day is a very important day and it’s normal to get yourself all tied up in a mental knot because of panicking and worrying. Relax – you’ve prepared well for the competition. Nothing can go wrong. If you struggle to keep calm on race day, you should consider learning some meditation techniques or have a pre-competition ritual that keeps you calm and collected.
6. Get Some Quality Sleep
Yes, the quality of sleep in the days leading to the competition is important. Poor quality sleep, or lack of sleep altogether, will reduce your mental and physical stamina. Avoid parties and late nights out before and during the days in which you will be competing.
Ready to Compete in the Upcoming Event?
Are you ready to compete in the next event? I know you are. You have prepared yourself well physically and mentally. It’s time to get out there. Put on your competitive attitude, and make sure you compete to the best of your ability. Remember, you are here to compete, not just participate.