There’s very few athletes that can honestly say that they don’t get nervous on race day. For a lot of athletes, their entire year of training comes down to one day. One A race, everything on the line. It’s close to impossible not to feel nervous at the start of the race. You can allow that nervousness to inhibit your performance, or you can use it to kick start the day. Over the next few articles, I’ll go over a series of methods to help you arrive prepared for race day.
Your biggest weapon? Show up to race day prepared. I would say that the majority of people are nervous on race day because they know they didn’t put in the work. But if you follow the training program and do the little things you’re going to significantly cut prerace nerves. Your gear and nutrition for the race should be prepared the night before. You should be familiar with the race venue, how to get there and know how much time you’re going to need in transition so you can get to the start line in time.
Make it positive. I’ve seen people almost throw up and go into full blown panic attacks before races. Positive or negative, energy is still energy. Freaking out is just riling up your stomach and throwing energy you’ll need straight out the window. Instead, you can spin that and use it for your benefit. Use your friends and family for support. If you don’t have spectators with you, talk to the thousand other triathletes standing with you. Something as simple as talking about where you’re fun and what your goals are can drastically cut down on the nerves.
Know your game plan. “I’m just gonna wing it” is probably one of the scariest things we can hear as coaches. A game plan serves several purposes but in this case, it incites confidence and reduces prerace nerves. I wrote an article last week about how to develop your game plan. It doesn’t matter what distance you’re racing, you should always have a game plan as you step on the line. Take a look, build your game plan and get the confidence that comes with it.