Tips on How To Get Over a Bad Race

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Hey TSC crew, tired

If you read last week’s newsletter, you may remember that I did have the greatest of races at Worlds the other weekend. However, that is in the past and it is time to move on. Easier said than done.

Especially in the sport of triathlons, endurance swimming, and marathon running, where we may only have one or two major races a year it is hard to get over a bad race. A lot of people feel that their whole season is ruined because of it. You may feel that you have trained, months and months for this one event and to have it not go as planned can be devastating.

The key to get over this mental cognitive distortion though, is to take a large shot of reality:

  1. It is okay to cry. Recognizing the sadness if anything helps. Instead of trying to shove the bad feelings away, which can lead to more stress and sulking later, embrace those emotions for what they are. To feel sad after a DNF or a bad race is completely normal and expected; it shows that you care about your performance.
  2. Have a shot of reality: Put the race in perspective. Yes, you wanted to do well. Yes, you wish it had gone better, but it is not the end of the world, the end of your racing career, or mean that you are a terrible athlete. A bad race is just that a bad race. It is not a reflection of who you are as a person or the sole representation of your athleticism. There will be other races, there will be more opportunities. Life goes on so…
  3. Let it go! As many of our dear old and wise moms would say: It’s no good to sulk over spilt milk (my mom would always say coffee but same idea). The race has happened. Sulking over it or replaying it in your head will not change what happened. It is in the past and therefore is unchangeable. What you can change though is your attitude about it.
  4. Make it your secret weapon: You learn a lot more and grow stronger from obstacles if you learn from them. Figure out what went wrong and more importantly why it happened so that you can prevent it from happening again. For me, I now know to run with an inhaler at all times. If I feel the symptoms of an attack coming on, I also know exactly what to do.
  5. Focus on what is next: My last real race of the season is now over, but next season has just begun. I have taken the past two weeks relatively off but now its time to focus on next year’s season. My “preseason” has begun…

Over the next couple weeks I am going to be giving you my tips on how to make your “offseason” the best ever. Remember, champions are made in the offseason.

Have a great week!
Coach Chris and Kev