How to improve mental toughness for racing

Most endurance-based sports such as triathlon require the individual to have a good level of mental toughness. Purely to even consider doing the sport would likely mean you have a level of mental resilience anyway. However, sometimes we can let our minds get the better of us and when certain circumstances occur mid-racesuch as bad weather or a puncture we can lose it and let our minds get the better of us.

This aim of this blog is to provide some methods to practice in training to enable you to develop mental toughness so that, come race day, nothing will stop you.

  1. Train in all conditions. It’s rare to have ‘perfect conditions’ on race day and the weather is entirely out of our control. We all frantically observe the weather forecast in the week leading up to the race, praying it stays dry and the wind is minimal. But in the UK in particular, this is wishful thinking! Therefore, we should practice training in all elements. If it’s raining and you are due to head out on a long ride, don’t opt for the turbo – get out there and embrace it. Same with running. If its ridiculously windy don’t opt for the treadmill, get out amongst it and get it done. You aren’t going to have the option of indoor training on race day and if you can tough it out in training you can certainly get through it in a race situation where adrenaline and nerves are high unlike other training sessions where motivation may not be quite as high.
  2. Train harder than your race. If you have endured tough training sessions and have pushed through longer rides and runs than the actual race distances, you will go into the race feeling a lot more confident in your ability. Like anything, the more you push your limits and learn to ‘suffer’ the easier race day will feel. Your body is a remarkable thing and it has the power to remember certain feelings and experineces. The more you put the body and mind through tough and difficult situations, the more prepared and ready you will feel for the race.
  3. Discomfort and uncertainty is a great thing. We are all stronger and more capable than what we think – racing exposes this. We always seem to find that extra 1% when we really need to. Things that are uncertain or that scare us are great and should be embraced. Nothing ever grows from a comfort zone. Going into the unknown on race day not knowing what the day will hold might be scary, but it’s great for building resilience and a strong mentality. There are high chances of things not going to plan during a race and it’s having the ability to keep calm and get through it.
  4. Believe in yourself. This is a great one to end with. You have to truly believe in yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will, and that doubt will show on race day. Give yourself a race day mantra and repeat it over and over when training. Engrain it in your mind and use it. Replicate the race you want and believe you’re capable of. Also, make sure you go through potential issues that could occur and visualise handling them on race day. Going into a race with all the scenarios covered will give you a high level of confidence.

Now that you’re armed to tackle any race day scenarios, take a look at our events and get your name down – you’re set to smash it!