Staying Focused on Your Race Strategy
What is your goal when you are competing in a triathlon?
Are you focused on a podium finish? Are you looking to achieve a personal best? Do you want to beat a rival?
Your goal starting a triathlon will affect your focus during the triathlon… and your focus will affect how you compete.
For example, if your goal is to beat a certain rival, you will focus on where that racer is during the race. You will look for that rival throughout the race.
If you’re ahead, you will worry if that rival is catching up especially if you are in the weak leg of your race.
If you are trailing, you will race to catch that other rider and ignore your race strategy.
All this worry will expend valuable mental and physical energy, depleting those resources needed to finish strong.
However, if you are focusing on a specific race strategy for each leg, all your attention and efforts can go into what you are doing in the moment.
When your mind is fully focused, this allows your body to efficiently work at maximum capacity.
Focusing was the key for Andy Krueger at the USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships.
Krueger earned his first age-group national champion title by staying focused solely on his race strategy. Krueger discussed his past troubles with focusing and highlighted his mental strategy for the competition that resulted in his successful results.
KRUEGER: “I used to go into races with the goal of a podium or a top-10 finish, and I was so focused on the people that were ahead of me that I would screw up my own race. So I went into today with three personal goals that, even if I was in last place, I could still accomplish: one for the swim, one for the bike and one for the run. I executed those three goals, and it turned into an awesome performance.”
As Krueger stated, focusing on “racing your race” is the only strategy that leads optimal performance.
Racing your race requires that you let go of the last leg of the race, the last transition, the time you lost, how bad you felt earlier in the race, who is in front of you, your current place, etc.
Racing your race necessitates that you are fully immersed in what you are doing in the moment and your strategy for each discipline.
Racing your race includes focusing on:
- Stroke rate
- Being calm
- Quick, efficient transitions
- Strategy for each leg – Long and strong during the swim, building the race on the bike, etc.
Keep in mind, that your race plan is about what works best for you, so why focus on anything else?
Racing Your Race:
Create a race strategy for each leg of the race. Focus on racing the track to the best of your ability.
If you create a plan and work on focusing on that plan in all your training sessions, you’ll make it easier to maintain that focus on race day.
When you focus on results, PR, or other races, stop and refocus on your race plan. Stop watching what other racers are doing around you!
Read an article I wrote with Andre Bekker at Training Peaks on coping with prerace anxiety:
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