5 Tricks to Conquer Pre-Race Nerves

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  • Matt Cook
  • |
  • Apr 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

5-Tricks-to-Conquer-Pre-Race-Nerves-1.jpgCompleting your first triathlon is exciting, but it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. To enjoy your first race, you need to find a way to relax and enjoy the experience, but that’s easier said than done. Here are five tips to conquer your pre-race nerves.

1. Focus on Having Fun

Unless you’re a professional triathlete, having fun is always the main goal during a triathlon. For your first triathlon, just focus on finishing the race and havinga good time. There’s no need to set huge goals for yourself that will make you nervous.

During the race, focus on the excitement of racing for the first time and try to enjoy the experience. Look forward to meeting other triathletes and making new friends, and look forward to having fun at the post-race activities.

2. Do a Trial Race

Racing on a new course can be scary, and the uncertainty can contribute to your pre-race nerves. If race day is the first time you race the course, you may feel nervous about what’s coming next. To calm your nerves and reassure yourself that you’ll be able to complete the course on race day, try to train on the actual course.

Get a map of the course first, and study it so you know exactly where you need to go. Once you have a good understanding of the course, try it out. Swimming in the pool or running around your neighborhood won’t be the same as using the actual course. You don’t need to practice the whole triathlon in one go, but try to practice each leg at least once.

3. Don’t Experiment on Race Day

Race day isn’t the time to try a new breakfast or start using a new bike. If you change your routine, you’ll worrythat something won’t work out. Race day is the time to do everything the same way as during training.

On race day, eat the same breakfast that you ate before your long practice sessions. If the food didn’t make your stomach upset during training, you don’t need to worry that it will cause problems during the race. It’s the same thing for your equipment; if it worked well in training, you can assume everything will go smoothly during the real race.

4. Get Ready the Night Before

Are you the type of person who’s always rushing in the morning? Many people are like that.Worrying about being late for your triathlon can contribute to your pre-race nerves. To calm your nerves, try to get everything ready the night before your triathlon.

The night before your triathlon, get all your triathlon clothes ready. Collect the clothes you plan to wear and put them right beside your bed so it’s easy to get dressed in the morning. If you’re really not a morning person, you may even want to wear your racing clothes to bed. Before you go to sleep, fill your bag with all the gear you need for your triathlon. Your water bottle, goggles, extra socks, and other gear should go in this bag.

5. Go to Bed Early

When you’re feeling nervous, it’s hard to fall asleep. However, the longer you stay up, the more nervous you’ll get about being tired on race day. To calm your nerves, try to go to bed earlier than you normally do.

When you get into bed, lie down and try to sleep. Don’t use screens like your phone or tablet since the light they emit can make it harder for you to fall asleep. If you’re a night owl, go to bed early a few weeks before your early-morning race.It will be easier for you to get to bed on time the night before the race.

Topics: Triathlon Training


Matt Cook

Matt Cook

Father of 3 and former competitive swimmer, Matt completed his first Ironman 70.3 in 2013 in Muskoka. He has since completed another 70.3 and is planning on doing a full Ironman in 2016 or 2017. Matt took up triathlons for the challenge, to relax and to just to stay in shape so he can enjoy life with his family.

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