Runners sprint into the transition zone from out of the water at a major triathlon.

Cultivating the Right Mentality for Triathlons

Race season is upon us once again. In fact, in our article ‘Race Season is On’, we mentioned how multi-sport and triathlon events are back in full swing after two seasons of limitations. For many triathletes, this means getting back into training, and this includes pushing their bodies to the limit and gradually increasing their speed over training sessions.

Aside from training the body, the mind must be in the right condition. After all, every part of you must be ready for the race. The mind is what will push you through the competition when your body is ready to give up. On that note, here’s how to cultivate the right mentality for a triathlon.

Master your reaction controls

Just like any other sport, anything can happen during a triathlon. For one, your transitions from one segment to another may not pan out ideally. You can also be easily disappointed if you did not perform as well in the actual competition as you did in training.

Getting too affected by these may further push you off track and lose momentum. This is why personal trainer Tim Grover’s book Relentless introduces the “Relentless 13”—a set of traits practiced by achievers across industries. One of these is “You go into the zone and control the uncontrollable.” This goes to show how the most successful people trust their instinct to adapt to the situation at hand. Instead of getting distracted by setbacks, have faith in your training and remember that you’re doing everything to win. 

Use the past to push yourself forward

One thing people may not know about professional triathlete Lionel Sanders is his past with addiction. Despite his dark past, he managed to become a professional triathlete in just four years. This is why he advises others to utilise their dark experiences to manage what’s in front of them now.

While you may not have dealt with addiction, there can be instances in your life where you’ve failed as a triathlete. Remember that it’s okay to have dwindled during those times—what’s important is you use what you’ve learned to push yourself forward. Learning from your mistakes and keeping in mind what you’ve recovered from will help you cope with painful experiences during training or the competition itself. 

Remember why you started

You started competing in triathlons for a reason. It may be for fun, for your health, or for someone who said you’d make a great triathlete. Whatever the reason, it will keep you going during the hard times.

Professional triathlete Helle Frederiksen’s book The Pursuit of Victory discusses her “why” among many other things. For her, it was to make it to the Olympics. After she achieved that in 2012, her “why” turned into “beating the best.” It was simple but it made sense to her because even just the thought of giving up on running triathlons seemed wrong. Most importantly, it’s what kept her going in times of adversity. Similarly, remember your “why” when you’re close to throwing in the towel either during preseason or at the triathlon itself. 

Know your priorities

Sudbury student triathlete Georgia Lapage is only 15 years old, yet she’s into her fourth-year training for triathlons. Still, she wasn’t always a talented triathlete. She started off as a swimmer and then worked her way up to running and cycling. While she admits that her running is the weakest of the three, she got better by prioritising her running training. On top of being a student, Lapage emphasises that keeping a good mindset and knowing your priorities is all you need to succeed. Likewise, focus on what you need to improve on: whether it’s cycling during training or running faster during the triathlon itself.

As you prepare for your next triathlon, don’t forget to train your mind, too. With these tips, may you have a healthy and successful race season ahead.