MAN­AG­ING TOUGH RACES

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - WITH ME­LANIE MCQUAID

WHETHER OR NOT a race was good or bad doesn’t al­ways de­pend on the out­come of the event. There are lots of fac­tors that can af­fect a race, some con­trol­lable and some not. It takes a lot of men­tal tough­ness to race well un­der less than ideal cir­cum­stances and al­most ev­ery triathlon seems to present an op­por­tu­nity to over­come ad­ver­sity at some point. The best and most con­sis­tent per­form­ers are the ones who can han­dle high lev­els of ad­ver­sity and find a way to turn a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence into a pos­i­tive one.

A great ex­am­ple of this was Jeff Sy­monds’s per­for­mance at the 2015 Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship. De­spite hav­ing to pedal with one leg for a long stretch on the bike course, Sy­monds still found the mo­ti­va­tion and de­sire to post one of the fastest run splits.

“It can be easy in a race where you have made a mis­take and things are go­ing rough to say ‘les­son learned I’ll be back next time’ and cruise from there, or worse, to quit,” he said af­ter the race. “There are al­ways more lessons to learn. You can make more mis­takes and, best case sce­nario, you will make a ton so you learn from that day. In Kona, I knew there was more to be learned. I wanted to find out what the en­ergy lab felt like and what the back half of the Kona marathon was like.” This at­ti­tude turned what might have be­come a for­get­table day in Kona into an in­spir­ing and mem­o­rable first race at the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship.

Below I have out­lined ways to help make ev­ery race day a great day. Turn­ing a chal­leng­ing race into a pos­i­tive, pro­duc­tive and mem­o­rable one takes some prepa­ra­tion, visu­al­iza­tion, ac­cep­tance and pos­i­tiv­ity.

De­spite the harsh con­di­tions, Mcquaid fin­ishes strong at Whistler.

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