MANAGING TOUGH RACES
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.