ANTICIPATE AND PREPARE VISUALIZE ACCEPT AND EXECUTE
Preparing for a race goes beyond the training required to compete against the field. Great preparation anticipates the unexpected and allows you to adapt to whatever obstacle is presented. To ward off mechanical gremlins, start with a clean and well-maintained bike. Carry the minimum tools required to fix punctures and small mechanical issues is a start; learning how to quickly and effectively deal with a flat or mechanical is better. Practice changing a flat tire quickly and/or get comfortable using a Pitstop canister. You should have a general knowledge of how your drive train works and be able to make minor adjustments.
Watch the weather forecast to make sure you have the appropriate gear and clothing for any conditions. Have a plan for how to make any last-minute decisions on what you plan to wear or keep in transition. It is important to be ready if there is a course change or delay. Have extra food in case you drop your nutrition or if there is a start time delay. There are many curveballs that can come your way – be prepared and organized for pretty much anything.
Anticipate what you might do in the event of a mechanical breakdown or a finish line sprint by visualizing it happening. The more detail you put into this mental rehearsal the better. If you want to imagine fixing a flat tire on race day, start from when you first realize it needs to be fixed. Picture the entire scenario: coming to a stop, removing the wheel, taking your tools out, fixing the puncture (all the steps you will take to quickly get this done), putting your wheel back on your bike, storing the tools, getting back on your bike and rejoining the race.
Imagine a variety of weather conditions occurring during the race and what you will be wearing. Think of any conditions you might face in the swim and how you will deal with them. It is easy to imagine your race going perfectly, but most of the time this is not how things unfold. Try to make your mental imagery include scenarios you would not choose and find ways to turn the challenge into a success in your mind.
The best way to get the most out of the day is to accept that these are “the cards you’ve been dealt.” You don’t have to accept that it is your best possible performance, but you do need to do everything you can to make the most of it. There is no point lamenting the circumstances while you are facing them.
Don’t think about how things are going and focus on the process of racing as fast as you can. Your mind will only think about one thing at a time, so fill your mind with solutions. Check your ego and prove to yourself what you can accomplish.