Barb Lindquist explains how to mentally prepare for race day
Champaign, IL--The world was captivated this week as a pair of brothers from Great Britain won the gold and bronze medals in the triathlon competition at the London Olympics. Now, participants in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship will be competing in their own Olympic feat on August 20th. But, what does it take to win a triathlon? According to Barb Lindquist, who was ranked No. 1 in the world from 2003 to 2004 and represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics, triathletes must spend as much time preparing mentally for a triathlon as they do physically.
"Racers can be at the peak of physical training, and yet their success or failure was a result of what was going on in the mind," says Lindquist. "Every athlete, from newbie triathlete to Olympian, knows from firsthand experience that the mind can help or hinder race performance."
"Racers can be at the peak of physical training, and yet their success or failure was a result of what was going on in the mind."
In Complete Triathlon Guide (Human Kinetics, 2012), Lindquist explains how to create a race plan that will help mentally prepare triathletes for race day. She says triathletes should prepare their race plan a week before the race and then review it daily throughout race week. She offers 10 items triathletes should include in their race plan.
- What equipment and clothing will you use if on race day there is high wind, rain, snow, heat, cold, bright sun, or an overcast sky?
- What time will you get out of bed on race morning?
- What will you eat and drink for the prerace meal? When will you eat it?
- On race morning, what time will you arrive at the race venue?
- How will you set up your transition area?
- What sport nutrition products (if any) will you take in during the race?
- How will you gauge and regulate intensity on the bike? Will you use a rating of perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate, or power?
- Regardless of what tool you use, what will be your goal intensity? Will it vary during the race?
- How will you react if passed by other riders?
- How will you efficiently and quickly transition both in T1 and T2?
"Writing down the strategies so you can review them will help you focus on what you can control," says Lindquist. "Writing them down and sharing them with someone also makes the plan more real. And, recording the plan creates a record for the postrace evaluation and for future races."
Lindquist notes that during race week, things will come up that are out of a triathlete's control, but how they deal with them is not. Triathletes must learn to deal with outside factors while addressing details that can be controlled to remain focused and calm.
"Champions realize that success doesn't just happen by chance or because they are talented physically," Lindquist says. "They work toward creating the positive mental environment for that champion performance to be fulfilled."
In Complete Triathlon Guide, USA Triathlon, its elite athletes, and the nation's most respected coaches share their secrets, strategies, and advice for every stage, every event, and every aspect of the world's most demanding sport. For more information on Complete Triathlon Guide or other triathlon resources, visit www.HumanKinetics.com.
Complete Triathlon Guide
By USA Triathlon
2012 - Paperback - 368 pp