A Few Tips for Racing with a Successful Mindset

It’s race week for many athletes that are getting ready to ROCK at Ironman Oceanside 70.3! I vividly remember last year’s race and while it was not the greatest of weather I did have my greatest 70.3 PR to date. While I am not racing this year I can offer a few tips that can help get you to the finish line mentally focused.

1)   Trust your training. The work has been done up until this point. Adopt a relaxed mindset and stay focused on being effective during taper week. Get creative this week, watch course videos and visualize yourself confidently during the race, read positive affirmations, read quotes, read my previous blog posts, or listen to empowering music. Do anything and everything to keep yourself focused and excited. Remember, at this point you can not add fitness to the bank but you can sabotage your fitness if you let your focus run off into worryville or anxiety city. So don’t talk about your worries, anxiety, fears, or allow others to talk about them around you, this only deepens the negative beliefs and feelings. Fear begets fear, worry begets worry…well you get the point.


2)   Have Radical Acceptance in the mental toolbox. Radical acceptance means, accepting reality for what it is. When you’ve radically accepted something, you’re not fighting it. It’s when you stop fighting the reality of the situation. That is not to say you like what is happening but when you stop mentally fighting circumstances (say of a flat tire, stomach cramp, slower time, etc.) this puts you in a better position to problem solve. What some athletes fail to grasp is when they react or get into a negative emotion, or negative self-talk, during race day this directly decreases their ability to effectively address any mishaps that they may come across during their race. An emotional mind will cloud out the rational/problem-solving mind for anyone anytime of the day. May I remind you of pro-triathlete Sebastian Kienle’s breakdown when he got a puncture at 2012 Ironman World Championships in Kona. He was too upset to effectively change his tire and had to wait for the sag van. Don’t be that dude. Here is a short clip of him discussing what happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI-mZSh-8FY


3)   Own your story and your strengths. Only you know what got you to the race and will get you to the finish line. Everyone in this world has character strengths and experiences that they can capitalize on in challenging situations. First, have awareness of what your strengths are and secondly, USE THEM. As I always say, “your individuality is your wildcard” so use it! Own it! Own your fierceness, your competitiveness, your humor, your grit, your fire! Remember it was your time, money, training, and planning that got you to the race so OWN IT! It has nothing to do with anyone else but you. So enjoy the process and focus on doing you on race day!



Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is a clinical sport psychologist, triathlete, and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sports teams across the country. She is a competitive athlete and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family, and traveling.

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