How to Inspire Yourself After a Bad Race

Sometimes, life does not always go quite as you want it, and this can leave us feeling negative for one reason or another. We focus on Triathlon here, and how to use your negative race experiences to inspire yourself, and ultimately make you a better athlete.

As well as training goals, it is important to make ‘process goals’

These could link to sleep, nutrition, work or family, which will all have an impact on performance. It’s not as simple as ‘swim, bike, run’. Different stresses and strains will impact out physical and mental wellbeing, ultimately having an impact on training and racing.

With this in mind, re-evaluate training sessions which didn’t go so well.

It might be an advantage to you to note these down in a diary, to help find any trends. Getting all of your negative thoughts written down about the session may help you in moving on from it. You can then approach your next session with a positive attitude.

Try to avoid carrying negative thoughts from your last session, onto your next session.

Instead, think about the positive points of that session. Remember, the training you are doing is built on gradual overload. You will have sessions built in that are designed to be more difficult and slow than others. Did you maintain form on tired legs, did you remember to fuel, and did you nail the session when before you went out the door you were not sure you could! Forget the min miling split, you nailed that session!

Training is about building your physical and mental endurance.

As well as the physical training involved to complete a race, training your mindset can be a huge contribution to your result. It is very rare to have a perfect race, and there is always a chance that something along the way will not go to plan. The key is to put it behind you, and stick to the plan for the rest of the race. The run is often the hardest time as you are fatigued, and vulnerable to negativity. If you focus on technique, fuelling, and getting to the next landmark (and the next, and the next) as opposed to the overall result, then this your emotions much more manageable.

Lastly, remember why you got into triathlon in the first place.

It is a huge achievement in itself to balance working, families and other commitments with full on training. So take pride and self-satisfaction in what you are doing! Don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t always go to plan. Sometimes just turning up is massive.


By Fran Bungay, Triathlon Coach at Goal Specific Coaching