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No Bad Days in Triathlon

by Morgan Hoffman

triathlonIn triathlon, sometimes we can work really hard to do well at a race, and still not reach the goal we set for ourselves. Whatever the reason, the race just did not go the way we wanted. Has this ever happened to you? How did it make you feel?

It’s really easy when we have “bad” days like this to get frustrated, sad or maybe even a little angry. However, there are ways to take even the toughest days and turn them into good experiences that will make you a better triathlete! Here are some tips on what to do before, during and after your race to make it a great day — no matter what happens.

Set at least one “skills goal” for each event. For example:
Swim: Remember to streamline off every wall in a pool swim
Transition 1: Remember to put my helmet on before I get my bike off the rack
Bike: Bring my inside knee up on every turn
Transition 2: Put my race belt on while I am running out
Run: Remember to keep my shoulders relaxed

Skills goals allow us to focus on the things that will help us achieve a faster race and give us something to celebrate when we accomplish them on race day (even if other things didn’t go the way we would have liked).

During each event, focus on your skills goals for that event. If you face an obstacle, follow these steps:
Tell yourself “Stay calm, I’ve got this.”
Be smart. Slow down if needed, but keep moving forward.

Re-focus on your skills goals.

Grab a piece of paper, and write down all the things that went right (skills goals you achieved, improvements in speed or overall time, challenges you handled well, etc.), and all the things you would like to improve. Remember, if something didn’t go the way you would have liked, that isn’t a failure — it’s a chance to learn and become a better triathlete. For all the things you would like to improve, write down at least one thing you can do before your next race to help you improve in that area. Share this paper with your parents and/or coach so they can help you achieve your goals!

Last but not least, remember to smile on race day, because it’s always a good day when you are doing something you love!

Morgan Hoffman is a USA Triathlon Level II and Youth & Junior Certified Coach, and a High Performance Team Coach. She coaches the Team Playtri Lions in North Texas. Email