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30 Thoughts for a Victorious Triathlete

Mental preparation before a race.

by Coach Julian Dean

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Inspirations to conquer your toughest race


 Race confidence comes with proper prepa­ration. Confidence is earned by the athlete through thoughtful training sessions. Confidence is not given. Even for those with gifted athleticism, one will still have to train effectively to perform well.


2. Persevere Relentlessly

Often times, training will become hard. You wonder - How can I do this? How long will it take me to finish this workout? Am I crazy to be doing this?

Stay on course. When your mental toughness is challenged, it is a sign that you are getting closer to victory. Continue to persevere relentlessly. Your re­wards are close at hand.


3. Live in Expectation

3. Live in Expectation

On your training days and on race days, expect the best day ever and there will be no distrac­tions.

When you live in expectation, you will also live in faith and you will attract the best of ev­erything that is surrounding you.

4. Family First 

Triathlon training can be self-indulgent and self­ish. This is especially true when training for lon­ger distance races such as the Ironman. More than likely, long hours of training will leave you with little energy and time for anything else.


Always put family first. It’s better to miss a train­ing session than a family event. Take time for the things in life that matters most.


5. Have a Vision of Victory

Develop a mental imagery of your race from the moment you start the swim, exit the water and transition to the bike. From the start of your run, to crossing the finish line.  Develop your own vision of victory and act it out loud.


6. Develop a Training Strategy

For anything great that has been achieved, it all comes down to strategy.

Develop a training strategy that will allow you to accomplish your goal. Random workouts or a continual increase in distance is a flawed ap­proach to training effectively. A training strategy gets you from where you are today to where you want to be. It allows you to be disciplined, decisive and creative.

You can create great results for yourself. It saves you time, energy, failure and frustrations.


7. Raise your Self-Image

With a training strategy in place, believe that all things are possible. When you’ve accom­plish a triathlon goal of a lifetime, you will find that everything is possible and life is limitless.


By achieving human excellence, you will have a raised self-image of yourself. You will also affect people around you positively.


8. Keep a Training Journal

A training journal helps build confidence and mo­tivation. It also helps you feel a sense of accom­plishment. When you’ve completed your workout in accordance to a training plan for the day, it will feel great to log your training. Log how you feel both physically and mentally after each training day. Journaling helps you fig­ure out what works and what doesn’t. Try it for 7 days.


9. Be Grateful

If you are training for a triathlon, chances are, you have enough stability in your life to allow you the resource of time and money to train and accomplish an endurance goal. Be grateful that you have the economic stability and capability to live and train while more than three quarters of the population of this world are just getting by day after day.


10. Condition Spiritually

Without mental and spiritual conditioning, even the best conditioned athlete will be limited in his or her performance. Training, rest and nutrition can only take us so far. You need mental, moral and spiritual conditioning to determine and maintain a balanced lifestyle.


11. Respect Time

Time is God’s gift to us. It is your responsibil­ity to redeem it. At the end of the day, what you didn’t use, you lose. A missed day of training is often difficult to make up. Continue on and look forward. Respect the time you have and make the best of your day.


12. Speak Positively

Never let your ears hear anything negative from your lips. Speaking a negative thought out loud and hearing it in your own ears reinforces a nega­tive belief by two folds. Never say “I’m a slow swimmer, a slower biker or terrible runner” to anyone. It’s a bad habit and you don’t need anyone or yourself to materialize a negative belief.


13. Have Faith

Once you’ve made a commitment to do a race, Talk, Act, Plan and Think that you will finish what you have committed to. Have faith that by having a training strategy in place and executing your train plan, you will cross the finish line and perhaps accomplish one of the hardest endurance challenges in your life.


14. Be Adaptable

When you train in uncomfortable situations, you are training to be adaptable to any race situations that may come up. Welcome any challenges during your training sessions. Even with proper race preparations, you may encounter unforeseen circumstances that are out of your control - a few may cause some discomfort while others may put you out of a race.


Be adaptable by conquering any bad situations that comes your way. Over time, you will become a more resilient and stronger athlete.


15. Find a Role Model

The easiest way to get ahead in any game is to model someone extraordinary. Exact the same behavior and belief system that person has. Having a role model will save you many years of frustrations, time and energy to accomplish your own goals. Learn from those who have failed and the strategies that got them back to greatness.


Look for things you weren’t seeing before. Feel for things you weren’t feeling before and ask the questions you didn’t know to ask before.


16. Fear is Physical

Fear allows us to prepare our body for fight or flight. The body and mind are interconnected.

If you fear a distance you have never accomplished before, do the distance and face fear in its face. This breaks the physical fear and mental thresh­old that has worried you or held you back.

Fear is in fact physical. Take control of your body first. Condition your mind next.


17. Practice Humility

Never brag about your elite endurance capabili­ties once you attain it. Others around you can see it and there is no need to be boastful.


Know that what you have attained can be taken away at any point in time. Be humble. There are always others who are better than you.


18. Pay it Forward

Once you have attained and experience life as a triathlete, pay it forward by mentoring an athlete who is new to the sport. When you learn to give, you will experience be­ing an athlete at a greater level. You can help people find the triggers that bring joy, resource­fulness and hope into their lives.

Motivate others to produce human excellence not just because of you, but for themselves.


19. Guard your Thoughts

Don’t harbor jealousy or envy among other ath­letes. You can never judge an athlete’s perfor­mance by looks alone or by their cool race gears. An athlete that does well has worked hard in training.

Age is a minimal factor in long distance tri­athlon races. Work with who you are what you have physically.  A triathlon is yours and yours alone.


20. Patience

Endurance training takes time to develop. There are no shortcuts. Even the best athletes need time to develop for peak performance. Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances. Time will add value to your ac­complishment.


21. Have a Pure Goal

Reevaluate your goals from time to time. Are your goals to “just finish” fair to you? Do you want to challenge yourself to realize your peak human potential or are you merely seeking bragging rights? Is triathlon an ego? Think it through. Pure goal leads to pure motivation. With pure motivation, getting out to train becomes easy.


22. Strive for Personal Excellence

Continue to pursue personal human excellence. Don’t strive to be perfect. Unlike an Olympic sport where every little technicality needs to be looked into, triathlons have many variables that are unpredictable. When you strive for excellence in pursuit of a goal rather than perfection you will be less bur­dened and be calm on race day. Triathlon be­comes more enjoyable.


23. Adopt an Empowering Vocabulary

Adopt a new vocabulary to become a victorious triathlete.

Change “I will try” to “I will”.

Change “I will attempt” to “I will finish”.

Change “I can’t” to “I can”


Eliminate negative words like “too old” or “too slow”.


24. Intuition First

There is really no advantage to training when your body is exhausted, tired or burnt out. There will be days when you cannot train in accordance to your training plan. The body is a temple. Your training plan is a guide. Intuition comes first. When your body is aching for rest, you are better off taking it.


25. Set No Limits

Why limit yourself to a finishing time? Your best race comes when you set no limits for yourself. Try racing without a watch. Don’t set a finishing time. Go all out in peak performance and you’ll be astounded at how well you’ll do.


26. Get Curious

Being inquisitive allows you to grow. Test new training strategies, nutrition and race plans. Tri­athlon becomes an unending study of joy when you do this.


27. Ask the Right Questions

When you ask the wrong questions to yourself such as “why do I run so slow”, your mind will automatically try to find a rational answer and it will probably give you something you may not desire.  Replace your questions with “how do I get fast­er” and your mind will get creative and think up ways to get you there.


28. Get Determined

There a huge difference in mindset when you have a determined will versus merely pushing yourself to attain a goal. Getting determine sets up a neurological response that gives you a pure motivation, it takes out the grind of daily training sessions. When you have the determination to swim more efficiently and to attain better bio-mechanism on the run and bike, training becomes more fun.

 Get determined to strive for excellence.


29. Redefine Yourself

If you’re saying to yourself “I can’t do that”, it’s time to re-invent your identity. Change your physiological state that will change your identity. Change the way you carry yourself, the way you train, the way you dress. You are an athlete. Change your identity to someone who can ac­complish a triathlon goal. It’s a powerful force.


30. Be Consistent

The mark of a true champion is consistency. Knowing what to do is just not enough. You must execute on what you know.    




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