How to bounce back from a poor triathlon performance
Tips to get you back on track
Your race may not always go to plan, but how do you ensure you bounce back and perform better in your next outing. Will Clarke tells you how to get over the disappointment of a poor triathlon performance.
Written by Will Clarke
Will is a British triathlete. He's a former U23 World and European Champion, competed at Beijing 2008 and has twice been British national champion. He now competes on the World Ironman 70:3 circuit.
When you believe that you put a lot of effort into something and you don’t get what you want out of it, of course you’ll walk away disappointed. That’s natural and in triathlon, an endurance sport where many ‘other’ things sometimes out of your control can also go wrong, then the chances of this happening again are escalated. It’s always important to realise that having a bad race doesn’t make you a bad athlete. The best thing you can do is analyse what happened quickly and move on. By getting back on the horse and keeping on going, eventually if you deserve it, then the result you’re dreaming of will arrive.
It’s important that you always set realistic expectations of yourself. How talented are you as an athlete? How hard did you actually work for this in comparison to your competitors? If you are constantly setting expectations that are too high for your level at that time then I’m afraid that you’ll more often than not you’ll walk away disappointed. So set yourself realistic targets based on facts and previous experiences and give those targets room to grow, and that will be a way to deal with disappointment a little easier.
Eliminate the things that could go wrong
It’s important to make your own luck. You’ll often hear triathletes rattle off a whole host of excuses about why they didn’t perform – typical excuses being getting beaten up in the swim, punctures, taking a wrong turn, or mechanicals on the bike. Truth is, most of these can be avoided if you prepared properly. Train hard and leave no stone unturned and it’s less likely that something is going to go wrong. You’ll rarely see the best athletes in the world have a bad day, that’s because they’ve massively eliminated many of the things that can possibly go wrong for them. They’re as fit as they can be, they know the course well, they have good quality equipment which has been double checked over, and they know how to ride in a group and stay out of trouble and also…they can take a corner without crashing!
Take advantage of your fitness and race again
One thing to remember, if you worked hard for a performance and it didn’t quite work out for you, is that won’t usually be your your last chance that season to perform well. There are many, many races around so book yourself into another target and have another go with the form that you currently have. Your fitness won’t go anywhere quickly so get back competing and don’t let that form go to waste. The race you did previously will bring your form on again and give you some race fitness and experience, so often with a bit of rest and a little more preparation on top, you may find yourself doing even better next time.
Get a confidence boost
Confidence boosters can always be good for you. Maybe find yourself a race that you’ve got a better chance of performing in or hit a training session that can give you some confidence back to get you back on the right track. The worst thing to do is mope around waiting for the disappointment to wear off! Remember a poor performance doesn’t make you a bad athlete and a good performance can always be around the corner.