Quieting the Pre-Race Nerves

This Sunday I will be completing my first Olympic distance triathlon. That is a 0.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. And I have to admit, I am pretty nervous!

I know I can finish each distance on their own, and I’m actually pretty comfortable with the bike and run together, but I think what is getting me the most anxious in the swim.

Before last week’s triathlon, I was actually excited — I had done the same race twice before and knew what to expect. I know the temperature of the water, the many speed bumps to deal with at the beginning and end of the bike, and the rolling hills on the run. I also went into the race with a pretty low pressure approach of just finishing, and not worrying about time, especially because of my calf pains earlier in the week.

This week, however, I have had butterflies in my stomach thinking about the longer race. I guess it is kind of like doing your first road running race at a new distance too. You are confident in your abilities, but the newness of it makes you a little more uncertain.

With all this in mind, I have been doing my best to quiet these pre-race nerves. For example, I swam twice this week including once while wearing my wetsuit. I’ve only worn it one other time before, so trying it out again made me feel a little more comfortable and not so constricted.

My calf has a few knots in it still, but no pain. I am taking it easy again this week with hopes of picking up the miles a little more next week. I’ve been stretching and rolling every day, and plan to get in some yoga either today or tomorrow.

Otherwise, I am focusing on having a positive mindset and confidence in myself that I know I can complete the swim. I am picturing myself being comfortable in the water and finishing the swim strong, then crushing the bike and the run, and having lots of fun! The mental preparation always helps me a lot the week of a race. Dreaming of happiness at the finish line, like this:

Do you get nervous before races? How do you calm those pre-race nerves?

6 thoughts on “Quieting the Pre-Race Nerves

  1. Amy Z

    Of course you can finish and I bet you can do well after your race last weekend! I am always amazed at how much further the swim distance is in an Olympic distance triathlon in comparison to other triathlons. Like a Half Ironman is more than double the biking and running distance, but only .3 miles farther swim. (I did not fact check this, so feel free to correct me!). Anyway, keep up those positive vibes!

  2. Leslie @ Triathlete Treats

    Be excited for this race too!! You are totally going to rock it!! Keep doing visualization exercises…you will swim strong and you will finish the swim!! You have swam in OW before, it is just a longer distance! Just get yourself into a good groove!! Sounds like you are positive!! That is my key to races! Be positive and SMILE!!!!

  3. HollyKN

    If I'm calculating time zones correctly…then you're already finished. Hope things went smoothly!

    I definitely get pre-race nerves. Visualization exercises usually help me stay calm, until the morning of the race. Then, I try (usually unsuccessfully, since KMN knows what's up) to pick a fight with my husband. I'm just generally cranky: Why do we do this? Why do I do this? Why is it so early? I hate this. For some reason, I can manage the low-grade pressure, and the very acute pressure doesn't hit until I'm hours away from toeing the start line.

    Of course, my song changes, often on the course and definitely by the finish line, so this scenario plays on repeat. But running is a teacher, and I'm working on mastering some race-morning-zen. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Kristen L

    Yes, the difference between an olympic (0.93 mi) and half iron (1.2 mi) swim is not very much. I did finish, and felt good — will have a recap up soon!


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