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How does a psychologist prepare for a triathlon?

There are many things written about how to prepare the body to bring it up to optimal conditions for a triathlon. Its true that with the right training there is more potential to race with a great performance but you need to invest many hours and effort, something different happens with our mind.

At the same time I started training for triathlons I also started to study psychology. During this time I have applied what I have learnt, also experimenting with myself, analyzing, observing, reading and with that I have optimized my mind to race triathlons.

On the 29th of November I raced for first time this season in the age group category, I have raced as an elite for the 10 past years. My training has been chaotic during the past year, training what I felt like and when I felt like it. Swimming almost never, racing with a tt bike, running with not much quantity or quality. I was really tired during the race week, sleeping an average of 5 hours and I was exhausted. More than ever I needed to trust in the power of mind to race well and the result was a great surprise.

This experience tells me that when I am able to create a great attitude during the 24 hours prior to the competition, and “the moment” hours before the start, I reach better results. Another example was when I raced the elite Spanish championships in 2011. In both events I got great results feeling physically weak but with a strong mind.

These are my rituals to create the best attitude and “the moment” . It doesn’t require investing effort or money and almost no time.

During the week, especially the day before the race:

Visualise the race
Visualise myself racing really strong
Build a good mood:
Send myself positive messages
Find the good side of life, remembering great experiences and how I overtook any difficulties.
Feel fortunate to race triathlons, remembering my beginning in triathlons.
Remember my best moments in triathlons and sport
Play to be a triathlon superstar
Find motivation to believe that I will have a great race
Do a fast training series to gain confident in a training session.
Listen to the music I like, talk with people that I love talking to, do something that I’m passionate about
Feel excited about getting ready all the racing gear, Wheels, runners…
in conclusion: try to feel happy.

During the 3 hours prior to the race.

I wake up and go for a jog, do some mobility exercises and sprints, listen to the music that I have listened to on my best training sessions, this is normally dance music. My body and my mind turn on!
During my breakfast I watch videos that give me positive emotions.
this is my video list:
Real Madrid best moments, Sergio Ramos and Zidane goals on the finals of the champions league.
Iniestas goals at the final of the world cup
Great moments of cycling
The best sprints of Javier Gomez.
This one is weird but I watch how rugby players sing their national anthems before the games.

I keep listening to music while I´m getting everything ready and on the way to the race, this time the tunes that I love, that bring me great memories. I try to feel like a triathlon superstar, a mix between Gomez and Frodeno. A loud “Vamos Vamos” come out of my mouth, my faith flies really high.

I invest 5 minutes in front of the start line, just imagining myself racing better than ever to focus on the race.

I make jokes with my rivals, mates and athletes… to reduce the stress of the competition.

I stretch my muscles for 15 minutes by myself listening to music, remembering good moments, just feeling my body demanding action. This moment fills me with confidence.

During the last moments before the triathlon I visualize myself in the first seconds after the start, looking forward and with an internal voice I tell myself “Vamos vamos vamos”, something that I continue with during the whole competition.

These are my own personal rituals that I keep developing. As a psychologist, triathlete and a coach I recommend that you find your best mood and to discover and create the moments before your competitions.

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