How To Deal With Pre Race Nerves

Leading into any major race I encourage athletes to spend time visualising their race day performance to help them with any race nerves. The visualisation is not from a time perspective but more on how they want to feel. What do they want to feel like? Feeling strong, being patient, positive and confident in their physical ability. Overcoming the challenges as they arise and being in the present at all times during the race.

Planting the emotional and mental seeds in your body to take your performance to another level. It will be hard, there will be challenges however if you have spent time preparing mentally for those challenges then you will more than likely still achieve the result you were wanting.

Getting in touch with your emotional self is the true art of racing; which in my opinion is beating that evil little voice in your head that will rear its ugly presence either before or during the race.

This exercise is especially effective on race day when it come to dealing with pre-race nerves.  That funny feeling you get in your stomach. The adrenaline that you feel running through your body and that nervous excitement that takes over you as you start to prepare for the ultimate battle. Yes it is the ultimate battle against yourself. Not your competitors, not the course, not the distance but you.  Only you and that little voice that says you’re not good enough.

Pre race nerves are a good thing. It shows that the race means something to you. So rather than seeing it as a negative turn it into a positive. Accept the feelings and acknowledge they are there.

As an example say this, “I’m nervous, that’s okay that means I am ready to race.” Compared to, I’m so nervous and I don’t know if I can do this.” Embrace the feelings as they hit you and don’t waste precious nervous energy fighting them.

If you start a race in a positive, confident and strong frame of mind then more than likely that is how you will perform during the race. Strong, confident and positive which is what you have visualised leading into the race.

race nerves

About Mark

Mark is one of Australia's most experienced and knowledgeable triathlon coaches. With over 25 years experience coaching at all levels from kids, youth, adult and elite professional athletes across the World. He loves seeing people change their lives through triathlon.