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How To Come Back From A Bad Race by MBPC Coach Tom Davis


With triathlon, and all the component parts, it's inevitable that at some point you will have a race where something goes a bit wrong - no matter how much you prepare and think of every scenario, so how do you move on from a race that didn't go how you wanted, especially if it's been a big target?


The first step is to allow yourself a few days to feel disappointed, frustrated etc... This is a massive part of trying to process the disappointment of a setback, and mentally moving on from it. If you rush this part then it's likely you'll lose motivation down the line, or quite simply not really hit the sessions you're trying to do anyway - so make sure that you have enough time, till you feel ready to get back to it.


The next thing is then to find another goal. Once you've processed the fact that it didn't quite work out as you hoped, the next thing in my experience, is to find that thing that gives you the fire to push on in training again - whether that's another race, or just a challenge to get you back into the saddle, as athletes were all goal motivated, so having a finish line will help the mojo on those days you're finding it hard to swing a leg over the saddle!


Once you've started training again, the next step is to identify what and why it went wrong last time. Whether it was kit related, or something you've missed in training, now is the time to make sure that the issue is sorted (or at least as much as you can) so that it doesn’t happen again.


If that's an issue like struggling on the bike after swimming, then make sure you add in some swim to bike brick sessions, or if it's something like nutrition that lets you down then it's time to practise race nutrition on the longer training days. Alternatively if you're not sure what's gone wrong, or more importantly, how to correct it, then maybe it's time to bring in a triathlon coach, or seek some expert advice?

Hopefully that gives you a starting point on how to continue after a disappointing event, but the important thing to remember is that everyone has their share of bad luck and setbacks, it's how you push on after that makes the difference, and if you can come back stronger, and wiser then it wasn't a wasted race after all, and will make that next success all the sweeter.

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