I’ve been thinking a bit this past week about my last race performance in Oceanside and thought I better write about it as I am off to another race this weekend: New Orleans! Wahooooo!
I raced in the Oceanside 70.3 last weekend and had an alright day. I finished 8th, made a pay check, had some fun, didn’t get a gnarly sunburn, didn’t bonk, caught up with my sponsors, SRAM got my bike back into working order (thanks, guys!) and I gained some fitness.
As for my performance: there was no sparkle & shine, fireworks, purplepatches were nowhere to be found, and there weren’t any golden moments to speak of. But I also averted any sort of major disaster, a DNF, or injury.
Simply put, it was just plain jane kind of day. I was mediocre.
I have been thinking a lot about my race since then - analyzing, crunching numbers, asking “whys, what’s and how’s”. I find that mediocre performances are sometimes the hardest to let go of. Which then leads me to wonder why, ask more what’s and how’s. There have been moments of doubt, wondering, more analyzing, which leads to more stress, which really is all counter productive.
So rather than explain about how my swim, bike, run, transitions and finish felt - I thought I would give 5 steps of how to get over a “mediocre” performance.
1. Its part of the sport. The truth is, we weren’t created as perfect human beings. I think sometimes as elite athletes we make it appear that we aren’t suffering, it isn’t hard, and everything is salted carmels in the candy shop. In reality, there are plenty of days where you are just a bit off your game. You must accept this and move on to #2.
2. Did you give it your best? Often when I head into a key event or performance I feel a lot of pressure (mainly pressure that I put on myself). It’s best to sometimes take a step back and look at performance through a bigger lens (thanks, MD!). Really, all you can ask of yourself on race day is to give it your best. Be it your best swim start, your best cadence, do your best sticking to your nutrition plan, your best turnover on the run. Chris asked me after the race “Did you give it your best?” What’s the saying: Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.
3. Focus on what did work. It’s easy to sit here and list all the things that didn’t work on race day (like my legs! ha!). Instead, I have shifted my focus to the things that did work: a great nutrition plan, reliable equipment, a PR on the swim, a nice warm up, a good head-space, a cowboy hat, great family & friend support, etc… It’s easy to highlight all the negatives and let them bog you down. Instead, think about what did work and what were you happy about?
4. Don’t go train your brains out. My gut instinct after nearly every “mediocre” performance is: I wasn’t prepared enough. I need to swim faster, bike faster and run faster. Lets get to work, coach! Wrong. The first order of business is a proper recovery. As I stated in #1, sometimes, mediocre days happen. Smashing out a 2 hour run that should-have-been on race day won’t accomplish anything.
5. Onto the next. Wether its your next workout or another race. You always have to be moving forward (both in the race with one foot in front of the other) and in your plans. Dwelling on what could have, should have and didn’t have isn’t going to help - focus on the positive and what’s next. For me: thats this weekends New Orleans race!
Thanks for reading.
Best of luck and we will see you out there,