Self-Confident Triathlete

  1. Self-confidence in racing has its roots in training efforts and accomplishment. Train to the smartest of your mental capabilities. Prepare to the quickest of your physical capabilities. Perform in races to achieve the optimal results of both.
  2. Self-confidence doesn’t prevent fear. Fear of the unknown before races is great motivation to be prepared for different scenarios. Just don’t scare yourself out of your self-confidence.
  3. Reinforcing self-confidence is like a routine. Triathletes like routines. We perform rituals. Watch how meticulously the majority of racers lay out their gear in transition. And don’t even think about moving someone else’s stuff once in place.
  4. Self-confidence in isolation is ignorance. Validating your self-confidence with or in consideration of others improves your race performance.
  5. Self-confidence is fitting in. Did you ever notice how the fastest triathletes dress? Just like all the other fastest triathletes. Dress for success on race day. Businesspeople dress according to their office norms every day.
  6. If you succeed at everything, then you’re not stretching your self-confidence or racing at your top capabilities.
  7. If your self-confidence ever drops create a backwards-looking success list. List your accomplishments to re-establish your confidence going forward. Be a Phoenix and rise from the ashes of a flame out.
  8. Self-confidence is not broken by failure but strengthened when succeeding on subsequent efforts.
  9. Fully utilizing self-confidence is racing your best against everyone, whether they finish in front of you or you out-perform others.
  10. And if you’re getting ready for your first triathlon or maybe your first Ironman triathlon, then you should act like a triathlete. Winners do this all the time.

Within three track meets over a time period of seven months I graduated from a class of almost 400 students to racing at a Big 10 university with a student body of over 35,000 students. I went from setting my high school’s 800 meter run record to finishing in last place at my college debut track race. My confidence was shattered. I had one foot off the track and considered stepping away from the sport. Big Ten Champion and teammate, Mark Shroyer pulled me back. First he initiated a conversation to uncover all the things we accomplished prior to the first race. Then he convinced me a single race or even a full year of challenging race performances as a freshman wouldn’t determine the full potential of a college race career. The toughness experienced in defeat proved critical in developing my confidence and strength for future successes.

Mark earned All-American status. With his mentoring he led me to find my confidence at a new racing level that never wavered. Even 10 years later when I converted to a MOP triathlete.

Later, when living in Seattle in the mid-1990’s on an impromptu group bike ride with a half dozen triathletes, talk turned to Ironman racing and triathlete designations. The group’s consensus was triathletes weren’t really triathletes unless they completed a full Ironman triathlon of 140.6 miles. Never met those riders before but for me, after 25 triathlons in 10 years, I was confident in being a triathlete, even without an Ironman race on my resume. I didn’t respond like a fake and claim to be an Ironman. In reality, triathloning is a sport of accumulation.

People cannot take away what you already accomplished.

Triathletes do not put asterisks by their names because of times, places, or distances to callout their accomplishments. Whether you raced in an Ironman or any other triathlon, you will always be a triathlete.