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How to Crush Doubt and Fear

Let's face it, taking on an Ironman race is a daunting endeavor. The sheer magnitude of the event, with its 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run, can evoke feelings of doubt and fear in even the most seasoned athletes. However, with the right mindset and strategies, you can crush those doubts and fears, and emerge victorious on race day. I’m going to show you how to do that in today’s blog post.


I get that you have doubts and fears. It’s completely normal. I have gotten so nervous before races that I have actually gone in the bathroom at the venue and thrown up. I don’t do that anymore because I’ve learned some super valuable mindset techniques to help me along this journey. There is no need to feel that overwhelmed and nervous. Trust me, I’ve been to the start of a race over 75 times (maybe even more) in my career. I got through all of those races and I will definitely get through this one. SO CAN YOU. Read on.

 The open water swim is often a source of anxiety for many triathletes. The vastness of the water with almost zero visibility when you put your head under water, coupled with the proximity of other swimmers, and deep water can be overwhelming. Think about it- open water is extremely different then the safety of your 5 foot deep 84 degree pool water that has a clear black line on the bottom. To build confidence in the water, focus on consistent swim training in the pool and get in the open water whenever you can. Practice sighting techniques to navigate effectively and minimize disorientation. Another great resource I have given to many athletes is my Complete Guide to Iron Distance Swim and you can get that by clicking this purple button below. This will give you everything you need to know about the Iron Distance swim and build your confidence as race day approaches.


 Affirmations have always been a game changer for me and repeating them over and over while relaxing helps your subconscious brain to internalize them. I have created several fantastic race affirmations for you for Swim, Bike and Run and you can get those by clicking the purple box below!

The bike leg of the Ironman presents its own set of challenges, from technical courses to unpredictable weather conditions, not to mention flat tires. To prepare mentally, familiarize yourself with the race course through training rides and race simulations. If time allows, ride some of the race course before race day and you will instantly feel more confident about your bike leg. Break the bike ride into manageable segments, setting mini-goals along the way to keep yourself motivated. Develop a mantra or positive affirmation to repeat during challenging moments, helping to shift your mindset from doubt to determination. For example, “I am a strong cyclist and I’ve pushed through wind before.”


As the final leg of the race, the marathon requires both physical endurance and mental fortitude. To build confidence in your running abilities, strategically incorporate long runs into your training program, gradually increasing mileage over time. Practice mental toughness techniques such as positive self-talk and affirmations, visualizing yourself crossing the finish line strong and triumphant. One great affirmation that I like to use is “I’ve suffered on many runs in my training and this one is no different. I will always get through it.” Embrace the discomfort of the run as an opportunity to prove your resilience and strength.


Developing a Bulletproof Mindset:

Building a resilient mindset is essential for overcoming doubt and fear in Ironman racing. Cultivate mental toughness through consistent training, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. Practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing and meditation to stay calm and focused during high-pressure situations. Again I point you to my positive race affirmations  and you can get them HERE. Surround yourself with a supportive community of fellow athletes and an experienced coach who can provide encouragement and guidance along the way. If I am your coach, let’s have a conversation about your fears or doubts and I will help you squelch them now!


Crushing doubt and fear in Ironman racing is a journey that begins with belief in yourself and your abilities. The fact that you have done the work to prepare for this event is a good sign that you have the grit to finish! By implementing strategies to conquer the open water swim, master the bike ride, and conquer the run, you can build the confidence and resilience needed to tackle the ultimate endurance challenge. With a bulletproof mindset and unwavering determination, you can achieve your Ironman dreams and cross the finish line stronger than ever before.


I will help you every step of the way. Wanna chat? Click the purple box below for a free 15 minute chat about your race goals.


Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Triathlon Coach

TriDot Coach

ACSM Trainer



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