top of page
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle

Stop Pre-Race Anxiety Before Your Next Iron Distance Triathlon

The weeks leading up to Race Day are full of hard work with many long hours on the bike, several 2 to 3 hour runs, and hundreds of yards in the pool. As we get closer to race day, the excitement builds, but for many so does the anxiety. Many of you feel immense pressure to perform well, especially in front of your peers. If you are a competitive athlete, chances are you have some form of jitters before race day. It’s totally normal, but you don’t want the pre-race jitters and anxiety to overshadow the confidence you need to perform at your best. I’ve been so nervous before a race that I actually felt nauseous, and that does not bring much joy to race morning. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you an effective strategy to combat pre-race anxiety: the power of positive affirmations. Discover how incorporating positive self-talk and affirmations into your training routine can help reduce anxiety, boost confidence, and set the stage for a successful race day.

Pre-race anxiety is a common experience among athletes, especially before demanding endurance events like an Ironman or 70.3 distance race. The pressure to perform, fear of the unknown, and lingering self-doubt can create a cocktail of emotions that disrupt our mental focus and physical performance. It's crucial to address these anxieties and develop a strategy to overcome them.

Positive affirmations are short, powerful, uplifting statements that help reframe your thoughts and beliefs, promoting a positive mindset. Incorporating them into your daily routine leading up to the race can significantly reduce pre-race anxiety. By intentionally focusing on positive thoughts and reinforcing your self-belief, you can cultivate an environment of confidence and optimism.

How do you create positive affirmations? Start by identifying the specific anxieties or doubts you experience before a race. In other words, personalize them according to your needs and goals. For example, if you're worried about your open water swim performance, craft an affirmation like "I am a strong, confident, and capable swimmer." It's crucial to frame your affirmations in the present tense and use positive language. By doing this, you are affirming your capabilities and reinforcing a mindset of success. Repeat your affirmations consistently during training, incorporating them into your daily routine, both in quiet moments while relaxing and during workouts. I always tell athletes to choose 5 to 10 affirmations and say them (or listen to them) several times a day. I’ve known some athletes to fall asleep listening to them as an effort to reach the subconscious mind in a relaxed state.

I’m a huge fan of visualizations too. These can train your brain to see the positive side of things and can help alleviate doubts or fears. For example, visualize yourself gliding effortlessly through the water, feeling strong and confident. Similarly, before a run or bike ride, affirm your abilities and visualize yourself crossing the finish line strong with a sense of accomplishment.

In addition to creating and repeating your own affirmations, listening to pre-recorded positive affirmations can be immensely helpful. I’ve created a guided affirmation recording specifically tailored to help athletes alleviate pre-race performance anxiety. I’ve included 5 or 6 affirmations for each of the 3 disciplines, swim, bike, and run. They are set to soothing music and spoken in a calming voice. Here’s how to use them: 1. Listen to the affirmation, then 2. Say it out loud to yourself, then 3. Listen to me say it again. Listening to them during your pre-race routine or even as you relax before bed can help rewire negative thought patterns and replace them with positive, empowering beliefs.

Pre-race anxiety should never hinder your performance or overshadow the joy of participating in an Iron Distance Triathlon. Remember, the mind plays a crucial role in your athletic performance, and by embracing the power of positive self-talk, you can reduce pre-race anxiety, boost your mental strength, and set the stage for a successful and fulfilling race day.


Embrace the power of positive affirmations and download my Ironman Affirmations audio file now for just $11.97! (You must have a PayPal account to purchase.) Click the purple box below and you will receive the download via email!


Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next race? Click the button below to fill out the form for a free 15 min chat about your goals!

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

ACSM Trainer

USA Cycling Coach


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page