Mental Training: Confidence

This is part 2 of 6 looking into the mental factors discussed in “The Triathlete’s Guide to Mental Training”. The six factors are motivation, confidence, intensity, focus, emotions, and pain.

Confidence is defined as how strongly you believe you can perform your best and achieve your goals.

Whether your confidence is high or low, once you start on a pattern, it may be hard to reverse.

A series of poor training sessions or races could get you discouraged and make you question your fitness and ability. This may lead to a lack of motivation to train harder, or might make you so uptight and nervous come race day that you have no hope of achieving your goals.

On the other hand, positive thoughts, feelings and good thoughts allow you to feel less pain in training and races…leading to better performance…and even higher confidence.

Every day of training, you are achieving small “wins”. These small victories should grow your confidence until you have confidence enough to achieve the big “wins”…such as meeting your goal come race day. Because these big wins don’t happen very often, the small wins are important for strengthening and maintaining your confidence. Even if you have a bad day of training, the fact that you are out there doing it makes it a win.

After not meeting my goal in a few races earlier this year, my confidence started to fade. I wondered if I was cut out for triathlons. Maybe I just wasn’t a good enough athlete to be competitive. Then, after all the issues I had during the Cardinal Harbour Half-Ironman I took a different perspective. I realized that no matter how much you train, there are going to be days when things happen that are out of your control that lead to a bad race. I took the attitude of just trying my best and not putting too much emphasis on the outcome into my next race, which was Tri Indy. This turned out to be a great race, where I knocked 13 minutes off of last year’s time. This gave me tons of confidence heading into the Tom Sawyer Triathlon. This increased confidence and changed perspective lead to my first podium finish and my best race of the year!

So try things that you’re not sure if you can do. Go out on a limb and take a risk. Tell yourself, “I’m just going to give it everything I’ve got and see what happens”. You’ll find that more often than not, you will succeed…leading to huge boosts in your confidence.



Zone 2 endurance building run
12.40 miles in 1:41:44 (8:12 min/mile pace)
Avg HR = 155 bpm
Max HR = 165 bpm
15 minutes of stretching after the run.
Time in Zone 1- 26:17 (25%)
Time in Zone 2- 1:11:47 (73%)
Time in Zone 3- 3:41 (2%)

Here’s my heart rate chart from the run – pretty good job of staying in Zone 2:

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