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One powerful training tool that every triathlete has in their arsenal is positive self-talk. Positive self-talk includes words of encouragement to use as doubt starts to creep in, or when things get tough during a race. Like anything else, positive self-talk is a skill that must be practiced. You probably practice self-talk during training and don’t even realize it. Think about it for a minute. What do you say to yourself during a tough workout? Is this self-talk positive or negative? As the adage goes, “you race like you train,” so if your self-talk is negative in training, it is most likely negative as the race gets tough. Ultimately this leads to less than optimal race performance. One opportunity for positive self talk is just prior to your swim start. Doubt starts to creep in as you look out at the buoys and think to yourself “wow, that sure is a long way.” You may also inspect the competition and start to feel intimidated. Plan in advance what you will say to yourself in these situations. You might say, “I’ve swum this far in practice, I can definitely do this” or “I am going to do the best I can and not worry about my competitors.” Use this type of positive self-talk as often as needed to get you to the finish line.
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