A triathlon ninja is calm and cool under pressure, and can do impressive things like count how many gels they've had in the past 2 hours.
A triathlon ninja sneaks up barely noticed, usually late in the race when everyone else is fading, and whoosh turns up the heat and burns streaks of speed in the pavement.
*performance enhancing benefits not proven by research.
Are you a triathlon ninja? Do you want to be one? In this article, you'll learn five race day mental tactics that allow you to become a triathlon ninja, and use your ninja superpowers to push your body outside your comfort zone, physically beyond what you believe to be possible, and into a new level of personal achievement. Sweet. Are you ready grasshopper?
Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #1: Break Up.
While your subconscious mind can grasp the concept continuously swimming, cycling and running from point A to point B, or even of traversing 140.6 miles in a single day, your conscious mind (the part that actually dictates your race day decisions) is easily distracted.
For a triathlon ninja, this distraction can be a good thing, because you can feed your conscious mind tiny intermediate goals to break things up. Rather than having to making it to the finish line, you convince your body to make it to the next buoy, the next telephone pole, or the next aid station.
I personally divide most triathlons into much more than 3 separate events (swim, bike, run) and instead typically categorize 6-12 separate "sections" of the race on paper, then study that paper going into the race.
Got it? OK, you've got Step 1 of 5 (see you're already learning how to break things up).
Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #2: Dig Deep.
There's very little you'll experience in a race that you haven't already experienced in training. You just have to remember to dig deep enough during the race to call on those times in training when you headed out the door to run in torrential rain, rode your bike 30 miles on half-inflated tires, or finished off 1500 meters of a swim while resisting the compelling urge to rush to the bathroom and take a dump.
During a race, the slight discomfort that we put up with in training can sometimes mentally or physically derail us. So when the going gets tough, think back to the hardest part of your training, including somehow getting your heart rate near maximum at 5am in the morning, and draw on those episodes during the race.
Want practice? Compare getting through this article to reading Moby Dick in high school and you're well on your way to become a triathlon ninja.
Editor's Note: This is just part one of Ben's story. Be sure to come back tomorrow for part 2.
Ben Greenfield has been coaching athletes for over a decade from the website http://www.pacificfit.net, and is author of the modern triathlon coaching manual, "How To Be A Triathlon Coach," at http://www.triathloncoachguide.com.