With race season now upon us and my athletes racing almost every weekend over the coming months I’ve been thinking about some of the principles that define the phrase “Racing Tough”. The picture above captures a few of the important principles but I think there are a couple of equally important principles of “racing tough” that are often forgotten. The following are two very important principles to me and I like all my athletes to follow them at all times:
1. Always follow race rules to the letter: that includes respecting your fellow competitors and respecting all race officials. Triathlon is a fantastic sport on the whole practised by fantastic individuals but occasionally I have seen competitors in the heat of the moment confront race officials angrily and even abusively. All race crew are on the whole volunteers as are race marshals so without their self-sacrifice none of us would even be able to race. Race officials can make mistakes, so whatever the merits of your case you should raise them professionally and calmly and at the end of the day if need be just accept their judgement. Furthermore, it’s always good to give the race crew and officials a smile and a “thanks” even in the midst of your race.
Similarly “bending” the rules by, for example, cutting corners, deliberately drafting, swimming the wrong side of the bouy, doping (that’s a whole blog for another day!) etc aren’t pushing the envelope of the rules they are just plain and simple cheating – so don’t do it!
2. Adopt a ZERO excuses approach to any race outcome: whatever the reasons whether its a training race for you and you are entering it fatigued or you had a mechanical or any myriad of things that can go wrong don’t use them as excuses for your performance. It’s disrespectful to your competitors (and yourself!) to lay out a list of excuses as to why they were faster than you in that race. At the end of the day if you raced to the best of your ability then you got the right outcome and the one you deserved. Smile, accept and start planning for an even better performance at the next race.