Training and Race Day Stress (part 1)

I have been struggling to find the perfect topic to discuss, but no worries, I have came up with the perfect topic to discuss prior to most races. Do any of you struggle with anxiety or stress during training or a race????? I would like to say I don’t but the reality is, we all stress a bit. And this stress can be related to many factors. I want to pr at my race, I hate swimming in open water, I had a bad crash on the bike and do not have the confidence, I have been battling injuries while training-what will happen on race day…

So how do we handle this stress? Let me highlight a few of the bigger problems so during your training you can work on your stress level to be more confident at the race.
#1 Avoiding burnout from training:
This is a huge problem, but luckily for triathlete’s this is not as big of a problem since you are training for 3 disciplines and hopefully doing some weights and yoga. Best solution to burnout, is to not look at the big picture, but to set daily or weekly goals instead. I have some monster training plans, but refuse to look ahead, one week at a time. I just told a client today who is struggling with some injuries due to overuse, that her body is burning out from the hard training and to take a week off. Yes she grumbled, but she gets it. Even though it may seem like a set back, taking time off will help let the body reset.

#2 Motivation:
Motivation is similar to burnout, but different in that you need to set goals. These goals are the key to staying motivated. When you get off track you need to reassess and adjust accordingly. I oddly enough have more clients that do a large group training than individual training I believe that the large group training is what keeps them motivated. You find those people at similar skill levels and you can push one another. I will let you in on a little trainer secret. When setting race goals, don’t just set a race goal. I always ask clients to write down the race they are training for, a realistic goal, a future/better than normal race day goal, and just had a bad race day goal. When trying to motivate oneself, we need to remind ourselves that not every day is the same. There are a lot of factors in a triathlon from weather, mechanical issues, tough race course, injuries, nutrition problems, etc. So in a nutshell, set goals and throughout your training keep reminding yourself of your goals!

#3 Swim Anxiety:

This is probably the number one issue for triathletes, especially beginner triathletes.  It is almost impossible to replicate an open water swim in a pool which for most of us is where we have been training during the long cold winter month.  Discussing all the tips and drills for open water swimming and how to use a wetsuit is a totally separate article.  If there is one tip I can give, swim a lot.  Become confident with your stroke, swim with people in your lane and get used to getting hit, kicked, jabbed, goggles getting knocked off.  These are some of the more common issues during the swim portion of a race.  Like I said, we cannot mimic a lake when we are in the pool but we can at least get our brains prepared for what is to come.  And as soon as it is warm, get in a lake and practice.  Lakes can be dark, smelly, spooky, strange things floating, fish nibbling, etc. so by getting into a lake many times prior to a race will help you to be prepared race day.  Luckily in Omaha, the Race Omaha series offers open water swim practices which is a great way to get some of the jitters out prior to race day.  I cannot promise that the jitters will be gone race day, but we can eliminate some of the guessing ahead of time.

Hopefully by discussing some of the basic things that lead to stress will help you to identify your individual stressors and ways to help deal with them.  If you have questions, please let me know.  I do not want to call myself an expert by any means, but am experienced as a racer, coach, and race volunteer.  I have experienced all of these at some point during my training and race days.

Part 2 (Focus, confidence, race day anxiety)



If You Run Slow, Who Cares?????

Folks, once again I cannot take credit for this article, but feel that it send a very important message to runners, the power of positive thinking and that running is simply put, running. Be proud of your accomplishments whether big or small, don’t stress about the PR’s, make running a healthy and fun lifestyle versus beating yourself up about speed and time. Please take a moment to read this and reflect…

Content courtesy of

When I first started working with age group and recreational runners in 2006, one of the biggest surprises to me was the amount of negative thinking and lack of self-confidence many runners exhibited. Almost every runner that joined the group introduced themselves to me by stating “I’m probably the slowest person you’ve ever coached” or “you probably don’t work with runners as slow as I am.”

It didn’t matter what their personal bests actually were, almost all conversations started in a similar manner.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that not much has changed in the last seven years. Many runners, both new and experienced, hesitate to join local running groups or participate in online communities. When asked why, most respond that they are embarrassed by how slow they are.

I’m here to tell you that you’re not slow and that this negative, self-deprecating thinking is only holding you back from your true potential!

I’ll admit, this article won’t be as grounded in scientific research and specific how-to advice as my usual pieces. However, shifting your mindset about how you perceive yourself is more important than any workout or training run you could ever do.

The Power Of Positive Thinking

From a pure performance perspective, thinking negatively can inhibit you from achieving your potential. While thinking you’re slow may seem harmless, every time you preface a statement with the phrase, “I know I am slow, but …” you condition your mind to believe that you can never be fast.

Countless research studies in sports psychology have proven the power of positive thinking and self-talk. Athletes who go into a workout or race with positive thoughts perform significantly better and more consistently than those who approach workouts and races with a negative attitude.

Reframing your belief in yourself starts before a workout or race. If you’re negative and lack self-confidence throughout your training, no amount of pre-race self-talk and mental preparation is going to undo weeks or months of self-deprecation. Positive thinking starts with how you frame every aspect of your running.

I understand that it’s hard to change your perception of your running ability, so here is some helpful advice:

Regardless Of Your Speed, Running Is The Same

Here’s a secret about running. The feeling you get after a new PR, the satisfaction from a tough workout well done, and the disappointment from a bad performance all feel the same no matter how fast you are. That’s the beauty of our sport.

There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5K for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.

That means all runners can relate to each other, no matter their speed.

I’ve run under 29 minutes for a 10K. I still get nervous about finishing last (in fact, I have the distinguished accomplishment of finishing second-to-last at two consecutive U.S. championships), there’s still a lot I don’t know about training, and I have had more than my fair share of bad workouts, injuries, and poor races.

Therefore, there’s no need to preface any of your questions or thoughts about running with “I am slow.” I’m fast and I face the same challenges and fears. All runners do.

There’s Always Someone Faster

Unless you’re Kenenisa Bekele, Mo Farah or Galen Rupp, chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you. Fast is relative.

I get it. You run 12 or 15 minutes per mile and are embarrassed to call yourself a runner because a lot of people are faster. Here’s a secret: “fast” runners feel the same way.

Former professional runner Ryan Warrenburg recently discussed how he’s hesitant to call himself an “elite” runner. Ryan has run 13:43 for a 5K — I’d call that fast and worthy of elite status. Do you know where his time ranks him in the world? I don’t because it’s way outside the top 500 (sorry, Ryan).

What’s Wrong With Being ‘Slow?’

OK, so I can’t convince you that being “slow” is all a frame of reference. So I’ll ask you, why does being slow even matter?

Runners are perhaps the most welcoming and friendly group of athletes I’ve ever met. No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend. Think about it. Would you enjoy a run with a friend, even if you had to slow down considerably for them to keep up? I bet you would, and your running group feels the same.

Second, regardless of your pace, you’re doing better than almost 80 percent of Americans. In a study conducted by the CDC, researchers found that less than 20 percent of Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity.

I hope you can look at some of these statistics and insights from runners who are “fast” and realize speed is merely a state of mind. Once you can reframe your thoughts on your speed and potential, you open yourself up for great things to happen with your training and racing.

The next time you want to join a running club, ask a question to a fellow runner, or want to sign up for a race but get nervous about “being slow,” ask yourself this: “Does it really matter?”


Goodbye 2013, bring on 2014

Dear Motorist

Take a moment to watch the video, then go online to pledge as a cyclist or motorist to share the road. This info cannot get shared often enough!

Only cyclists would undertand…

Folks, this is just a quick fun Thursday post. My friend just shared this video with me and I got a chuckle out of it. Not quite as funny as the triathlon video, but this is still pretty good. Enjoy!!!  (and yes, there is a bit of profanity, you have been warned).

5 Off Season Rules

For those that have not seen this in Triathlete Mag, the info is fabulous. I recently posted my top fun things to do off season, this list is the pertinent list. For anyone who is a triathlete, take a moment to read the article. Good Read!

Americans Making Healthier Food Choices

Flatlander Tri Coaching:

Yes, this is exciting news folks! I challenge everyone to start making healthier food choices if you have not already done so. For those that struggle, I highly recommend giving Juice Plus a try. Not only does it contain whole fruits and veggies, it comes is flavorful chew form, capsule, or even my favorite-Protein Powder. Not only is it jam packed with fruits and veggies, it helps to keep you healthier. To learn more about ways to add more fruits and veggies to you diet, contact me: or (402) 213-1087

Originally posted on Real Food Nuts:


We’re consuming more fruit, water and yogurt while skipping sodas, candy and junk food!
If you haven’t done so yet….start now making healthier food choices – you’ll feel much healthier for it.

See the full article here….

If you struggle with getting enough fruits and veggies into your diet or just healthier foods period I recommend giving Juice Plus a try! Juice Plus is NOT a vitamin supplement – it is actual whole food! It is made from whole fruits and veggies and is available in chewables or capsules. There is also a protein shake (Vanilla or Dutch Chocolate) Powder, which can be used as a nutrition shake, a pre or post workout shake and even a meal replacement shake to help you lose weight. Juice Plus helps to keep you healthier by providing your body with nutrients from 25 different fruits, vegetables and grains.

To learn more about adding…

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5 Tips for Beginning Swimmers & Triathletes

5 Tips for Beginning Swimmers & Triathletes.


These are some very simple but important tips for beginner swimmers. Make sure to practice these in the pool!

Healthy Recipe: Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine and Tomato

Flatlander Tri Coaching:

This just sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it!

Originally posted on The Game Plan:

I have to give Food & Wine a big shout out for including more healthy recipes lately, and providing nutritional information more often. Their stuff is always sophisticated and yummy. I made this for friends a few weeks ago and even though there were four of us and the recipe makes six servings, there were NO leftovers.


Photo credit: Crown Publishing

From Food & Wine

3 tablespoons canola oil
6 whole chicken legs, split into drumsticks and thighs, skin and fat removed (I just used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they were on sale, and they were great)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine

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Nutrition Facts

Flatlander Tri Coaching:

Good info about the nutrition facts for Juice+ capsules (it’s that simple)
For more info, check out:

Originally posted on Real Food Nuts:

Juice Plus+ capsules nutrition fact labels.

I will be also posting the chewables and the nutrition shake labels soon as well.


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