How to Move on After a Bad Race

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Q: How do you deal with a disappointing race?

Amy Marsh answers:

A: There are two types of athletes: those that have had a bad race and those who will have one. Every athlete has a bad race at some point in his or her career. It happens. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get over the disappointment. Having some experience with this, I offer these four steps to help you move on from a bad race:

Step 1: Cry, mope around, eat Bon Bons if you need to ““ but don’t make a habit of it. You invested a lot of time, money and hard work. Understandably, you’re going to be upset. Throw yourself a pity party to help with the healing process, but don’t let it last more than a day or two.

Step 2: After your meltdown, redirect your energy to finding the positive. Yes, something good came of this race, whether it was a medal, a good workout or even just a fun time with friends and family. Be happy that you were able to race in the first place ““ free of injury, fit and fueled.

Step 3: With the race still fresh in your mind, replay the day. Analyze what you can improve upon, such as your nutrition, training plan or race-day execution. More often than not, what goes wrong is preventable or controllable. Dig into the details and consider this a learning experience.

Step 4: Sign up for your next race. This is one of the best ways to move on and put your focus elsewhere. It will give you a new challenge to work toward. Bonus: You’ll be more determined than ever before!

I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have a poor performance now and then. It’s important to push through these rough patches. If you keep trying and never give up, you’ll see improvement. And when you make positive progress, you’ll feel too “up” to get down about the occasional bad race.

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at “˜Like’ them onFacebook  or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.