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How to Fight Fatigue During a Race


No matter how much training and mental preparation goes into an endurance event, there usually comes a time in every race where an athlete will hit the proverbial wall. At that point, with the body and mind wanting to stop, it’s tempting to bow out of the race. An athlete almost always can discover a second wind, though getting to that point can be a challenge. Whether it’s a 5K race, marathon, triathlon, or one of the popular new obstacle races such as Tough Mudder or Spartan Race, it helps to have a strategy to cope with the wall. We recently asked a number of Ironman triathletes from the Team Timex Multisport team how they deal with that challenge.

Mac Brown, 34, San Diego, Calif.

“Everyone goes through peaks and valleys. You’ll never have a perfect race and there’s always a point where you’ll fight those demons. How you deal with the low points is how you’ll end up on the finish line. The key is to have a short memory and focus on the immediate task at hand.

Just weather the storm. How you’re able to deal with the adversity and fight through it is sort of an all-encompassing attitude to have for life.”

Melissa Brand, 25, London, Eng.

“It’s important before the race to think through it mentally and know that hitting the wall could come up. Use positive cues to your advantage. If you reach a point where you’re feeling tired or overly hot, remind yourself of something positive. Perhaps you’re running well, even if you feel awful at that particular moment.”

Andrew Hodges, 28, Huntsville, Ala.

“It’s all mental, assuming you’ve trained properly,” says Andrew Hodges, 28, of Huntsville, Ala. “There are tough segments in every race and you have to push through it. Positive self-talk is so important. Realize that it will pass and just move forward.”

Shannon Coates, 25, Boca Raton, Fla.

“Think about the big picture. It’s about the journey and if you’re struggling through a race, think of how much grueling work you put into it. This is your moment. Races are a celebration of the effort you put in. Enjoy it, don’t hold back, and that should help get you through it.”

What keeps you moving forward when you feel like you’re hitting the wall? Let us know in the comments.

About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Race, Attitude, Triathlon, Motivation, Running