It's a disease that attacks endurance sports athletes, and seems to be prevalent especially in triathlon circles. It can be very harmful, even fatal to your next event.
Early signs include: avoiding challenges, "DNFs" next to your name at race events and lack of significant improvement in any one area.
What is this illness?
The technical term is competition excusi et feari.
It may not have shown up on your last blood test or even on the MRI, but it is there for sure. Currently, it may be dormant and you may not feel its effects, but it will come out of remission again one of these days—most likely in the depths of winter, during stormy weather and on race day. While the symptoms are not noticeable right now or from one's appearance, these triathlon problems can certainly be felt within the mind.
It appears in the form of a tiny voice that whispers into your ear a list of apparently truthful excuses. At the time they sound perfectly logical, but that is all part of the virus. Now, this virus mutates and evolves very quickly, but here are seven traces that you should look out for around race time:
More: Eliminate Excuses
1. "I'm simply not ready. I definitely need two more weeks of training before I can race. Maybe next year I'll be prepared enough." This is one of the most common signs of the disease, but thankfully easily treatable. No matter how unprepared you feel, chances are that you are not only well prepared but over prepared to race. Unless you have done zero training or have done only a few hours a week but are trying to do an Ironman, than you are prepared. Even with a few unscheduled off days or cutting training volume a bit, many training programs have accounted for these set backs and adjusted other weeks accordingly. Trust your training plan, and go out there and have fun. You will surprise yourself about what you can do.
2. "I'm not feeling 100 percent, so what's the point of racing?" This virus seems to resurrect old injuries leading up to a race or give you a rotten stomach on race morning. While it may seem serious at the time, a feeling that the virus feeds upon, it is mostly nerves that is making you feel this way. Take a deep breath and give it your all. By the time the gun goes off, these little tweaks will have disappeared. Even if you are not feeling 100%, you can still race, but modify your goals. Instead of trying to make the podium or set a course record, set more reasonable goals like having fun, having a smooth swim stroke, following your race plan, or being conservative on the bike so that you can even split the run.