Unexpected things can happen in a race—your goggles knocked off in the swim, a flat on the bike or your stomach doesn't' cooperate.
The "disasters" don't have to derail your race. Mishaps happen to successful racers of all levels. It doesn't automatically mean you will have a bad race.
Chrissie Wellington had a flat tire at the Ironman World Championships in Kona and ended up winning the women's field.
A great race is when you're able to keep yourself on track despite all the little things thrown at you.
"Once you start learning to deal positively with distractions, you become such a powerful racer," says Lucy Smith, pro athlete and coach for LifeSport Coaching (www.lifesportcoaching.com). "You're not only getting tested on your physical skills, but on your sheer resilience to be able to cope."
And just as you get better at swimming, biking, and running, you can get better at coping. When things aren't going your way try to keep your emotions out of it.
"The least amount of emotion you can bring into the situation, the better," says Smith, 19-time Canadian champion and internationally ranked athlete in triathlon, duathlon and distance running.
The more you can remain calm and focused, the more effectively—and quickly—you're going to get through the problem.
"Maybe someone has been a bit rude to you. You can't let your brain get hooked into being angry," Smith says. "What they did matters nothing to what you're trying to accomplish at that time."
Still can't shake it? Sometimes, you just have to acknowledge the emotion, say, "this is not helping today," and move on, Smith says.
Olympian and coach Joanna Zeiger (www.joanna-zeiger.com) agrees. "A race doesn't have to be over if something doesn't go your way," Zeiger says.