As athletes, we often become focused on the potential result in our upcoming races. It’s totally natural to dream of that great position, train our backsides off, then frantically scan the start-list for potential rivals! But it isn’t all about the result…
On Thursday I am flying off with 4 mates – also keen duathletes – for Powerman Spain in Mallorca. It is a big race, one that has been driving my training throughout the winter. When you travel abroad to race it always seems more significant (it certainly costs more financially) and as I came 4th overall last year, people have been asking me whether I can get on the podium. As such, the nerves are beginning to jangle (they certainly are now that I am writing about it) and I feel a little bit of pressure.
However, it’s really important to remember that there are a lot of uncontrollable variables that will influence your finish position. For a start, you can’t influence who else is on the start line. I’d love to get on the podium this weekend but even though I am in better shape than last year, the start-list looks tougher with several pro triathletes rocking up. It’s, therefore, a little silly to pluck a result out of the air. The key is to race as hard as you can and cross that line knowing you couldn’t do anything more.
Importantly, I’ve absolutely loved the training. Many of you can empathise when I say that I enjoy smashing myself with my fellow Cheltenham Harriers on the track and in those full-on turbo sessions/bricks that have been a staple diet for me over the winter. The fact is if you don’t enjoy the training, why are you doing it? OK, there are times when it’s cold, wet, you’re tired and don’t fancy dragging yourself out to the shed for a turbo session or out onto the road for a hard run, but unless you get injured, you NEVER regret a training session!
As well as the training leading up to the race, there is the experience of the trip itself. Flying abroad is always exciting and this week we’re going to have a few days before the race to ride the route (in the sun), chat to other athletes and relax in the hotel. Nice! The great thing about the Powerman races is the multinational nature of it with athletes on the start-line from all over Europe. There is a brilliant camaraderie/community at Powerman and although we will be smashing into each other when the gun fires, we will be mates before and afterwards and enjoy sharing our race experiences.
Ultimately, the result is important, but I like to think that a great result is the icing on a very big and enjoyable cake that you have been eating most of the winter. That’s a slightly odd metaphor, but hopefully, you know what I mean! I’m definitely going to be eating some cake after the race on Saturday.
Who knows, if I get on the podium, I may even treat myself to two!
Ben Price is a duathlete who has represented GB at elite level over the past two years. He came to the sport in his late 20s and since then has progressed through the age group ranks until he was selected for the elite team in 2017. You can follow Ben’s training on Instagram through his daily posts.