Race Brain

“Race Brain” is something I originally wrote for the B78 newsletter. Given that it’s race season and many people may be afflicted by this horrible psychological condition I thought it wise to post it here as well.

Race brain is something that affects many people. Symptoms usually present themselves in the 2-3 week lead into to a big race. Race brain can most easily be defined as a temporary psychological malfunction whereby the afflicted loses all confidence in that which they have practiced over and over and over again and starts to adopt seemingly suspect strategies leading into a race.

Here are several examples of things you might see someone doing who has race brain:

  • Adjusting their bike position (the one they have used for the last 4 months on every long ride they have done)
  • Adopting a new nutrition plan- specifically one they have never tried
  • Obsessively reading articles on training and race strategy and becoming convinced that all of the newly read strategies should be incorporated into the upcoming race plan
  • Becoming absolutely convinced that they are out of shape
  • Becoming overly concerned that every tiny sore spot is actually the early signs of a major injury
  • Becoming absolutely convinced that they are sick or coming down with something
  • Replacing every balanced meal with mounds of pasta starting two weeks out
  • Functioning as if they are looking through a tunnel or have blinders on (people who have race brain should not operate heavy machinery)

If you know someone who is exhibiting some or all of these symptoms it is imperative that you notify their coach. 99.9% of the time every single one of these things is a self manifested confidence killer that can be directly linked to race brain and lead to an athlete who is completely and utterly exhausted mentally by the time the race starts.

About Jasper

Jasper is an Ironman Champion and professional athlete turned coach and entrepreneur. He also has a passion for the philosophical and creative side of life. This is his personal blog.

Get more Jasper in your inbox

Sign up for email notification of more awesomeness.