5 Secrets to Calming Your Nerves Before a Race

Nervous About Your First Race? Pro Triathlete Renee Baker Is Here to Help

The week leading into a major race I start to get nervous. But for me, nerves are good! It means the race is important to you and you have something to achieve. But harnessing this nervous energy into a positive is important; otherwise any anxiety can undo your race.

Here are some of the things that help me chill out and focus my energy where it is needed most: on my swim, bike and run!

Calming Nerves

1.     SLEEP IN!

My mental preparation starts weeks out. Building up the sleep credit is essential. I know the night before a race I don’t sleep much at all. All those nerves that build up before a big race mean I will be tossing and turning all night. So, a few nights prior to the race I make sure I turn out the lights extra early and forget to set the alarm clock!


I make sure I have an opportunity to talk to my coach the night before the race. We set goals each race and we visualize these together. My coach is my biggest believer, so speaking to him gives me the confidence boost and the rev up I need to get out there and perform.


On race day, I will listen to my favourite music before the race. This blocks out all the hype and buzz momentarily and you can really become focused.  I have an eclectic range that I like to listen to. People laugh when they see what tracks I choose to listen to pre-race—but it works for me! I am a Pandora fan with my favourite tracks are from Riverdance radio!

Be Prepared for your Race


This means going through the race from start to finish in your head—from the start to transition and the finish line. The benefit of visualizing the race is twofold: it will help ensure you have all the equipment and gear you need AND it will put you in the right mindset to do well. If you have already won the race in your head, you are more likely to do well when it the big day comes.



At the start line with a few minutes to go I will close my eyes and take a minute to focus on what needs to be done. I take a few deep breaths and become present in that moment: forgetting about everyone around me, anything that happened that morning, the day before or over the last few weeks. The only thing that matters at that moment is the race and what I will do to do my very best.

Then, it’s “go time”!