How I Reflect After a Race (And Why You Should Too!)

By Makenna Seghers | Aug. 15, 2017, 5:50 p.m. (ET)

makenna seghers

BEST races are still never perfect. BAD races are never the worst. ALL races are a learning opportunity.

Triathlon is a sport where it is just you versus The Course. Sometimes it feels like you are on top and other days feels as if The Course is out to get you. No matter how good or bad a race is, you should be able to take at least one thing away from it. The most important part of any race is how much you learned from it and what you do with the knowledge you gained.

One of the things I do after most all of my races is write a reflection about my race, making sure to include the small details as well as putting in what I ate for dinner and breakfast before the race. By making a habit of writing about your races, you can start to find patterns of what you need to work on to improve for the future. When doing the post-race reflection, make sure to try to get it done in the day you raced. The quicker you can do it after you have finished the better because you will remember those little details you would forget about if you wait to do it another day.

There are many ways to do a post-race reflection. Some athletes do them by audio recording themselves, others take a video, some type it on the computer, and some take the pen and paper approach. Any of these ways are great and you have to experiment around with what works for you and also what resources you have around, especially if you are on the road traveling back home from a race that is far away. I personally find the pen and paper route to be the easiest as a lot of the triathlons we go to are far away and it’s easy to pack a small note book and pen.

makenna seghers

This is a great addition that everyone should start to include doing after the race. It will increase your performance in upcoming events as well as let you see where your weak spots are that need to be worked on. By completing post-race reports I saw a pattern of how I wasn’t feeling very confident going into 180s and would end up getting dropped off the back of the pack. Being able to see this early on in the year helped me start to understand there was a weakness. I was able to talk to coaches and learn where I should position myself coming into the turns and what I needed to practice to feel more relaxed when doing them in a race.

These race reports are not just beneficial to you; they can be very informative to any coaches that work with you. They can make workouts based around what needs work. I also find it is nice to be able to call my coach after the race with my post-race report in my hand and a photo of it sent to him so we can go more in depth about the race and what parts we need keep similar as well as parts that need some construction and rebuilding.

Race reports help in various ways. They can help you see what was good and what needs work, can help coaches figure out a game plan for training, and allow you to see patterns that keep happening in racing. I didn’t really start realizing until this year that even if my race was “bad” that it really wasn't. It was just another opportunity to seek getting better. By doing my post-race report I could gain a better understanding of my “bad” races and see where my time needed to be focused. No matter how your race went, you can improve and race reports are just one way to help guide you in the right direction.

Find race recaps, social coverage, photos and more from the 2017 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships at usatriathlon.org/usatjr17coverage.