When looking at long distance triathlon, one could think that it’s all about the physical performance aspect and that’s what decides between victory and defeat—but only a few understand the great importance of mental aspects and tactical sophistication in this sport.
While some athletes put the hammer down right from the start, others try to understand the race, their competitors, and the conditions before deciding how to race. While some athletes train in accordance with a strict fixed plan, others try to adapt their training to the current situation and external influences. Both ways can lead to success.
“I guess Swiss precision is a very good term to describe my approach of triathlon. I always try to have the ideal pacing, which surely depends on the racing situation, and to be able to finish off with a strong run.“
Ruedi Wild is one of those athletes you probably won’t see doing anything kamikaze-like during a long-distance race. With a very keen sense for the racing situation, and a corresponding tactic, the Swiss athlete oftentimes crosses the finish line first–after his competitors need to let go during the race. Having had a fantastic first half of the 2017 season, with three Ironman 70.3 victories already, Ruedi Wild is ready for the dessert in Kona.
“The results of this year definitely have had a positive influence on my self-confidence. After finishing IRONMAN Switzerland in 2nd place, there was no pressure to do any additional races and I could fully concentrate on the preparation for the world championships”
Regarding preparation, there is not only the physical but also the mental component, which plays a huge part in the final race preparation. Having the right mindset can be even more important than one’s physical condition on race day. Ruedi is well aware of this fact and trains his body–as well as his mind– to be ready on race day; ready for the heat of the burning sun on the highway, ready for the miles of silence in the energy lab, and ready for that moment when your head screams to your body to immediately stop that ongoing pain.
“The key sessions are very important from a mental aspect. Especially when having a bad day, I always try to use these days to bring my body to a positive level with the help of my mind. That’s exactly what happens in racing.“
Having the mental strength to drag himself out of the swamp by his own hair is one factor of Ruedi’s success. Furthermore, it’s about his comprehensive experience in triathlon sports, thorough knowledge about his body, and trusted reaction to different training stimulus. Rather than following a fixed training program, Ruedi trusts the signals his body sends him. Unlike many athletes, he has the fortitude to leave out a given training session, in case of doubts, and he concentrates 100% on the key training sessions. Just as important as the training load is the regeneration process, which plays a huge role in the second half of the season leading up to the race in Kona.
RUEDI’S #FLATOUTAST MOMENT
“I guess the decisive moment of the race is always that moment when negative thoughts arise. It can happen anywhere, but oftentimes it is halfway through the run, when you’re turning onto the highway and running through the heat into no man’s land. At that point the right mindset is needed and that decides between victory or defeat. The mind needs to be ready to go #FLATOUTFAST.“