Have you ever played Mario Kart? Well there’s a time trial mode in there where you race a semi-transparent version of your best time trial. Just you vs the ghost, and no one else. I like to add video game thinking into whenever I train or race. You know, when it comes video games in general, when you first play through a certain level or game, your goal really is to just get through it, then through repetition you actually get better and better. In Mario Kart Ghost mode, you’re always learning by doing. You see your previous ghost make mistakes on the screen, and you remember it, so you don’t make that same mistake. You see where you could take that turn most efficiently. You remember not to turn too fast there because you might hit a wall.
So in the basic elements of this mental strategy in a group training setting or race, whether it be triathlon, Ironman, marathon, ultramarathon training, it’s all the same. Ignore everyone else around you. Don’t compare yourself to the next person. You’ll get stumped or distracted by x or y, why you’re not keeping up with the pack, or why you can’t be like them. You don’t know their race experience, they don’t know yours. So the best way to approach every time you’re out there, as I’ve been doing for years, is to race your ghost. When you’re setting out to a PR, you’re not racing against the person infront of you, you’re racing against your past self. Also, in Mario Kart, there are different tracks, much like there are different races. Don’t get all bummed out if you don’t set your best time in one track versus another. Each course has its own challenges. If you fail, no worries, go back to the start menu, pick another course, and keep playing.