Episode 41 - How to mentally prepare for a race with mindset coach Trang Nguyen

How to mentally prepare for a race with mindset coach Trang Nguyen

You've done the training, you’ve dialled in your nutrition, but what about your mind? 

When it comes to racing, there is a lot you can do to prepare your body physically to perform at the best of your ability on the day. But if you haven’t got your mind switched on, then your race may not result in what you’re truly capable of.

To help give you some practical strategies to mentally prepare yourself for your next triathlon race, I asked mindset and performance coach Trang Nguyen to join me on the podcast. She is also a qualified physiotherapist, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Running Coach and Personal trainer - talk about a high achiever! 

She walks you through strategies to visualise your race goals, quieten down those pre-race nerves and ways to help you through a dark, pain cave hole during a race.

So you can be confident you’ve given it your all, and achieved what you set out to on race day. Whether that’s standing on the top of the podium, hitting a new personal best or reaching the finish line of your very first race!

If mindset is an area you need help with, connect with Trang on Instagram.


Connect with Trang on Instagram

Website: www.alignedperformance.com.au

Podcast: Listen to the Aligned Performance Podcast

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Episode Transcription

Episode 41 - How to mentally prepare for a race with mindset coach Trang Nguyen

Taryn Richardson  00:00
Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, the show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian, and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy to digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it. 

Taryn Richardson  00:42
Have I got a treat for you today? Joining me on the podcast is Mindset and Performance coach, Trang Nguyen. She's going to give you some really practical strategies for how to prepare mentally for a race. You can do everything that you need to for training and getting your nutrition dialed in. But if you haven't got your mind switched on, then your race might not be what you're truly capable of.

Taryn Richardson  01:07
So Trang is going to give us some really good tips for visualising your goals and making your pre-race nerves quieten down a little bit. And even to help you get out of a bit of a dark hole during a race. So I'm really excited for you to hear from Trang and the gold nuggets that she's got for you.

Taryn Richardson  01:27
Like me, Trang is also a little bit of a high achiever. She is a qualified Physiotherapist, Strength and Conditioning Coach and a Running Coach and is also a qualified PT. She's worked with lots of endurance athletes and now focuses on helping everyday people achieve their greatest potential with purpose. Whether that's from an athlete perspective, or from a work career perspective. So let's dive straight in. Here's Trang.

Trang Nguyen  01:55
Thank you, Taryn. And thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here.

Taryn Richardson  01:58
Me too. It's nice to get somebody that's got a different perspective on triathlon that's not a dietitian and not nutritionist. So I'm really excited to pick your brain on everything to do with mindset and race preparation, pun intended.

Trang Nguyen  02:11
Yeah, I'm really keen. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  02:14
So what I really want people listening to get out of today's episode from you, as a mindset coach, is some practical strategies that they can implement in preparation for a race. Because, you know, they train their ass off, they put all of the things into it, you know, they've got a coach, they've got a program, they've done a build for however many weeks - 8, 12, 16, 20 weeks? Hopefully, they've got nutrition advice and have their nutrition sorted, they've perfected which race suit they're going to wear, what shoes and socks, if any, they're going to wear, they've invested in a bike  - all of these things. They're dotting the I's, crossing the T's. But you know, if your mind is not in it, when it gets to race day, then your race performance isn't going to be as good as you're potentially truly capable of. So when it comes to race preparation, how far away can someone start thinking about what they need to do to get their head in the game on race day?

Trang Nguyen  03:10
I don't think there is a time that is too early to start preparing. Even thinking back to when I was doing more races, I had my triathlon coach who I was working with, he really emphasised the mind. And he believed that the mind made up a majority of your performance on race day, even more than the physical, which ... that could be up for discussion, and people can discuss what they believe. But it's true what you say, Taryn, it's such a big component! You can have everything in place but if your mind isn't there, that can be the difference between you getting first versus second. It can be the difference between you getting a PB or not. Sorry, I don't think there's any time where it's too early.

Taryn Richardson  03:51
Okay, good advice. And do you have some strategies somebody could maybe implement well before a race to make sure that they're doing their mental preparation early? Just like they're doing their training for their muscles, and hopefully doing their nutrition to train their gut? What can they do to train their brain, early on, to prepare for their key event?

Trang Nguyen  04:09
I think a big thing from early on and throughout the training period is watching the stories that you tell yourself because, over time, the stories that you tell yourself about yourself is going to be what's going to shape your perception of your capabilities and how you go on race day. So for example, what I mean by stories is, a triathlete can have weeks and weeks and weeks of good training sessions. They're going well, but then maybe they have one week, on the back of eight weeks that they have one week where all their sessions feel sluggish, slow, they're feeling heavy. And then they're going to really focus on that, right? Like, it's always the bad session or the bad week that sticks in your memory.

Trang Nguyen  04:53
But that triathlete could really focus on that week and then use that story to be like, "Oh my gosh, I don't think I have a PB in me, I don't think I'm actually ready for this race, I'm not actually fit enough." And that could just lead to a downward spiral, right? Like, I'm sure everyone's had that experience before! I know I have. And that can really lead to a downward spiral when it was just one week out of many other weeks.

Trang Nguyen  05:17
So I think the big one is actually staying conscious and staying aware of how you're going as a whole. And that might mean taking regular time, on a daily or weekly basis, to actually check-in and maybe write down three different pieces of evidence, or three different stories that can prove to yourself you are ready, you are good enough that you are capable of getting that PB. And doing that on a regular basis. Because over time, that's going to lead to how a triathlete feels. As he gets closer to the race, it's not just what happens the week or two before the race, right? It's what has accumulated over weeks and months, even years.

Taryn Richardson  05:59
We always kind of focus on the doom and gloom, don't we? We find the negatives in anything. Or do we focus on that one negative thing that happened? So it sounds like we need to start to really shift our thinking and shift our focus to "What are the positives that I can latch on to or hold on to"? And think about constantly, on repeat, when you're having a bad day or your hormones are going AWOL? And nothing seems to be working?

Trang Nguyen  06:23
Yeah, the principle that crowds out the negative memories or the negative stories is not that you have to try and forget that negative week or that bad week. Don't try and forget it. Because if you try and forget anything, you're only going to focus on it more. It's like if I were to say, "Oh, don't think about a red cat", you're going to think about a red cat right now. Right?

Taryn Richardson  06:44

Trang Nguyen  06:45
Don't try and forget about it, but focus on all the other stories, all the other pieces of evidence that proves to you how good you are. And they'll just crowd out the bad stories.

Taryn Richardson  06:54
Perfect. That's such great advice.

Trang Nguyen  06:56
Yeah, it's something that I've applied for myself, because, you know, all of us have had to shift the way that we think about ourselves. I'm sure at one point or another - whether it's in triathlon or outside of the sport. But yeah, it's something that is an ongoing process.

Taryn Richardson  07:09
Yeah, I was just gonna say you could apply that to anything - like whether it's work or family, it doesn't have to be race preparation. Trying to focus on that for any element of your life is going to help you get your head in the game and switch on when you need to most.

Trang Nguyen  07:24
Yeah, absolutely. So make it a regular thing. Get out your journal. Maybe you haven't used a journal since you were in high school or something. But get out a notebook, get out a journal and start writing on that on a regular basis. Good advice.

Taryn Richardson  07:37
Okay. So they've done their race prep mentally, ages out from a race - we're thinking positively, we're thinking about how good we're going to perform on the day, but race week hits, and we're starting to shit our pants. You know, it's pretty common. I often speak with people in that race week just to give them some advice for race nutrition in race week and some final little prep and a pep talk. And they are always crapping their dacks. And they're starting to backtrack on the times that they want to achieve. And they really just switched from going, "Okay, I'm going to do a PB and this is my best race ever." to "I just want to get to the finish line." So when those pre-race nerves are kicking in, have you got any advice for someone to help calm themselves and quieten that down?

Trang Nguyen  08:22
Yeah, race week, it's always a bit chaotic, isn't it? Training has tapered down, things are meant to be a bit quieter, but there's always so much that's going on. And I think a big one leading into race week - now we're getting closer to the race - the reason why, as you say, Taryn, a lot of triathletes are just freaking out, is because they are lacking confidence in their ability, or they're not feeling certain about how the race day will go.

Trang Nguyen  08:49
That's essentially what's happening, right? And the reason why that's happening is because triathletes often don't see themselves being able to achieve the PB or achieve the race result that they want to. So the keyword is "see". Because here's the thing, if people feel confident about things that they do on a regular basis, right, like not many people get really nervous about jumping in a car and driving down the street.

Trang Nguyen  09:15
Not many triathletes will feel nervous about just going out for an easy 5km run or an easy two-hour bike ride. But the difference here is they have not yet proven to themselves - they have not yet "seen" themselves achieving this PB, achieving this race result, getting onto the podium. So what they need to do is they need to actually "see" themselves getting that outcome. So what I mean by "see" is through a visualisation. I'm really big on visualisations. That's what I do every time I have something big coming up, whether it is a sporting event, or whether it's something else for work. And that's what I've gotten my clients to do and it can shift your state, it can shift your confidence within minutes. Really, really powerful stuff. Is that something that you've done before Taryn?

Taryn Richardson  10:02
I'm a super visual person. So yes. But for somebody that's not visual or doesn't understand what to do, what practically, can they do? Like, can they do it like anywhere while they're driving? Or do they have to be in a quiet room lying down with the eyes closed? How do you actually visualise?

Trang Nguyen  10:19
So there's no right or wrong. But what I would recommend is actually create a space where you are sitting by yourself in silence, and you can truly go internal and create this visualisation from the inside out. This is the thing as well, you know, you can create a powerful visualisation, but you can also create a weak visualisation as well.

Trang Nguyen  10:44
Now the difference between a weak and a powerful visualisation is how realistic it is. You know, the brain, it doesn't actually know the difference between a very strong visualisation and reality. Because what is reality? Reality is essentially, what you see, what you smell, what you taste, what you can hear, and we can feel. Our five senses. That's what actually creates our reality, right? So if you want to have a strong visualisation it's actually not just what you can see. It's also what you can hear, what you can smell, what you can taste and what you can feel. And that's what makes a really powerful visualisation. Creating that image in your head with all of those senses. And, yeah, you can do that while driving. You can even do that while running. But I personally find it easier when I'm by myself in a silent place.

Taryn Richardson  11:39
The perks of having no kids and having a silent place.

Trang Nguyen  11:42
A good strategy to do that, as well, like a routine that I use that I teach to my clients is what I call a future programming visualisation. And there's different names. But the way it goes is you actually want to work backwards. So you start at the end. And you want to start visualising exactly what you want to achieve.

Trang Nguyen  12:01
Most triathletes go into a race with a certain goal, right? Like they have a certain outcome that they want to achieve. And maybe there's a backup goal as well. But visualise the ideal scenario. Make that so real, that the brain gets confident that that's what's going to happen. The brain gets confident that, you know, that person is capable and ready to hit that mark. So start at the end, five minutes after successful completion of the race.

Trang Nguyen  12:28
What do you see? You know, what are you hearing? There's a lot of noises at the finish line of a race. What are you hearing? Right? What are you smelling? What do you taste? What do you feel? So five minutes afterwards, see that, then go backwards, five minutes before successful completion. So five minutes before you hit the finish line, what's happening? What do you see? What are you hearing? All of that. Then keep working backwards - three-quarters of the way through the race, halfway through the race, a quarter of the way through the race, at the start of the race.

Trang Nguyen  13:00
And now what's happened is you've worked all the way backwards, and you'd know inside out how every moment of that race is going to go. Because it's the uncertainty that challenges people, right. So that uncertainty that is a bit scary. So when you can create/recreate that whole race in your head - that increases your confidence. Then run through the whole race, three times. Three is the magic number always. Do it once. Okay, not bad. But do it three times and now you've tricked your brain into thinking it's already done. So you really increase your confidence that way.

Taryn Richardson  13:33
That's perfect, Trang. I love the analogy and just the practice of working from the end forwards. Like, we're kind of going backwards. And I just also want to highlight for people listening that this is not for just people that want to come first, you know, or win Kona. You can do this if you just want to have a good race and not vomit on the run or not have bleeding blisters on your feet. Like to have a successful race for people can be very, very different from you to your training buddy. Like, you winning might be your visualisation but for somebody else, it might just be turning up to the start line, having a great time, not vomiting, not spending 30 minutes on the portaloo and getting to the finish line in one piece! Success for everyone is very different. And visualising all of those different components that you want to achieve from your event is going to help you get there.

Trang Nguyen  14:27
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, these visualisations will all come down to exactly what you want to achieve and the experience you want to have. That's what you want to see. And that's what you want to create on race day. So whether you want to win, whether you want to have a beautiful day out, have a fun day out and it gets to the finish line and sees your husband or your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your kids, you know they're cheering for you, whatever it is - see that. And no matter what, like you're going to feel so much more excited for the day. You're gonna feel so much better about the day because I think a common problem is, even if triathletes don't feel nervous, sometimes something's going on internally, and they can't sleep and they have a bad night's sleep or something's going on. So this will help to reduce that. And to shift your state to the other way.

Taryn Richardson  15:15
Perfect. Well, that's really a nice segue into then what people can do the night before. Like, if they haven't been nervous in race week, and it gets to the night before and, you know, it hits them like a truck that they're doing, the biggest race they've ever done in their life the next day, or something that's really, really important for, say, a World's Qualifier or something like that - have you got any tips or strategies for somebody that they could do, maybe right before they go to bed, when they're quiet by themselves, to make sure that they go to bed and can start thinking about and prepping for race day the next day?

Trang Nguyen  15:49
I think this one is going to come down to the type of person because I think different people respond differently. So for example, I like to actually stay in the zone. So the night before a race or the night before my intensives I'll stay in the zone by not going on social media, by doing the visualisation doing a long one, it could be 20-30 minutes even. Even like watching old races and getting myself pumped up that way. And I think that can work really well for some people - getting in the zone, getting them really focused on what's to come tomorrow morning.

Trang Nguyen  16:25
But on the other hand, that can sometimes be off-putting for some people like that can really draw out the process and draw out the feeling of "Oh my gosh, this is coming up tomorrow! This is coming up tomorrow!" And that can actually cause people to get fatigued almost - get over it, by the time the next morning comes around. They're, like, so fatigued, because they've been focusing on this thing for like the last 12 hours.

Trang Nguyen  16:50
So for someone else, it actually might be better to do the visualisation and things like that to be intentional about the race. But then just forget about it completely. It's like, you know, learn and forget or set and forget. Maybe just watch a movie about something funny, like watch a romantic comedy, or watch a comedy movie, watch something that's completely unrelated - to actually distract yourself in a way and to live your life normally. Then go to bed early so that you can then show up for the race the next day.

Taryn Richardson  17:23
Yeah. Transporting yourself to a whole different reality almost?

Trang Nguyen  17:26
Yeah. So I think that could be a good way for some people. But ultimately, the main perspective that can also help is remembering that the best that you can do on race day is the best that you can do. And I think that's the same that can really resonate with some people. Because ultimately, if you didn't get a race result that you had, ideally wanted, or you had initially visualised, but you still did the best that you could with whatever resources that you had on race day, then what more can you ask for?

Trang Nguyen  17:59
That you can't actually ask for anything more than that. If you got a flat tire, and you did everything that you could, but that meant that you lost five minutes - well, that's what's going to happen. You did the best that you could. But then learn from it for next time. Take away the learnings. Ask yourself, "What could I have done better for next time?" and then take that forwards. Because sometimes, yes, it can be a big race that you've been building up to for a long time. It can be something that you have been building up to a PB for a long time, but the majority of the time, it's not going to be your last race, right? The majority of the time, there's going to be another opportunity afterwards. And you do want to give it your all on that day, but it's not the final one. This is 1.0 or it might be 2.0. But there'll be 3.0. There'll be 4.0. And there'll be, like, multiple opportunities to continue to further and progress yourself later on.

Taryn Richardson  18:51
That's perfect advice, Trang. Because there will always be another race. There's never not going to be another race.

Trang Nguyen  18:57
Exactly. And, even, it feels like you really wanted this to be a last race so that you can retire, the worst-case scenario, if it doesn't go how you want it to, there is always going to be another race. Maybe not over the last two years, though, when we had like every race cancellation under the sun, but hopefully from now onwards it should be all good.

Taryn Richardson  19:14
That's been brutal for people's race preparation and mindset for sure.

Trang Nguyen  19:18
Oh, yeah, that goes down a whole other rabbit hole!

Taryn Richardson  19:21
Which we don't have time for today.

Taryn Richardson  19:25
Okay, so moving a bit closer to race start now. We've done some good mindset work and visualisation heading into the event and somebody might be feeling super confident that they're ready to go. What can somebody do if they've woken up on race day and the nerves have kicked in? Like, they're feeling super anxious? They're not hungry. They're struggling to get their pre-race breakfast down. They're going to the toilet and the Portaloo multiple times. What can someone do to stay, like, really zen and really focused to keep their race preparation and race mindset ready to go?

Trang Nguyen  20:02
It comes down to the person. Similar to what you can do the night before. You might find that you're better off distracting yourself. So going to the race tent, talking to other people, having a laugh, having jokes, even taking photos, things like. That can actually help you because often to check in your bike, depending on what race you're doing, you might need to be there, one and a half, two, maybe even two and a half, three hours before the race starts.

Trang Nguyen  20:31
So for some people, it might not be a good idea to sit around, like, twiddling their thumbs for three hours before the race actually starts. You might actually be better off having a good time when you're there and distracting yourself in a way. But that doesn't mean that you're going to distract yourself from the race. And I actually prefer this approach myself. Like I'm... I like to actually be a relaxed person before the race starts. Because what happens is, as soon as you then get on to the start line, then you can switch your mind around, and then you can go into the zone for the race.

Trang Nguyen  21:04
But for the three hours before the start, if it's not helping that you're, you know, thinking about what's the worst thing that could happen or, or thinking about the race, then maybe it's better for you to go and join other people. That's one option. And then the other one is, some people do better when they don't have distractions, and they stay in the zone. So putting in your earphones, maybe not going to the race tent of your club, and actually doing your warm-up by yourself. Doing some visualisations.

Trang Nguyen  21:32
Depending on what type of music gets you pumped up - whether you listen to really hyped up music or you listen to more rhythmic music so that you slow everything down and you get into a state of more calm and Zen. Pep talking yourself as well. Like, you know, talking yourself up and being, like, "You got this, yeah!" For anyone who's listening Taryn's like, you know, giving yourself a little smack on the face, telling yourself "Yeah, I got this, like, I know, I can actually smash this. I know that I am fast". I know that I can get ...even maybe looking at your competitors and using them being like, "Alright, I'm going to aim to chase them down in the race" and me, like, I'm gonna use them and make myself go faster. Putting yourself up on a pedestal a little bit. I think that can really change your state as well.

Taryn Richardson  22:20
Okay, some great advice there - two different ways that you could prep on race day morning. Either, you know, go away and do your own thing, or distract yourself completely and stay in that zen zone with something completely unrelated to triathlon.

Trang Nguyen  22:34
Yeah. And you'll see professional athletes do that as well, like whether it's in triathlon or other sports, they all have their own way of getting in the zone. So you've got to find what works for you. So try one strategy, one race - if it works perfectly. And if it doesn't work, then try another and see what actually sticks for you.

Taryn Richardson  22:55
Okay, that's great advice, Trang. Thank you so much. So finally, what can we do during a race when it's starting to hurt? Like maybe you're starting to fall into that dark place in the run in an Ironman and you're starting to question why you did this stupid sport in the first place? What can somebody do when their mind is starting to sway during a race?

Trang Nguyen  23:17
This is a big one because I'm sure most triathletes have felt this at some point, whether it is an Ironman, or even a sprint triathlon when everything in your body is just screaming at you to stop. I mean, that happens in an Ironman as well. But like you're a different type of pain, isn't it? As a physiotherapist as well, and understanding how the pain messages actually go to your brain, I can tell you, the pain that you're feeling is just your imagination. So telling yourself that if I ignore this pain and focus my attention somewhere else, then I will feel it less.

Trang Nguyen  23:53
And I think that's actually a really good way to stay in a zone where you're not focused on the pain itself, because whatever you focus on will expand. So if you're spending the last 30 minutes of your race, just telling yourself how much pain you're in, how much everything hurts, how much you feel like you're going to injure yourself if you keep going. If you really focus on all that, that's only going to expand and fill up your mind even more. But as soon as you start like focusing on the trees, or the beach, depending on where you are, or other competitors, and just noticing what they're wearing or whatever, whatever you want to think about.

Trang Nguyen  24:31
If you want to think about the meal you're going to have after the race that will then expand and that's what will get you through the last, you know, 30 minutes or one hour or whatever it is. So I think that is the first part - just be, like, "Alright, I'm just imagining this", you know, and whatever you tell yourself, you'll believe at the time because you're not really in a position to be thinking deeply about things anyway generally. So just tell yourself that and convince yourself that, right?

Taryn Richardson  24:56
I like to teach people how to be independent with their race nutrition, in a way. Like, I set them up with understanding structure about why we're doing exactly what we're doing, and how to then troubleshoot out on the course. And that gives them something to think about. Like if they've got to count how much carbohydrate they've had or how much they need or start doing maths in their head that can distract them for quite a while. So I'm glad that there's some science behind that strategy. For me, it was just helping them to, you know, think of something different, but I'm glad to hear that that's actually legit.

Trang Nguyen  25:26
Yeah, that actually works, right? Like you're counting in your head. And before you know it, you've actually run another 500m which is perfect. Something that I actually used to do as well, that got taught to me by my coach was compartmentalising your thoughts. So instead of thinking, I've still got another 5kms to go or I've got another 3kms to go, break it down to, "Okay, just get to the next kilometre, just finish this kilometre. That's all I need to think about". And then when you do get to that next level, I'm gonna be like, "Alright, I've just got one the next kilometre to think about" and then so on, or even breaking it down with physical visual markers.

Trang Nguyen  26:03
So alright, just run as fast as you can to that next tree. Just run as fast as you can to that next pole. Chase down that competitor in front of me. And then as soon as you get to that pole, or that tree or that competitor, then pick on your next target.  And then breaking it down - so staying really present in the moment, rather than thinking I've still got X number of kilometres to go. Because that in itself can be a bit disempowering as well - if everything's hurting a lot at the time.

Taryn Richardson  26:29
It's good how in triathlons, aid stations are set up every 2km. So I know a lot of people have a "get to the next aid station" strategy because it is only 2km away.

Trang Nguyen  26:40
Yes, that's a good one. I don't know if anyone's done this before, but almost tricking yourself being, like, "Alright, when I get to the aid station, I can stop for a minute to drink water". But then when you get to the aid station, you're like "Nup, I'm gonna keep going!" Drinking (and do all the coughing and spluttering stuff) as ‘drinking while running’ tends to turn out. So it's like in movies when you've got the angel and the devil right?

Trang Nguyen  27:02
One angel on one shoulder, the devil on the other shoulder. It's like who do you want to listen to? Do you want to listen to the voice in your head that's like, "This is so painful, I can't do this". Or do you want to listen to the other voice that's like, "Get to the next kilometre as fast as you can. Get to the next aid station as fast as you can. And then you will deal with the next section next." But empowering yourself because that can really change your state and that can then, as a result, change your performance.

Taryn Richardson  27:28
100%! That's perfect. One of the things I do with people with nutrition is I plan their favourite product at a death hole for them - like when they get to like 18kms, and that's where they fall down. I've planned, like, one of their favourite things there - whether it's Coke or a certain flavour of gel or whatever it is so that they know they have to get to that point to get that reward even.

Trang Nguyen  27:51
That's a good one, using food as a reward.

Taryn Richardson  27:54
But only in racing, not in life

Trang Nguyen  27:57
Something else is like in 30 minutes or in 60 minutes, however long you have left, I'll get to sit down on the ground and just stuff my face with a banana or with a pizza. Whatever food you have a plan for after the race. But telling yourself it's only this amount of time left and then after the race, even tomorrow, I'll be in the offseason, I'll get to sit on the couch and watch TV.

Trang Nguyen  28:20
This is going to be over soon. So just push it for now. Just keep going. Work now or regret it later. And for triathletes who may be really driven by not being in a position where they are feeling regret - like I know that's an emotion that is quite painful in some ways. In some, that can be motivating-  to avoid at all costs being, like, "Alright, work hard now or regret it later". And every time I tell myself that I push that little bit harder.

Taryn Richardson  28:46
Yeah, that's excellent advice too. So many good nuggets here Trang. Thank you so much for sharing those with us. I'm really grateful for your time.

Trang Nguyen  28:54
Yeah. All good, Taryn.

Taryn Richardson  28:56
I have one bonus question for you. If you could go for a long ride with anyone who would it be?

Trang Nguyen  29:01
That is a good question. I would actually love to go for a ride with my tri coach - which sounds funny because we haven't actually done any long rides together! We've done parts of rides together. But each of those times, he's just been yelling at me to like, push harder. So I actually would just love to go for a long ride where we can chat and chill out. I think that's what I'd actually like to do.

Taryn Richardson  29:24
Okay, cool. Who's your coach?

Trang Nguyen  29:25
Ryan Twist down in Melbourne. He's a podiatrist as well. So I haven't done any racing for just over a year now. But yeah, he was coaching me for the whole of my tri training and racing.

Taryn Richardson  29:37
There you go - small world, triathlon.

Trang Nguyen  29:39
Yeah. Do you know Ryan?

Taryn Richardson  29:39
I've heard of him, yeah. I don't know him personally. If you were like, "Hey, have you heard of Taryn?" He might be like, "I dunno, uhh??"

Trang Nguyen  29:44
I'm sure he would know.

Taryn Richardson  29:45
Well, thank you so much, Trang. Everyone can walk away with a few gold nuggets that they can start to implement for their next racing and even practicing some of that stuff in training too. So you can kind of get a sense for what you're aiming to achieve or just get your head around visualisations. I know that for some people it's a bit woohoo. And they're like, "Nah, I don't need that I'm all good". Like, I've got one client in mind right now who, like, as soon as I say something, or as soon as he listens to this, he's just gonna be like, "Nah, I'm good". But it does work.

Taryn Richardson  30:16
And it's not something for only race preparation side of things too. Like, you can do it in anything in life, right? Like preparing for a big meeting, a presentation or anything to get your head in the game. My favourite pump up for things like this is to put on some tunes and do a dance. But it's taking what you want out of what Trang's given you today and starting to implement a couple of little things and see if you notice the benefit in your training and racing.

Trang Nguyen  30:42
Yeah, I think that's a really good point, Taryn. Like, we've spoken about quite a bit today. And the thing is, if someone listens to this, and they get really inspired, and they want to implement all the things, then they're going to be more likely to implement none of it because it can get overwhelming - if you try and do too many things at the same time. I actually often say chase 10 rabbits, and you'll catch none of them. But if you chase one rabbit, then you'll actually catch it. So just choose one thing out of what we've spoken about today and actually put that in action and see how it goes.

Taryn Richardson  31:12
Well, thank you so much, Trang. That's all really excellent advice. Where can people find you if they want to know more?

Trang Nguyen  31:19
So the best place to find me would be Instagram. That's where I'm quite active. So my Instagram handle is at @trangcessnguyen and with the spelling of that, I'm sure Taryn will put those details somewhere.

Taryn Richardson  31:31
I'll link in the show notes.

Trang Nguyen  31:32
Or even, you know, my website www.alignedperformance.com.au.

Taryn Richardson  31:36
And they can listen to you on your own podcast too, The Aligned Performance Podcast if they do want to dive deeper into mindset.

Trang Nguyen  31:42
Yes, if you actually listen in then you will find that Taryn will be on the podcast soon as well.

Taryn Richardson  31:47
Yeah, shameless plug. Alright. Well, thank you so much for your time today Trang, and I look forward to talking to you on your podcast soon.

Trang Nguyen  31:54
All right. Thanks, Taryn. Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed talking about this.


Taryn Richardson  32:01
Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned. Email me at [email protected]. You could also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media at @dietitian.approved so I can give you a shout out too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smash it in the fourth leg - nutrition!

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