So you're looking to participate in a triathlon? Get set because you're in for an adventure. Participating in a triathlon means much more than running, swimming and cycling. A lot of information is already out there concerning the physical aspect of the race, and although the physical aspect is important most people seem to neglect the mental side of things when it comes to preparation. To be a successful athlete you'll need to become accustomed to the mental side of things and train accordingly. Years ago athletes would place much emphasis on the need or aspect of the correct mentality going forward into a race. But turn on the Olympics and observe how athletes prepare for races nowadays. Before the race they are visualizing, visualizing a win. They're determination and focus is evident from the beginning of the race right up until the start.

This is what you'll need to get good at, preparing mentally for the challenge. And preparing mentally doesn't just mean you imagine you win the race. You have to internally get a sense of what a successful race will feel, and sound like. What will the experience be to you – winning the race? As you visualize this outcome, the closer and closer you'll get to instruct the subconscious towards a winning result. Visualization is the key to changing the neurons in the brain to be wired for success.

Before you run a triathlon for the first time in your training, get accustomed to what it actually feels like. Then the next step is visualizing each part of the process for a better result. Then move onto visualizing in the areas that you would like to improve and experience them internally as if they already exist. In this way you'll instruct your subconscious to fire off the necessary changes to make that internal reality an external reality. This is the first step in getting good – in the same way that a sick patient will help themselves get better by visualizing the outcome of being better as many studies have shown.

Athletes nowadays place much more emphasis on the mental mindset in a race nearly as much as the physical aspect. They know their first step in improvement in ironman triathlon training is to first visualize it – then it becomes a reality through sheer force of will aided by the subconscious. This rule can be applied to anything in life, including skills, learning languages, driving a car or being better in skill. Visualize first, experience the reality second.