Learning how to control yourself can be key for your performance, why? Let me explain my experience.
When I started to do triathlons, I training a lot by myself, until then it was ok. I did my first race, a 70.3 and I started to meet a lot of people. I joined a team, and started to do group workouts. Training in a group can be very motivating but sometimes pushing extra hard to “beat” your friend at the workout can make more damage than good. I quickly learned that. I had races that I arrived at race day too tired because I was simply racing with my friends and not training smart.
I must say, the longer the race the more control self control you must have. I remember my first great performance on an Ironman. I got out of the swim feeling good, and on the bike I saw a lot of my friends passing me, and at first I thought: “What the hell is wrong with me?”. The first impulse was to go harder, however that day I had a click and I decided to stay in my game. When I hit mile 80 I have already caught 50% of them, they were starting to hit the wall. By mile 18 on the run I had pass 95% of my friends, and the 5% were just in better shape than me at that time.
If you want to perform at your best you must learn self control, not only in training but on race day as well. Learn how to training by yourself as well, that is the only way you get to learn how to push yourself, and you can see exactly where your fitness is. Remember training is training and race is race! Save your performance for the race day!