Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tri-Talk Tuesday Link Up: Pre-Race Jitters

Today I'm joining in the fun with Courtney, Cynthia and Miranda and their Tri-Talk Tuesday link up.  Today's theme is Pre-Race Jitters.  How do you deal with them?  I find for most of my running races, I don't really get the jitters.  I'm never really nervous.  I'm more excited than anything.  With triathlon however, that's a whole other ball of wax.  There is something about triathlon that kick starts the butterflies into overdrive and I know exactly what it is:  it's the swim.  It turns my normal pre-race jitters into almost a full blown freakout

So how do I deal with this? 


1.  Visualization & Course Recon.   Before my "A" races, I usually try to spend some time visualizing myself out on the course.  Obviously it's helpful if it's a race I've done before but if it isn't (i.e. Luxembourg) I will at least do an online course recon so I know what I'm dealing with before I get there.  And then when I actually arrive, I will drive the course.  In the days leading up to the race, I will ride sections of the course and I will definitely swim. Thanks to the interwebz, I've become very familiar with what the Mosell River looks like online.  Now all I need to know is what the water is actually like.  Thankfully I will have 5 days to get used to it.  This past week I've been trying to picture myself swimming the loop of the course and coming out of the water with a big smile on my face.

2.  Train your Brain:  Training for any sort of endurance event isn't just about the physical aspect.  There is a mental aspect to it as well.  Distance events are going to wear you down mentally and physically.  If you're out there long enough, things are going to get tough, period.  You have to be ready to talk yourself out of the black hole and figure out what keeps you going.   I'm thankful that I'm stubborn as that seems to be what keeps me going when things get tough. 

Race Day:

3.  Set Up My Transition Area:   This is something I do almost immediately upon getting into transition.  It helps me get my "race face" on.  Once I have everything laid out, I feel settled and can get on with my morning

4Talking.  I can be pretty chatty at the best of times.  When I get nervous, look out.  I will talk your ear off.  I will strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone in transition.  It actually helps me to relax.  Weird right?

5.  Warm up.  I am big on the warm ups.  Being an older athlete it's become a necessity for me.  I will take my bike out for a spin, make sure everything is in working order.  I'll do a short run and then lastly, I wriggle into my wetsuit and get out into the water and swim.  I usually try to warm up for at least 10 minutes in the water. 

How do you deal with the pre-race jitters?


Unknown said...

Transition set up, yes! Once all my stuff is set exactly how I like it there's always a feeling of relief.

Ririnette said...

This is such a great post!! Thankfully I don't have water anxiety, unless it's a lake with grass and other yucky characteristics. I found this guide by Paul Newsome to be a must read for anyone wanting to overcome anxiety: http://swimsmooth.com/pauls_images/British%20Tri%20Swim%20Smooth.pdf

I am with you on running vs triathlon pre-race jitters and I think it's normal. There are so many more unknowns and things that can go wrong in a triathlon than a running race. In running it's all about how your body performs, but in triathlon, for example, I have been having nightmares about technical issues before every single race. No kidding, it doesn't get better.

I am trying to improve my technical knowledge so I can be better prepared, but I feel that on the moment I'd probably forget everything!

Socializing is definitely a way for me to relax. I am not much of a meditative person who goes and zones out. For me, it's all about keeping my brain busy.

I'm sure you'll overcome most of your fears the more time you spend in open water. Trust your wetsuit and your strength - those most likely will never let you down. You can do this!