Monday, February 28, 2011

Performance Anxiety

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With tri season fast approaching, I've come to realize something:  I'm incredibly anxious about it.  Actually, let me narrow that down.  I'm anxious about the ocean swim portion.  All the sprint tri's in our area have ocean swims.  I grew up in the ocean, so that by itself isn't a big deal, and I trained in the ocean in anticipation of these races.  It seems to be the combination of everyone else in my wave, the already choppy ocean and the strong tide that have me freaked out.  Last year, I thought it was the swim in general, however, when I did my olympic distance tri in North Carolina, that was a lake swim, and it was fine.  Sure, there was a little chop created by my swim wave, but I was pretty unfazed by it. I'm even looking forward to getting back in the pool this week.

I think about our upcoming local sprint series and get kind of panicky.  I know I got through two of them last year, but they blew me up for the rest of the race.  I spent the swim with an obnoxiously high heart rate and felt like I was struggling the whole time.  By the time I got to shore, I was exhausted.

So I'm trying to figure out how to get past this.  I want to be excited about this season.  I'm excited about getting back on the bike, and I'm excited about having a stronger run base and more confidence in that leg.

But I can't seem to get past my nerves about the swim.


  1. I suggest training at least, once a week in the open water, the only way to get better at OWS is go out and swim in the OW. It gets easier, I promise

  2. Maybe it might help to take a lesson or two? It might give you some confidence about the swim, but if nothing else it will help you be more efficient in the water - saving that precious energy for later.

  3. I'd thinking training in the ocean would be your best bet to try to overcome your fear. Personally, even though I'm doing three tris this summer (at least), they're all lakes. I can't see myself EVER doing a tri with an ocean, just because I have severe ocean anxiety ANYWAY even without the other swimmers. I know my limits, and at least for the near future, that's my limit. But definitely just try to get in the ocean as much as you can. Maybe have E swim ahead of you to chop up the water a bit?

  4. I agree with BDD, try and get some time in the ocean. Plus once you have your first race of the season under your belt, you'll feel much better about things.

  5. Yeah, like BDD, Meg, and Molly said, try to get some open water swimming time before the race if you can. It will help some. You are going to be nervous, but at least if you get more comfortable with open water, it might seem more manageable.

    I think another thing is...I don't know how you feel about this - it depends on what causes the most anxiety. If it is the people around you that is the problem, maybe you just wait like 5 or 10 seconds before you go (if you can?) you will be out of the fray. If you feel yourself freaking out - stop for a second, do a few breaststrokes, get oriented. You totally have this one!