Training and Race Day Stress (part 1)
I have been struggling to find the perfect topic to discuss, but no worries, I have came up with the perfect topic to discuss prior to most races. Do any of you struggle with anxiety or stress during training or a race????? I would like to say I don’t but the reality is, we all stress a bit. And this stress can be related to many factors. I want to pr at my race, I hate swimming in open water, I had a bad crash on the bike and do not have the confidence, I have been battling injuries while training-what will happen on race day…
So how do we handle this stress? Let me highlight a few of the bigger problems so during your training you can work on your stress level to be more confident at the race.
#1 Avoiding burnout from training:
This is a huge problem, but luckily for triathlete’s this is not as big of a problem since you are training for 3 disciplines and hopefully doing some weights and yoga. Best solution to burnout, is to not look at the big picture, but to set daily or weekly goals instead. I have some monster training plans, but refuse to look ahead, one week at a time. I just told a client today who is struggling with some injuries due to overuse, that her body is burning out from the hard training and to take a week off. Yes she grumbled, but she gets it. Even though it may seem like a set back, taking time off will help let the body reset.
Motivation is similar to burnout, but different in that you need to set goals. These goals are the key to staying motivated. When you get off track you need to reassess and adjust accordingly. I oddly enough have more clients that do a large group training than individual training I believe that the large group training is what keeps them motivated. You find those people at similar skill levels and you can push one another. I will let you in on a little trainer secret. When setting race goals, don’t just set a race goal. I always ask clients to write down the race they are training for, a realistic goal, a future/better than normal race day goal, and just had a bad race day goal. When trying to motivate oneself, we need to remind ourselves that not every day is the same. There are a lot of factors in a triathlon from weather, mechanical issues, tough race course, injuries, nutrition problems, etc. So in a nutshell, set goals and throughout your training keep reminding yourself of your goals!
#3 Swim Anxiety:
This is probably the number one issue for triathletes, especially beginner triathletes. It is almost impossible to replicate an open water swim in a pool which for most of us is where we have been training during the long cold winter month. Discussing all the tips and drills for open water swimming and how to use a wetsuit is a totally separate article. If there is one tip I can give, swim a lot. Become confident with your stroke, swim with people in your lane and get used to getting hit, kicked, jabbed, goggles getting knocked off. These are some of the more common issues during the swim portion of a race. Like I said, we cannot mimic a lake when we are in the pool but we can at least get our brains prepared for what is to come. And as soon as it is warm, get in a lake and practice. Lakes can be dark, smelly, spooky, strange things floating, fish nibbling, etc. so by getting into a lake many times prior to a race will help you to be prepared race day. Luckily in Omaha, the Race Omaha series offers open water swim practices which is a great way to get some of the jitters out prior to race day. I cannot promise that the jitters will be gone race day, but we can eliminate some of the guessing ahead of time.
Hopefully by discussing some of the basic things that lead to stress will help you to identify your individual stressors and ways to help deal with them. If you have questions, please let me know. I do not want to call myself an expert by any means, but am experienced as a racer, coach, and race volunteer. I have experienced all of these at some point during my training and race days.
Part 2 (Focus, confidence, race day anxiety)
Posted on April 10, 2014, in Bike, Coaching, motivation, Race Omaha, Races, Run, Stress, Swim, Training and tagged burnout, confidence, focused, mental coach, Motivation, racing, swim anxiety, training. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.