The Mental Aspects of Training for Triathlon Swimming

by Pool Builders on 01-08-2012 in Articles

For beginners at a triathlon, it is important to know that preparing for the swimming portion of triathlon is not the same as training for the running and cycling sections. For one, you need to develop your stamina in the water. Since you would be using different sets of muscles for swimming, you are going to need a different technique in taking in oxygen. You would also need to develop proper free-stroke technique. Lastly, you would also need to prepare yourself mentally, as a significant amount of your energy would unnecessarily be used up if you were in an anxious state of mind.

Let's deal with the mental aspect of the race. Relaxing in the water is not something that you can take for granted. Remember that the swimming part of the triathlon is done on open water in the midst of a crowd. Unlike swimming relays where you have surroundings that are relatively conducive to concentrating, you would probably have to deal with being splashed, bumped, or even dunked prior to the start of the triathlon competition. Believe it or not, the best place for you to achieve a relaxed state of mind is for you to go under the water. None of the parts of the competition would require you to swim under water. However, this is the best place for you to get yourself focused and to block anxiety-provoking thoughts.

As soon as you get into the pool, submerge yourself. Focus and concentrate on what you would be doing for the whole competition. Focus on doing and giving your best, instead of beating the next guy or meeting other people's expectations. You have no control on other people's performance and thoughts-you only have control on your own performance, so concentrate on what you will be doing. Keep dunking and swim under the water with your eyes open. You might even try lying down at the bottom of the pool. Calm down. Relax. Focus.

It is also important to have a proper breathing technique. Exhale by blowing bubbles into the water. When you need to inhale, turn your whole body, breathe in, and go back to blowing bubbles from a prone position. Avoid the common mistake among beginners of holding their breath while under water, and trying to exhale and inhale in one movement. You will end up lifting your head too high and gasping for air. This will ruin your relaxed and focused state of mind. It will also impede on your stroke technique.

It will also lighten your anxiety if you know that you have prepared well for the competition. Training for the swimming portion of the triathlon is not something that you can cram within a two-week training period. Why not use the time you cut back from your running and cycling practice during the winter season for your swimming training? You will have more confidence in yourself if you know you have prepared thoroughly for all the demands of the competition.

Training for triathlon swimming is not just a matter of building up your endurance and improving your technique. Don't neglect the mental aspects of the race. Keeping a positive attitude, together with adequate physical and technical preparation, will lead you to performing at your best during the triathlon.

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