I’d like to describe to you an exercise you may want to use alone of with some fellow triathletes that helps them let go of fears, doubts and anxiety before competition. It’s a great exercise to do to relieve nerves the night before your triathlon.
- Write down their fears, doubts and anxious thoughts. Just doing this helps to get them out of the body where they create tension and distractibility. Here are some examples:
- I’m scared about the mass swim start.
- I feel like I’m going to throw up.
- I don’t think I can beat ______.
- My shoulder (or some other body part) is hurting.
- I’m going to swim to win.
- I’m excited.
- I can achieve my goal.
- I’m going to do my race tomorrow.
- Even though I’m scared about the mass swim start, I’m going to swim to win.
- Even though I feel like I’m going to throw up, I’m excited.
- Even though I don’t think I can beat _____, I can achieve my goal.
- Even though my shoulder (or some other body part) is hurting, I’m going to do my race tomorrow.
Try these statements out yourself and notice how you process them. Notice how the negative thoughts in 1. wind up feeling like facts and we get stuck on them. When you place “even though” in front of them, they become more transitory, and it’s much easier to release them and then focus on what we want to do, becoming goal focused. If you’re going to be racing with friends, or in a team event, do this exercise together – having each of you express your particular vulnerability and commitment will help all of you.
Tim Engels, M.A., sports psychology consultant with Mile High Multisport LLC, is a sports psychology consultant and counselor in Denver, CO. You can contact him at (303) 956-5691 or firstname.lastname@example.org and find him at http://www.timspractice.com/.