Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pre-Race Jitters (nerves, anxiety, etc.)

Guess what, it is normal to be nervous before a Triathlon, Marathon, 5K, etc. It does not matter at what level your fitness is, it is human nature, so just breathe and try to relax.

Easier said than done, right? Everyone has their own way to calm down, but there are some things that can go a long way to help the week before your race/event.
  1. Remember all the work you have put into training, and be ok with your current level of fitness. Maintain as clean a diet and good hydration as possible, up to your race/event. I would also suggest sticking with foods you are familiar with, and not try that new protein bar, etc. in the event it doesn’t like you so much.
  2. Make a list of what items you need with you, pre-pack your bag, ready your water/electrolytes/snacks you will need during the race. For me music is key on the later legs of the Tri, so making sure you have a proper play list to keep you pushing through the harder bits really helps me, and it is fun to review your favorite songs (and sing) when stressed, maybe even get up and dance about the kitchen a bit to let go of some of the anxiety/nerves building up.
  3. Remember you can tweak the activities in the event. If you find a portion of the event is causing you pain or concern, you can tweak it. Ex. if you started your swim too fast and got winded (it happens to a lot of people), turn over on your back and either back stroke or do a stroke called the penguin – where you reach above your head and scoop the water down towards your sides with both hands; or if a knee starts to hurt on the run/walk, maybe swap out to the elliptical, which can be less painful to an injured knee. Just know the race is not set in stone, especially the Lipedema Triathlon, which is all about inclusivity – we want as many people as possible to try to do whatever they are comfortable with – it is a community race, no stress, everyone there is thrilled you are there, or online supporting them. A way to assist in calming the nerves of the what ifs, is to come up with some alternative things you can do should you need to adjust your movements.
  4. Take a walk, get a massage, play in the pool, do things that help calm you down. Even take a nap (or two or three). Sleep is good when nerves are flaring up. Especially the night before, get a good night’s sleep. Instead of running through the race events in your mind while you can’t fall asleep, think about all the workouts, training, and activities you have been doing to get your body ready for the event. Swinging sledge hammers, flipping tires, taking walks, swimming, etc. Break down each thing you have done, and how it made you feel strong, happy, exhausted, etc. Before you know it going through all those sessions will be just like counting sheep and hopefully you drift off to sleep. But if you cannot fall asleep, try not to stress about it, listen to some music and envision yourself finishing each leg of the Tri. 
  5. On the morning of the event, try to stay positive, remember you are badass just for signing up for the race! Have fun, swimming is fun, riding a bike is fun, and running/walking can be fun (did you catch my least favorite there LOL) – but in all honesty, after being nearly immobile five years ago, I find each part is a huge thrill – for my body to be able to do what I’m about to ask of it, is the biggest reward. I remind myself five years ago I couldn’t have swum, biked, or walked these distances. I literally thank my Lipedema legs for all they are letting me experience.

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