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u352
May 21st, 2003, 03:34 PM
OK so I ahve talked about training and now with the race looming ahead I don't think there is much more that I can do that shouldn't have already been done.

My question to you guys is what type of mental games do you go through to keep going through a long race.

I asked a friend of mine who is an Iron Man how do I kick that devil off my shoulder becuase I often have that back and forth in my head of excuses to stop. He told me that the angel always wins.

What do you guys do to kick that devils tush.

Fisch
May 21st, 2003, 04:13 PM
You are right about being prepared to exert some degree of
mental toughness in a two+ hour race in cool/cold water .

Some people really thrive mentally on tough physical challenges,
but many others struggle and give up.

For me, after getting half way into a 5 mile/two+hour swim, I began to ask myself "What the Hxxx are you doing out here!!!" Then I saw
my son staring at me in apparent wonderment from an escort canoe, I thought about trying
to explain to people about giving up if I did, I thought about
older guys [and young kids!] beating me, and remembered I was
half way done, I then resolved to finish it no matter what.

So do the visualization thing, be prepared for a little self-doubt,
know it IS going to be a hard but worthwhile task--and go for it!

Leonard Jansen
May 22nd, 2003, 09:10 AM
Generally speaking, people fall into two categories WRT coping mechanisms for endurance events: those who ASSOCIATE with what is going on and those who DISASSOCIATE with what is going on.
Those who associate spend most of the race carefully monitoring their body and all the other variables in the race. Those who disassociate tend to try to escape what is going on by thinking of other things. Both work, although I believe studies tend to show that most top athletes tend to associate rather than disassociate. Much of how you cope will depend on what type you are.
If you associate (like me, but I'm no star swimmer, sadly), try keeping focused on your technique, pacing with someone, your progress, stroke count, etc as opposed to focusing on your fatigue, aches and the like. In other words, focus on the things that will help your progress and not the negative aspects. If you disassociate, try to conjure up heroic images of yourself ("All hail the great conquerer of the bay"), the supermodel who will undoubtedly be so overwhelmed by your athletic prowess that (s)he will immediately fall into your arms when (s)he sees you in your finisher's t-shirt at the supermarket - you get the idea. Stay away from shark images, Godzilla movies scenes where Godzilla rises up from the bay to destroy Annapolis, etc. Again, accentuate the positive and stay away from the negative.
Most people do mix the two a bit, so be prepared to have plan B when you switch from one mode to the next. Just keep saying "technique/supermodel, technique/supermodel..." and seize on whichever of the two works at the moment and the race will pass in no time.
Before the race, take in the expanse of that beautiful bay and the fact that you are blessed enough to have the health, athletic ability, drive and support to be able to participate in something so utterly beyond the scope of most people's experience.

You WILL make it.

-LBJ