Sunday, 8 May 2011

Lessons truly learnt.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to start with a gripe but will finish on a positive note. Sometimes certain things just have to be said. Last week we were massively over-subscribed for the swim. Even our club captain and club chairman missed out! Five people on the list did not show up. If you are ill or injured you have a legitimate excuse. If you felt like a sleep in, couldn't be bothered or didn't like the look of the weather you don't! It's not fair on your club mates and as a coach it is disappointing. Enough said.

Wow, what a difference a fortnight can make. This weekend at the Kingfisher Aquathlon (our third London League event) the LFTC crew turned up knowing more about the course than the coach! It's amazing what a little stirring via the blog can do. It was a simple twelve lap swim and four lap circular run course though with very helpful marshalls and plenty of route markers so much less tricky than last time.

Everyone put in great performances. Amanda did go cross-country again but thankfully this time it was part of the run route. In fact she ran herself into 10th female overall. There were no warnings for throwing rubbish at officials either! The event suited 'G.I.' Joe Dale with a relatively long run. He moved from 89th after the swim into 7th overall and had the 2nd fastest run of the day. Rob Boulding was very impressive even with only a few hours sleep after wedding celebrations the night before (Rob is still single by the way as it wasn't his wedding!). Tim Smith and Seb Balcombe were locked in a tight battle. Seb made his move on the 3rd run lap and won by a little over a minute. The only extra effort Seb put in this time was that required to beat Tim who had been trying to psyche him out over the previous 24 hours. Paul Thompson, Sam Hart, Alex Cooper, Colin Streater, Russell Webley and Nathan Dytor also had superb races.

Pre-race anxiety is common and can really affect your performance on race day. People often panic in the swim. I have certainly been in this situation in the past. Having been involved in sport in some capacity for a number of years I am convinced mental skills training is vital to overcoming such anxiety. Visualisation and mental rehearsal are both techniques worth trying. Visualisation involves imagining yourself performing the way you want to, cool calm and in control, from the start of the swim to the end. A good time to do this is just before going to sleep when you are hopefully in a relaxed state already. Mentally rehearsing what you will do should anxiety get the better of you on the day is also useful. For example, you might stop at the end of the pool, take three relaxed breaths and say to yourself 'cool calm and in control' or similar and then set off again. Rehearsing this in your head will make it easier should you have do it on race day. Practice the two skills separately.

This weekend is our threshold swim. Dig out your CSS results as we will be using these. If you have not done our CSS tests before have a look here to find out how and why and see if you can get it done before Saturday. We'll also be using fins for our drill set so bring those too. We will continue to work on building 5km run speed as we head towards the Blenheim Triathlon.

See you Saturday, Tim (LFTC Coach).