Two half mile swims, just 2 days apart. Same body of water and relatively the same water conditions.
Swim #1 was away from shore with no music.
Swim #2 was along shore with music.
Swim #1 had no less than 6 panic attacks that lead to stopping and periods of rest.
Swim #2 had no stops and was pretty much panic free.
This tells me that my struggles with swimming (outside of swimming in swells and/in waves – that’s another story) are mental. I can’t calm the voices in my head unless I’m distracted. The voices telling me I can’t do it are too loud. I count my strokes, I try to say the alphabet backwards, I try to see how high I can count in Spanish, I try to list all of my cousins, I name bands that start with the letter A, then the letter B, etc. I have a lot of tricks and nothing helps. Music helps. And so does having a good sight line nearby. But I can’t listen to music during the tri and my site line for it will be a big body of water and not the shore.
So what’s the training plan to toughen me up mentally? I can do swimming drills until I’m blue in the face but if I can’t overcome the mental hurdles I’m facing – my form really won’t matter.
I’ve always said that running a marathon, running an ultra or learning to swim isn’t about physical toughness, it’s about mental toughness. And I’m not mentally tough enough for swimming.
If only the voices in my head weren’t so loud and crazy! And mean, they are mean! They have never once told me anything positive, they are always negative and sometime down right bitchy. Yes, I have bitchy voices in my head. Go figure!
Until next time,