Panic Free Triathlon Open Water Swimming Technique

– The next way to be ready for open water. (jazz music) Morning trainiacs. Today we’re talking about and getting over our open water swimming fears. You know why? It’s because Jacque and Pat
and I are about to go swimming in the Red River for a test swim. All these years later I’m
still a little bit afraid, not necessarily of open water,
I’m afraid of that open water. But you know what, it ain’t just me. The entire city is afraid
of that open water. The closer we get to the swim
and the more people that find out about it, the more
people become afraid for me. I think they’re afraid for themselves. I don’t blame them. Let’s do that swim, we’ll
talk about how I approached this swim and how I approached
open water back in the day. Help you, help me, help you. – We’re here, we’re gonna
go swim around this bend. This peninsula’s a U-bend. We’re gonna hop out here. Someone just run back at the (mumbles). (jazz music) – All that rebar sticking
out is pretty comforting. (jazz music) Oh there’s some hard spots here. – Well we don’t have a
choice, we’re doing this now. (jazz music) – We’re averaging 5K an hour there. – Let’s get some heat.
– Get some hot, hot heat. – Are we goin’ for breakfast? Well that calmed the nerves very nicely. Right up until about the
fourth stroke in the water I was scared, ooh-hoo-hoo. Now I feel a lot better about what’s about to happen next week. Open water swimming fears. – Sunday food dump (mumbles). – I think I’ve got six,
seven tips for overcoming your fear of open water,
and you’re dealing with a certified professional
of fear in open water. The kid that thought that Jaws
was in the pool chasing him, that was me, yeah. And like right up until I was
an adult and started getting into triathlon, even being
in the pool scared me. This morning while I was getting
ready to go into the river I was scared, so I think that
it’s just completely natural to be afraid of open water. It’s a foreign world. We don’t live in the water. We’re horizontal, we’re not vertical, There are all kinds of reasons
to be afraid of the water. But there’s also a lot of good methods to overcome those fears. Number one, relax, literally. You need to relax your body
because you’re not gonna be able to overcome the
physical force of the water. Even just a little bit
of water is more powerful than anyone’s body. So when we go out into open
water and rivers and lakes and oceans, the waves are gonna
knock us around, and if you try to fight those waves you’re
gonna be skyrocketing your heart rate, your adrenaline
is gonna start pumping, your heart’s gonna start like
this, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,
oh my god, oh my god. All the people around you are
gonna start splashing around and you are going to maybe
go as far as having a panic attack in the water. So when you enter the water,
go in with the mindset of letting the motion of the
ocean do the work for you. Just go with it by relaxing
your body and even though it’s gonna throw off your
swim stroke a little bit, your better off to be loose and relaxed. Kinda work with the motion of the water instead of fighting it,
much better off for it. That’s tip number one. Tip number two, this
gets a little bit further into the woo-woo side of
things, not eating those. You don’t have to learn how to meditate and do it every single day. I certainly find it
helpful in life in general, but if you just kinda study a
little bit of the philosophy of meditation, that it’s all
about getting out of your own head and breaking out of
those cycles of self-talk and self-chatter, and learning
how to snap your mind out of that cycle of anxiety, fear,
stress, self-doubt, anger, anything like that that gets
you going in your head when you get in the water and
you worry, oh my god, there’s people around. What’s in the water, how
fast is this gonna be? My heart’s breathing really hard! You’re gonna be a lot better
off because that again, is gonna keep your heart rate
low, it’s gonna keep your body relaxed, and you’re gonna enjoy
swimming a lot more if you can break that habit of being
caught up in your brain. It’s a scary place up
there when you’re Taren. Beet hummus ladies and gentlemen. (mumbles) Triathlon Kim outdid herself. The next way to be ready for open water is to actually practice it
when you get in the pool. There’s a number of drills that
our swim group starts doing in the spring, draft
set where there’s people in front of you, behind you. We’re doing math starts in a lane. Instead of talking about it
there’s just a video that I did. I always get this backwards. Video that I’ll link to up
here that has all of the open water swim preparation
drills that our team does. Just check it out. So now let’s say that you’ve
learned how to mellow yourself out, you’re not anxious, you’ve
done some swim prep drills, and you actually get to the race. If you’re still nervous,
which a lot of people are in their first several races. Probably took me about five or six to get used to having people around. If this is where all the
action is going in the washing machine during the race and
everyone’s lining up getting ready to smash each other and
be the little weekend heroes, go over here or go back here. Let everyone go out and
just race your own race. If you get in that churn and
you freak out and you’ve gotta stop swimming, you’ve gotta
float on your back, that’s gonna take a heck of a lot more time
in the middle of your race than just going off to the
side or waiting until everyone goes and racing your own race. So you might actually go faster by letting everyone else go and
staying out of that churn. Fighting the knowledge today. Now let’s say that you get
to a race and you actually find that there’s a huge amount
of waves that you haven’t prepared for before. Like I said, number one, relax. Number two, one of the tricks
that you can use is to keep your face out of the pssh,
and the slap that comes from being in very rough water. That is what I find actually
makes me more nervous, and if I can stay away
from that pssh in the face everything’s gonna be good. How you can do that is by
actually pushing your face just a little bit deeper in the
water and then turning your body more than you would
typically to catch the breath. So because your face is deeper
in the water you’ve gotta have a bigger turn, but
because your face is deeper in the water, all those waves
are just kinda getting spit out over the top of your
head and they’re not pssh, crashing you in the face. That actually happened
today in the river swim, and it took me a few minutes
to remember, oh yeah, I gotta get a little bit deeper in the
water and not worry about it. Also, try to time your
breaths when you’re at the top of a wave instead of
when you’re going down and a wave is crashing over your face. And then finally the last
thing that’ll help you get comfortable in open water is
to just get in open water. The more that you’re in open water the more comfortable you’re gonna be. It’s gonna become less of
a foreign place to be in. You’re gonna realize that
hey, sharks didn’t get me last time, Loch Ness Monster
didn’t get me last time, it’s probably not gonna get me this time. However I can’t see the
bottom of the Red River and I hear the Kraken might be down there. Gradually, gradually build
up to more and more time, more and more bodies of water
that you’re not familiar with. If you can, do most of your
training in a very familiar setting where you can see the
bottom, you can see the shore. You’re not way out by
yourself in dark water that you can’t see what’s
going on around you. The more familiar, the
better you’re going to be, and the more it’s going to
feel comfortable for ya. I think that’s somewhere around seven. It was a jumbled seven,
but it was seven-ish. Have I ever shown you,
I made this a while ago. A battery dispenser, camera
batteries, microphone batteries, double A’s, triple A’s, SD
cards that we know are nice and clean, have lots of room on them. I was really proud of that when I made it. Alright trainiacs, go out,
swim a lot, get comfortable. You’ll enjoy it a lot. Once you get comfortable in
open water it is one of the most enjoyable experiences that
you can have in triathlon. Just chillin’ out in water,
in nature, open water, and zoning out and getting
that meditative groove going, it’s a good time, it’s a really good time. Alright, later trainiacs.

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