If You Never Tri, You'll Never Know!

Guest Blogger on Fear


“Fearlessness is ignorance, and it’s lack of respect…fear is powerful. You get a lot of energy from fear. Without fear, humans wouldn’t have survived. Maybe I’m the most scared.” ~Laird Hamilton (pioneer big wave surfer)

Laird Hamilton’s fear is real…to fall while riding a 50 foot monster of a wave and subsequently pinned underwater is no small matter, but what about the fear we triathletes face as we toe the line at our 1st…5th…50th race? Is this perceived or actual fear?

Perceived fear: an emotional response to an unfounded and/or unlikely danger
Actual fear: the emotional response to tangible and realistic danger

All fears can progress from perceived to real, so yes they are both worth recognizing. Yet knowing they can happen doesn’t, and shouldn’t, stop us from doing that which we desire so greatly to do. All recognition means is that we must learn to cope.

So what are some basic coping mechanisms for a triathlete?

To start with: TRAIN.
You know the distances of each leg so follow a plan. You can follow an online plan but I’ve found a coach is immensely better. I happen to know the owner of this blog is a good one. A good coach will build you to where you want to be in an efficient and safe manner.

Building from there: LOG YOUR WORKOUTS.
When you get hit with the inevitable pre-race doubt you can go to your log and relax seeing that you’ve put in hours upon hours into training and are indeed ready.

Yeah, stuff happens on the course so we: MENTALLY PREP.
Take time in training to think through what you’ll do if you get your goggles knocked off mid-swim, or puncture a tire 5 miles into the bike, or cramp up on the run. Come race day you’ll have confidence to overcome those pesky little problems you feared might happen. 

Once you’re racing it’s all easy. The training comes together…the body knows what it needs to do…the mind is mentally prepared to handle any scenario. Fear can be a good thing; a boost of adrenaline or enough of an edge to dive in, push hard, and race strong.

The perception of fear never goes away. As Laird Hamilton said, to be fearless is to be ignorant. Real fear, however, can be made more manageable with good preparation.

Keep up the healthy training, and keep conquering your dreams!

~David Endean

David Endean has been racing triathlon for over 10 years. He is an Ironman finisher, 3 x 70.3 Finisher, 3 x Collegiate National Championship, 2011 Qualifier for Sprint World Championship, Former Club President & Coach USCG Academy Triathlon Club