My biggest challenge in not physical, it’s psychological. When the mind is full of fear and doubts, the body will follow too



I am getting ready to go Port Dickson to attend tomorrow’s triathlon clinic. Though I am sure there will be many things I can learn from the seasoned triathletes and coaches there, my primary purpose is to get over my doubts about swimming in the open water.

Though my technique has improved there is still a lot that I have to work on. Will I be able to work out all my technical issues before the actual triathlon in July, I don’t know. I will throw in all my efforts and energy into it. One thing for sure, there will be always be something to work on, no matter how proficient my swimming is (and that applies to running and cycling), so I shouldn’t aim to perfect my technique. Come race day, it will become a psychological challenge rather than a physical one.

When I first swam in the pool at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil I suffered a mild panic attack. The pool at The Club where I spent most of my time learning how to swim is about 1.5m deep end to end. The pool at the National Aquatic Centre goes down to about 3m deep at one end. I remember doing my first lap of my first session and getting very stressed out when I reached the deep end. I began to lose my form and my strokes became wild. It took me a long time to settle down and I am not sure whether I have fully settled down. I know there is no need to modify my swim stroke but my body refuses to listen. The survival instincts kicks in and takes over completely. I have to train my mind to be stronger than that.

My mind is playing a lot of tricks on me lately, coming out with danger scenarios; jellyfish, cramps, drowning and I am slowly succumbing to it. There are moment when I would think of just giving up on the triathlon and just focussing on running.

So tomorrow is going to be important day for me. Tonight I must address all these inner voices so that I can focus and concentrate on what I need to do in the water tomorow.

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