Improving awareness improves the attention of your mind saving you time and effort during a race. The busy mind causes you to be in a hurry and rushing around in a panic will cost you when you are not focused on the immediate task at hand.
While watching a recent triathlon I witnessed the attitudes and actions present at the bike dismount zone marker. The actions ranged from those cruising to the line with a gradual rolling stop to some bikers showing the gymnastics necessary when coming to a near-fall immediate stop. Think about it…what would be the benefit of a few seconds compared to the possibility of injury for the remainder of the race?
During my time viewing the riders there was a particularly obvious event of a biker that revealed the actions of an occupied mind. The biker came flying into the zone full speed, near-skid the brakes while hopping out of the shoes both feet at the same time. Being off-balance forced the hands to stay on the handlebars resulting in the bike doing a rear-wheel hop into the air. All of this happened in an instant and the unfortunate result was his shin hitting the spinning pedal causing him to skip a step and utter a gasp of pain. He was basically out of control.
Technically this could have been avoided with a different approach to the dismount, however that is something to be discovered in training. The significant aspect of his unfortunate accident was the self-deprecating voice muttered loud enough for many of us to hear. It was clear that there was an injury which is a good reason to not be thinking about anything beyond the dismount during the bike transition. As mentioned in previous posts, and guaranteed to be included in future posts, is that your thinking and attitude can affect your performance for the remainder of the race. When we consider our actions as doing something wrong we are in self-judgement, and when we critically think that we ‘should have done it differently’ we are creating a needless stress on our body and mind.
Periods of fear and anxiety prompts the need in the muscles for more oxygen and glucose to be carried in the blood. The heart must pump faster and blood pressure must increase for your body to produce the increased demand for energy. You can research the physiology details to learn more about this arena at any time however being aware of the conversation in the mind happens in the moment and if that is not recognized the entire race can be affected. You cannot afford to waste any fuel, it is not the time to be a gas guzzler.
The question is, for how long did his stressful self-judgement persist through the transition area and on the run? How was his performance affected and how much time was lost? When you rush through tasks or activities without the requisite care, it will likely cost you more time, attention and even confidence later on.
The question is, what conversations are you having during your race that are slowing you down?