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[Introductory Promo – 00:00:00 – 00:00:18]

Kevin: Welcome to TriSwimCoach. This is Kevin and this is episode number 77. And once again I’m joined by assistant coach Chris Hague. Hey Chris, how’s it going?

Chris: How’s it going, Kev? Happy almost-February.

Kevin: Yeah.  Yeah we’ve made it through this rough month of January. I think the average temperature here in San Diego, the high temperature was probably around 72 degrees.

Chris: Yeah, you know, that’s the polar vortex and global warming right there. 72 degrees not 74 almost a little bit of cloud cover in there too, so I think you’re the most hated area in the nation right now.

Kevin: Yeah. It’s like this pocket of summer in the middle of, like, this massive winter.

Chris: Mmmm.

Kevin: Yeah. How about out there in Phoenix? It is still holding up pretty good weather-wise?

Chris: Absolutely gorgeous. I no longer have to wear a jacket in the mornings. So summer’s on its way, don’t worry.

Kevin: Cool. Yeah. Awesome! So you just got over a little case of pink eye.

Chris: Yes,unfortunately so. And I don’t think one of my student’s gave it to me. I actually think I got it at… I’m thankful to the high school swimmers who most likely where swimming in the pool before I got in and most likely gave it to me like that. Because apparently, pink eye, the bacteria can actually live in the water for a while before the chlorine filters it out. So thank you lovely high school students not only do you lap me in the pool, but you gave me pink eye.

Kevin: Yeah, it’s amazing. I thought chlorine killed just about everything.

Chris: Yeah.

Kevin: But some stuff can survive.

Chris: Especially the amount of chlorine they put in that pool.

Kevin: Yeah. Have you tried the TriSwim product? Speaking of chlorine, have you tried any of the TriSwim products, the anti-chlorine shampoos and stuff?

Chris: Yeah. And actually, because I’m swimming more, my hair started to turn green.

Kevin: Oh yeah.

Chris: And when I really start to swim a lot my hair starts to turn green, it doesn’t really grow and pretty much looks like a dead chia pet on top of my head which isn’t very pleasant.

Kevin: You get a lot of dates with that, I’m sure.

Chris: Yeah exactly. But this shampoo actually makes it like it makes it alive again which is nice.

Kevin: Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I found. I used to use the Ultraswim, and not that that’s a bad product, but it definitely like, it allows your hair to not turn green. But it makes it kind of like still that crispy feeling and it’s not and I don’t think it has the best chemicals in there. But whatever they’re using in TriSwim, you hair feels normal, looks normal and it actually smells good. So that’s like – I don’t know what they do. But it’s pretty amazing.

Chris: There’s this new spray to get rid of the chlorine smell.

Kevin: Yeah.

Chris: The only thing that I found that works is this company, actually based out of DC, and that’s how I discovered them. It’s called Swim spray and you spray it on right as you get into the shower and it eliminates the chlorine smell. And I tested it out on my students and before they would always know a) When I was coming, and b) Whether I’d been swimming that morning, because they could smell the chlorine, which I guess was better than their body odor. But never the less they smell chlorine. And then couple sprays and they could no longer tell with the exception of the goggle eyes, they could no longer tell that I had gone swimming.

Kevin: That’s awesome, yeah.

Chris: And I’m not sure about chemicals in it either but it works.

Kevin: Yeah. We’ve to look into that, to maybe carry it in our store at some point. But you can get the TriSwim shampoo and actually the TriSlide which is the same company, you can get that in our store at, so I’ll put those in the show notes. Yeah, myself, I have been still out of the pool, which is kind of annoying because swimming is like my exercise and so I’ve been kind of fumbling around with running and doing yoga and some other things.  But I’m going to physical therapy on February 10.  I’m going to start doing program and then I’m going to start getting some massages regularly and hopefully get this shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis just knocked out. I was talking to a friend today and I think part of it is just sitting all day, because I sit at my computer a lot and I think that’s, and that’s like my friend was saying sitting is the new smoking, I’ve heard that several times and it’s like I’m starting to believe that. Because I think that just by having that posture and sitting too long, you can cause problems that you’re not even aware of. Because it’s not even back, it’s like It can be your neck or shoulders or whatever else and it affects your leg, it affects everything.

Chris: I believe it.

Kevin: Yeah hopefully, I’ll be back soon. Okay so let’s get started. We wanted to talk about.

Chris: Anxiety in open water and to pretty much anxiety before swimming.

Kevin: Yeah. Some ways to get over this anxiety in swimming, whether it’s open water or pool swimming, whether it’s a race or just a workout. This is an issue that has come up a lot and people are, you know, they want to do a triathlon and they just kind of have this anxiety around water. That’s kind of why I started TriSwimCoach, but it’s also – it’s kind of fundamental to just you being successful in this sport and having a good time and being able to compete. The first thing that we like to emphasize as far as anxiety goes and especially in the open water and races is breathing. Most people breathe with their chests and a good thing to think about is breathing with your stomach; doing the diaphragmatic breathing as opposed to just chest breathing which can actually increase your anxiety levels. So, starting out with doing some deep breaths, before your swim, before you get in the open water or before you get in the pool. And just kind of getting yourself in that relaxed state and that will make either your workout or your race go much better.

Chris: And doing, I plan like a 5 count in or a 7 count in and a 5 count out, helps tremendously. Kind of really focus on the breath, focus on the inhale, how you’re feeling, how the breath is changing you. And breathe from the diaphragm and feel your stomach, your whole entire body lengthens as you breathe in and then condense as you breathe out.  And focusing on those things takes your mind off the race, off all those pressures and all those voices that are bouncing around, screaming out in your head. And focusing it on the breath which is in the moment and present and therefore the most important thing

Kevin: Yeah and I actually have an app that I’ve been using the last few weeks, or the last couple months. It’s called MyCalmBeat and it basically you just follow along with the breathing and it kind of forces you to take really deep breathes and you can set as many minutes as you want. I just do ten minutes a day, and you do that in the morning and it kind of sets your day, so you’re not starting off all stressed out, your just kind of like even keeled and breathing getting the oxygen flowing. So that’s something you can also look into as this is kind of a general way to deal with anxiety and I’ll help you kind of get your motivation up too, for your swim sessions. Okay so number 2 would be just getting in. Just getting in the water.

Chris: And I find that, even though [00:06:52] do workouts sometimes.  when I know I have this key workout that you know, I’ve seen in the calendar all week and it’s been hanging over my head and I don’t know if I can do it, I don’t know if I can [00:07:02 up] my times and I just have all this anxiety, and I just get, “Ooh, I don’t really go to the pool” and then I start to talk to myself out. If I just get in the water, if I just dive in, once I hit the water, once I get, you know, have that first stroke, then I know I will do the rest of the workout. It’s just getting in the pool that helps me overcome that anxiety and it’s the same thing for like open water swimming and races. Once the gun goes off all the anxiety disappears. All that pressure and nerves about the race disappears and you just focus on the race because you know you can do it, you’ve done it before and it’s just starting the process that get’s you going. And it goes back, you know to physics. And it’s kind of a corny example, but Newton’s Law:  A body at rest, stays at rest, and a body in motion starts in motion. You just got to push yourself into motion.

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. And that goes with so many things in life. There is this kind of therapy it’s kind of like cognitive behavior therapy but it’s called acceptance and commitment therapy and the commitment part of it is you just commit to doing the thing that you’re stressing about. And it sounds so basic and simple but that really is the solution. It’s like the awareness of it, is what get’s you over it. And a lot of times – I’ve been swimming my whole life, like ever since I was eight, seven years old I’ve been in the pool, and on swim teams and whatever and I still like I said my exercise, it’s what I do.  I still to this day sometimes I’m like I almost have this little bit of dread or little bit of like feeling in my stomach like “Oh I don’t want to get in the pool today” and that’s the hardest part is getting in the pool. It’s like that once that happen, cause often I’ll take myself into doing a 10-minute workout. I’ll go I’m just going to get in the pool for 10 minutes, and of course 10 minutes goes by in a flash and then pretty soon I’m there for 20-30 minutes doing a decent workout and it’s nothing. It feels great.

Chris: And you want to keep on going.

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. So yeah, It is, it’s just exposure to the thing that your stressing about or having anxiety about. Okay, number three is exterior pressure, what do we say, avoiding external pressure.

Chris: Yeah. External pressure and what I mean by that is we have all this pressure that causes this anxiety. And we have whether it is performance based or safety based. And I’ll just tackle performance-based first. A lot of athletes have all these, what they think are, external pressures, forcing them to do this. But you know if they don’t perform, that they’re going to be a loser, that people are going to look down on them, people are going to think differently about them, people are going to make fun of them, if they don’t quote-unquote live up to their potential or don’t do as well as we expect ourselves to. And that includes their workouts and their races. And if we remove that pressure, whether it’s throwing out the watch, whether it’s saying you know I’m going to forget them, whatever they say I’m still you know the athlete that I am, and whatever I do, I do. And it turns out you know, they actually don’t care about how we do and that those expectations are false. And so removing the watch sometimes I find helps remove that exterior pressure and if you just go by effort you can’t measure yourself, you just know you put in a good workout, you know you put in a good effort. So even without those numbers telling you differently, you know for a fact that you gave it your all. Also removing those external pressures helps in realizing that those are cognitive distortions and are imaginary. And then if your anxiety’s safety based, then realize that those are cognitive distortions as well. Those fears that you know you’re going to drown in the water, that a shark’s going to bite you, that you’re going to get a heart attack and no one’s going to be able to help you. Those are all false, because you’re actually safer in the water than you are out. Race directors have ample, ample support crews out on the water to help you in any situation, well trained support crews and most likely they’ll be quicker at getting to you if you’re in the water then if something happened to you outside of the water. And realizing that helps a lot of people go, “Wow, then I really don’t have anything to be afraid of”. If something goes wrong then help is there. Help can be accessed. And getting over that mental hurdle helps them just realize I really do have nothing to fear.

Kevin: Yeah. I think the idea of external pressure, that can also be the things like scary things in the water, but it can also be pressure. I used to swim in this group, out in La Jolla Cove, with this big group of tri-athletes. They would just show up. It’s every Friday evening throughout the summer and it’s like from anywhere,from 4:30 in the afternoon to about 7:00 pm and people would just come and go. There is this sort of like “I only did a quarter mile today, that’s not enough”, and it’s kind of this pressure of “You should be doing a mile at least”, and that kind of thing which it does matter you’re there, you’re doing it and that’s what really matters. And then also just the idea of something that’s going to kill you in the water. We’ve talked about the odds of that, are just ridiculous low, but also if you swim in a big pack, then your odds are even lower because someone else might be the one. And it’s not even funny because it’s happened before. But almost everybody I’ve ever met that has done even one triathlon and trained on a bike has had some sort of injury on their bike, it might be minor, or it might be major but it’s like that’s where you really need to worry a little bit more, but the swim is pretty much the safest thing you could do.

Chris: Yeah.

Kevin: So number 4 is and this one, some people are going to hate us for saying this, but.

Chris: Myself included. I came up with it and I so hate myself for saying it.

Kevin: It avoids caffeine, but that’s not all. It avoids caffeine on race day. Because the trouble is that’s there’s so much energy, there’s so much adrenalin being pumped already and when you’re going into a race no matter who you are, even if you’ve done 18 thousand races already, you’re still going to have some adrenalin in the morning. So adding caffeine to that is just going to add fuel to the fire. And it depends on how sensitive you are, too.Some people aren’t that sensitive to caffeine. I am. If I have caffeine I’m bouncing off the wall so I don’t need that on any race morning, even if I’ve had 2 hours of sleep, I still don’t need it. But the hard thing about this one is that some people are addicted to caffeine so if they just wake up on race morning and like “Okay! No caffeine today!” then that’s going to suck,because they’re just going to have no energy.So the idea is to taper off. And I know Mark Allen talked about this way back when he wrote his book, but it’s – just taper off. The two weeks before, get it to the point where two weeks before you’re not having any caffeine and then so two weeks leading up to the race no caffeine. And as soon as your race is done, you can like guzzle Red Bulls or whatever you want.

Chris: And if you don’t want to give up caffeine the two weeks before, don’t overdo it on race day. I know people who will wake up, they’ll have their morning cup of coffee and then right before they get in the water they have a caffeinated gel, or they’ll have a monster drink right before they get in the water. And that because of the stimulation and in addition to your, you know, you’re going from 0-to-60 once the gun goes off. That can do a doozy on your heart and can trigger anxiety attacks.

Kevin: Yeah. That’s right, it a good point. Number 5, is swim your race. This is so important. And it’s something that most people don’t do. It’s almost counter-intuitive because it’s so-you get in the water and you just want to get ahead, or swim with the pack or whatever, but not everybody is the same pace obviously and not everybody is in the same condition. So when you start a race and we’re talking obviously specifically about a race but when you start the race you want to be kind of in your own zone, you want to be doing your own thing and establish yourself, establish your stroke and you can’t do that if you’re trying to fight the pack and get in the middle, and trying to pull position to the first buoy or any of that. So, the best thing and I’ve said this a million times but the best thing really is to start to the outside, if that’s even too much or you can’t because there is no outside, it’s just everyone just packed into one little area. Then just wait for — when the gun goes off — just wait like count a few seconds, let everybody kind of go, and just jump in. You’re not going to kill yourself time-wise if you just, you know, let 10 or 15 seconds go by before you jump into the water.

Chris: And even the pros say it that they go their own race. Even though they go out with everyone, they say the quicker I get into my stroke and get into my rhythm and kind of swim my own race that the better that they do. Because they’re not worried about the person next to them, they’re swimming.  They’re worried about their own stroke. They’re worrying about, you know, how much energy they’re expending. Because you could sprint and lose all your energy but that won’t affect the person next to you.

Kevin: Yeah. That right. And that’s where also it’s really important to get that, I mention the word rhythm, and one thing you can do is just count your strokes, or just do like a 1-2, just go 1-2, 1-2 and just get into that rhythm. That can keep you focused. It’s kind of like something you can focus on as opposed to focusing on other people around you or am I going to get hit or why did that person touch my ankle or whatever. All that stuff can just go away, or you can just pick a word, like some people like to the zen kind of thing, where you just take one word and you just think about that and just kind of zone into that and then make sure you’re doing your sighting and everything is cool.

Chris: Yeah, and that’s the five main points of visualization – not visualization, but dealing with anxiety.

Kevin: Yeah, so we had… Let’s go over those again.

Chris: Number 1 is breathing, number 2 is just getting in, number 3 is removing external pressures, number 4 is avoid the caffeine, I may have a cup of coffee now, the reason why I’m forgetting that, avoid excess caffeine on race day and then number 5 is you know getting into a rhythm, swimming your own race, and getting in the moment.

Kevin: Yeah, right on. Cool. Yeah, I think that about it. Doing anything else Chris? You have a half marathon tomorrow?

Chris: Yeah, I ‘m running the Desert Classic Half Marathon in Surprise, Arizona. So fingers crossed and it’s my first race of 2014, so regardless, it’s going to be a [00:16:56 pure] for the year.
Kevin: Yeah. Awesome. That should be fun. How’s the scenery going to look out there?

Chris: Oh, I not exactly sure. I’ve never run in Surprise before. Now hopefully there will be some desert scenes and not all suburban neighborhoods.

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. Hopefully, you get some good surprises and not some

Chris: Yes. I would like that. A nasty little hill in the middle it would be a nasty surprise.

Kevin: Yeah, actually I went to the baseball spring training with some buddies, a while back and we were out driving around and one of the games was in Surprise and we got lost, so the joke on the trip was like “Surprise! You’re lost”. Just don’t get lost on your race there. Cool. Well hey good luck tomorrow and we’ll do this again in a couple of weeks and that’s about it. So thanks for coming on and thanks everyone for listening.

[Promo Music 00:17:43 – 00:17:47]

Kevin: Hi, this is Kevin back again, just wanted to say a couple more things before signing off here. One is that I mentioned TriSwim products and I wanted to let you guys know that we’re going to be offering the TriSwimPro package now on the website as the premiere product and  you can just go to to find out more. But I wanted to let you know as a podcast subscriber that when you sign up for TriSwimPro you’re also going to be getting a package in the mail with some goodies, with some bonus stuff, it’s really just a lot of fun stuff. So I’m not telling anyone, it’s not listed on the website, it’s not anywhere else in  our materials, but when you sign up for TriSwimPro, you join us, you get the Facebook group, you get the workouts, the videos, everything and then you also will be getting this package in the mail. And the TriSwim anti-chlorine products are one of the things that we’re including in that, so just a little heads up there. You can just go to for that in the next few days. We should have the website updated by the time this podcast comes out. So if you don’t see it just shoot me an email: I’ll make sure that you get what you need. And then if you like this podcast, we’d love it if you could give us a rating and a review on i-Tunes, it would help us tremendously. So you just go open up your i-Tunes and go to triswimcoach podcast and then click on Rating and review and just drop a note in there and hopefully, it’s a 5 star review. So that’s about it. So have a great week of training, and we’ll talk to you soon.

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