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Christmas Presents

CHALLENGE OR THREAT?

SPORT PSYCHOLOGY

Imagine yourself at the start of an open water swimming event: people are chatting nervously, excitement levels are high, individuals are jostling for position, everyone is waiting for the klaxon to sound. You are about to swim in a 2km race. You have swum 2km before, yet you are feeling nervous, your heart is racing, perhaps you are worrying about your lack of training or how cold the water is going to be and you don’t know how well you are going to do.

The added element of the competition adds a whole host of factors into the mix; something that in sport is often called ‘pressure’. How we deal with pressure is something that sport psychologists often work on with athletes.

Sometimes, in moments of pressure, we fail to realise that the physical requirements of the task (in this case the 2km swim) are the same as something you have done before (even if you haven’t raced 2km, you might regularly swim 2km in training). This pressure causes our perception of the event to alter. In sport, pressure is an internal phenomenon; it comes from within you, not from the situation. It is important to realise that it is not the task that creates pressure, but our perception of the task.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Welcome to our training special! Whether you have signed up for your first open water event or are planning an endurance challenge we have a plan for you – turn to page 44 for our one mile, 5k and 10k training schedules. We also have an intensive 10k DIY training camp for more advanced swimmers, as well as advice on how to successfully swim 24 miles in 24 hours and train for a swimrun event. Plus, our resident Olympian Cassie Patten answers your training queries and Total Immersion head coach Terry Laughlin trains your brain as well as your body. And if you haven’t yet signed up to an event to train for, check out our full listings starting on page 80. Outdoor swimming isn’t all about chasing that PB though. We hear from self-confessed dipper Joe Minihane about how wild swimming helped cure his anxiety and Ella Foote swims with Tessa Wardley, the author of a new book on mindfulness and swimming. And Jenny Landreth delves into the history books to explore the advice given to female swimmers in the 19th century. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.
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