Triathlon EQ – Emotional Intelligence for Swimmers & Triathletes

Consider this page your guide to links to resources about emotional intelligence (EQ) for triathletes and swimmers.

What is EQ
• The ability to recognize emotional fluctuations
• The ability to manage emotional fluctuations

Benefits of a high EQ
• Maximizes your learning
• Maximizes your racing
• Maximizes your performance • Maximizes your enjoyment
• Experiences of being “in the zone”?
• What tools can help you to get there?

Performance Pathway
• EQ Trumps fitness & preparation
• High EQ -> Ability to access the green zone – Think what you like
– Behave how you choose
– Access or Retrieve Skills You’ve been working on – Learn, Practice, Race & Perform at your best

Perceived Threats
• Brain prioritizes threats to survival
• Processed through pre-frontal cortex
• Is this a threat and do I need to act on it?

– -Am I going to drown?
– -Can I make the distance?
– -Can I perform my best?
– -Can I perform under pressure?

– -Can I navigate an unknown course?

Doesn’t need to be YOURs
• Reading about… – Shark attacks – Heart attacks
• Hearing stories – From Friends – From other racers

?What are your stress triggers?
• Can be different for different conditions • Can be more than one!
• -Glare?
• -Geting hit?
• -Choppy water?
• -Wetsuit doesn’t fit?
• -Transition ahead…

This is your Brain. This is Your Brain in Panic Mode

Is this a threat?

• Yes->
– Breakdown glycogen
– Release glucose to large muscle groups – Fight or Flight

• For Endurance athletes…what is the consequence of these micro-spikes due to EQ?
– HR Increases
– Short of Breath
– UpsetStomach
– MusclesTense
– StressHormoneRelease
• Stress response + Water is not a good combination!

How to take your emotional Temperature

Green – Calm
– Choose thoughts
– Competent & Functional

Yellow – Caution
– Slight discomfort
– Can function but not optimal

Red – Danger
– All out panic
– Dysfunctional

What color are you now?
• “light Yellow”
• “Orange”
• “Pea Soup Green”
• “Flashing Yellow”
• “All Out four way stop RED”
Green Zone
• In control of our thoughts and behaviors
• HR & Respirations within trained capacity
• No Stress Hormone Release
• More efficient energy
• Can retrieve & practice skills

• Less aware of senses
• Heart Rate Increases
• Belly Ache
• Swim paces fluctuations … beyond sustainable
• Survival is number one priority
• Air hunger
• Need o2
• Cannot think of skills, control behavior, connect to senses
• Stroke rate is unsustainable
• Using a ton of energy
?• All out panic
• Time to take your emotional temperature
• Look at these images and silently think what color you are?

Specific Management Strategies for EQ

Green Card Thoughts

Tune into your senses.

What do you See? Hear? Smell? Feel? Taste?

Getting & Staying Green • Being in the zone
• Periodically recall dopamine inducing thoughts
• Checking in with your senses –
– Seeing (sunrise, sunlight) – Feeling (feel the water) – Smell

Yellow – Caution
• Getting from yellow to green
• Calm your senses
• Regulate your breathing
• Induce your dopamine
– Rehearsed list of “best thoughts”
• Once you arrive back in green, stimulate your senses to stay there.

Yellow Card Thoughts
• When & where was your…
• best race?
• best swim?
• best run?
• best bike?
• When have you overcome an adverse situa6on?

Red – danger
• From Red to Green
• Stress hormone release is much higher
• Need a “goto stroke” so that you can make these adjustments
– Kayak stop
– Stop swimming
– “adjust goggles”
– “Go to stroke”

Red Card thoughts
– When & Where have you been happiest?
– Who are your friends & family that are most important to you?
– What’s something you’ve done in your life that no one can take away from you?
– When in your life have you made a positive impact in someone’s life?
– When you get to green, stimulate your senses.

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