Start Line Feels...


By Shyanne McGregor

Start line feels…

I’ve had races when I’ve been super calm at the start line and races when I’m fighting back anxiety ridden tears.

Part of that is expectation I put on myself, but another part is just the things that happen in my body in those moments.

The fight or flight response to these stressful pre race moments can cause an increased heart and breathing rate, shakiness, butterflies, nausea, dry mouth, the feeling of having to pee even though you just went 10 minutes ago. If we don’t understand why these things are happening, we can interpret them as more of a panic response leading to even more anxiety that something bad may happen to us….

It’s how we perceive what happens to us, not what’s actually happening. If We perceive these things as signs of “impending doom” we could freeze up or panic. ...

If we perceive these as normal sensations, as a way of our bodies priming us for the challenge ahead,

1: We can embrace it as a normal response. And/Or
2: Learn ways to counteract these so we don’t panic even more.

When our bodies go into a fight or flight mode:

We get an increased heart rate- to get blood pumping to our muscles.

Our breathing increases- Our lungs dilate to allow more O2 to bloodironswim.jpg

Our blood shunts to our organs vs extremities- hense, the shaky hands.

We feel butterflies or nauseous due to blood shifting away from the GI system.

The feeling of having to pee is because during fight we don’t NEED bladder function. 🩻We get dry mouth, because we stop producing saliva so our airways are bigger for more O2 getting to our lungs.

SO!! It’s NOT that we are freaking out! These are normal responses to prime our bodies to do hard work!!

Ways to counter act: diaphragmatic breathing, breath holds, breathe through nose. This activates our vagus nerve and promotes the parasympathetic nervous system (calm).

Chewing gum is another strategy. It lowers cortisol levels.

Laugh!! Lighten up the mood with the athletes around you!