The swim…of all three sports in triathlon it has been my least favourite. After my first Ironman back in 2010 I promptly put my access to the pool on hold because I had zero desire to go if I wasn’t training for anything.
When I signed up for Ironman Canada 2012 I wondered aloud to friends if my coach would allow me to get by with only one swim per week. That definitely wasn’t the best attitude to have towards swimming or towards training for an Ironman!
There were a lot of things I disliked about swimming. The crowded lanes during public swim. The amount of time it took to go to the pool, do the workout, shower and go home. The very early mornings or late nights. The boredom of swimming up and down a lane over and over again. Most of all I disliked that I wasn’t getting better…but with that attitude was it any wonder?
Yes…I am upset about the hole in my wetsuit, but my facial expression applied to my feelings about swimming in general.
I picked up a waterproof case for an iPod shuffle so I could plug into music and take my mind off the boredom at the pool.
I was really just going through motions at the pool, only doing the bare minimum, and I would often skip swim workouts.
For Ironman Boulder I knew I needed to change things around. I needed a new attitude towards swimming!
Making the Time
One of the first things I didn’t like about swimming was how much time it took out of the day. With Neil and I being a one car family that can also complicate just getting to the pool. I picked a time to swim that would have the least amount of impact. If I went to the pool right after work Neil could head home to look after Peat and start dinner. I could take the train home after my swim and be there in time for dinner. Time commitment issue solved.
Make it Non-Negotiable
Next up I had to make my swim workouts non-negotiable. If I gave myself any opportunity to think about how tired I was or how late it was getting I could talk myself out of a swim. I developed the mantra “don’t think, just go.” I’d just leave my office with my swim bag and start walking to the pool without thinking about it. That at least helped me start going to the pool!
Ditch the Distractions
I also ditched the mp3 player in the pool. If I’m just going through the motions then I’m not doing anything to improve my technique. It turns out that once I started focusing on what I was doing I wasn’t so bored anymore.
Figure Things Out in Advance
I now make sure to look at my swim workout ahead of time. If there is a drill in there that I’m not familiar with I can figure it out before I get to the pool. I need to understand my workout so I can execute it properly. My coach is giving me these drills for a reason!
Fun New Gear
It also never hurts to buy yourself a cute new swimsuit either.
image via swimiws.com
Will all of this translate to me being faster in the water? I don’t know that yet. More importantly I am actually enjoying my time in the water now and it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore. If anything that will help me to kick off race day with a happy swim. That would be the best thing to ask for in any race!
Have you ever had a mental block or a bad attitude towards something in training? How did you turn that around?