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?
I’m so happy for you! I’ve always loved the swim. Never been bored in the pool, ever. I’d skip a bike or run long before skipping a swim, which might explain my time. Sometimes sharing a crowded lane is the best thing, it reminds me of a tri start.
I’m pretty sure you’ll find your attitude change will make all the difference in the world, and you’ll start seeing improvement. Remember, a few seconds off your 100 m time is huge in swimming! Have you ever had your swim video taped? That made all the difference for me, to see what I was actually doing in the water, as opposed to what I thought I was doing. Then some of the things I’d been told started making more sense.
When I say “getting the feel of the water” on your hands and arms, does that ring any bells? There’s days the feel isn’t there and even though you’re putting in more effort, you aren’t going faster. Those days aren’t so much fun. But then there’s the days it’s there, and it’s like you’re gliding up and down the pool. Unfortunately, it takes a fair bit of swimming to get it, and keep it. The feel has come and gone for me several times.
And that is a cute suit!
Graphix Diva says
I found that signing up for a coached swim (started in Jan) is making a HUGE difference in both my swim time and my attitude towards swimming. Since I paid for the sport-specific coaching, I feel more committed to not only attend the swim, but also to focus on improving while I am there. And the coaching on-deck is a big plus, the immediate feedback and ability to make corrections on the spot is making a big difference!
I feel that way about swimming big time. And water running too, up until last Thursday. As lame as it sounds, I think I’m ok with water running because I don’t have to wash my hair after, unlike swimming. And I don’t have to swallow pool water! But who knows, maybe just spending more time in the pool will encourage me to actually swim some day.
sarah jordan says
I am glad to hear you are giving it another shot. I think a new bathing suit will make all the difference. Shopping for new things always motivates me! Have you thought about getting a swim buddy once a week? I know it helps me on my bikes which I dread…
I love all these steps you’re taking to motivate your swim training! I have done the “not an option, happens immediately after work” thing with my runs – it works for me. I have also found that really concentrating on the activity really helps, with any sport. I think it was you quite a while back, who described in clear detail how to do a flip turn in the pool. Attempting and sometimes accomplishing flip turns kept me occupied for many swims! I need to try them again. Good job in motivating yourself and us along with you, Leanne!
Crystal Rhyno says
Who knows in months from now, you may even forget you dreaded swimming! Looks like you are overcoming your mental blocks. Keep up the good work.
Courteney O says
I love that swimsuit. I find if I’m having a mental block to running…dressing the part helps me feel the part. Sounds like you are doing everything you can to be the best you can at the swim portion….awesome job!!!!
I love this! I actually really the swim portion of my training. But getting to the pool in the winter…less exciting. Sometimes you just gotta make it happen!
Tina Fab says
one swim at a time! 🙂 is that sorta like one more mile?? you know maybe i should try swimming!
Getting to the pool can get a total pain and I have major lane anxiety…I hate a crowded pool. However, of the three sports it is my favorite and where I feel the most at home. I have a water proof MP3 player that I got for xmas maybe 3 years ago and it is still in its packaging, unopened. I prefer to just zone out and concentrate on the black line during swimming. I completely agree that a new swimsuit here and there can totally be great motivation to get back to it!