I recently had a few clients and triathletes complaining that swimming is boring. Here are some tips for making your swim sessions more interesting and manageable for your mind!
Have a Plan: Just going to the pool for a swim without a plan or some objectives would be boring for me too. In the same way telling me to get on my turbo for 90 min and just ride brings me out in a cold sweat!
Purpose of the session: Decide on the purpose of your session before you go and be specific. For example;
- Work on your technique and if so which bit of your technique are you focussing on.
- Work on your endurance and being able to swim further
- Work on being efficient at faster tempo
Chunk it down: On the turbo and in other training sessions (especially indoor workouts) it’s normal practice to break the session down into sections. For example gym workouts have sets, or aerobics classes have routines for each song. This chunking helps your brain to deal with the sessions and also makes the workout more fun. And the same applies to your swim sessions.
The Chunks: Give each chunk a specific objective. For example
- Just Swim: Start a session with a tune up to give your body and mind a chance to get used to the cold water, get your muscles warmed up and get your mind focussed.
- Tune Up: The next bit is to tune up your stroke and remind your mind and body of your movement patterns and technique.
- Main Practice: The main purpose of the swim
- Finisher/Cool Down: This could be a few lengths of easy swimming. Or something fun and different to end the session. I typically do some lengths of the other strokes or it could be to practice some turns or try a more challenging skill.
Reps and Rounds: In the main practice it helps to have a pattern of reps and rounds to help break your session down even further into manageable chunks. For example: 4 x 50, 4 x100, and 4 x 200. Or 4 rounds of 5 x 100.
Variety: Swim at different speeds and paces to add variety and challenge your stroke.
Tempo Trainer: Use the tempo trainer in both tempo or pace mode to add variety and give you something to focus on
Count strokes and notice if you can hold your stroke count at different speeds/distances. How often do you lose count?
Focal points: For each length have a one focal point for your stroke and write your focal points before you go to the pool. Can you hold your attention on that focal point for the whole length?
Write it down: Take your note book and write down your stroke counts and other observations.
Other strokes: Practice other strokes
Skills: Practice other skills e.g. starts, turns, dives etc.
Problem solving: Add a challenge or problem to solve – e.g. can you swim a length in X number of strokes, or in a set time, or at X tempo, race your friend.
Company: Swim with a friend – company always makes it better!
What strategies do you have to make swimming fun and interesting? Get in touch to let me know.