Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.
As a competitive swimmer we are always looking for new ways to get the edge on our fellow athlete. Whether it’s a new suit or a new dry-land routine, we’ll scoop to some extensive lengths to get a leg up. Instead of trying to make time for more training, more meters (yards), more of this or more of that, focus on making the most of your current practices.
Here are 5 ways to squeeze the most out of the time you spend in the pool–
1. Set micro goals.
Set goals for individual workouts, even down to specific sets and repeats. As a recovering distance swimmer, this was one of the ways that I kept myself sane during those long, lonely sets. Eye-balling the clock and wanting to turn under a specific time kept my head in the set and ultimately pushed me to swim faster.
Set marks and targets for your sets so that you have something to chase during practice, instead of strictly trying to survive the set.
SEE ALSO: 5 Goal Setting Hacks for Swimmers
2. Ask questions.
How many times have you been asked to do a set, and wondered if it was a set born from a desire to punish rather than to improve? There were times where I was issued such a set, and instead of asking – tactfully of course – the purpose behind the set, I simply grumbled under my breath and did the set, not fully engaged and ultimately resentful.
When we don’t understand the reason we are asked to do something it limits our engagement and desire to carry it out.
3. Have a pre-workout routine so that you are primed.
Making sure that you are adequately rested, hydrated and fueled before your workout is your responsibility, so look after yourself so that you can maximize the time you are spending in the pool. Establishing a pre-practice routine can be helpful here. Doing so, and making the beginning of your workout a habit helps to lessen the amount of willpower needed to commence your workout.
The routine doesn’t need to be extravagant or complicated, it can be as simple as a set of cues. A song, a favorite stretch, some arm swings, a snack, and so on. Having your own specific routine or set of cues pre-practice signals to your body that it is go time.
4. Track and measure your performance.
I’ve discussed previously on SwimSwam the benefits of keeping a swimmer’s log book. Getting motivated, seeing your progress on paper, and managing your short, medium and long term goals are all benefits of writing out your workouts. In terms of squeezing the most from your practices, a simple way to make sure you are getting faster is by recording your in-practice results for your main sets.
This is especially helpful the next time that test set comes around — you won’t have to wonder if you were holding 26.5’s or soft 27’s. While we all tend to fancy ourselves as having impeccable recall, time tends to obfuscate the memory of our results, especially given how many different personal bests we accrue over the years. (100IM long course PB, 400 free long course kick with fins PB, 75 yards one-arm free with one flipper PB, etc)
The results will all be there written out for you, giving you a clear and tangible bulls-eye to take aim at.
SEE ALSO: 8 Reasons to Keep a Swim Log
5. Make sure that you are recovering adequately and completely.
Your work in the pool isn’t done once you complete warm-down. The successful swimmer always has an eye towards the next day, and as such does his or her best to insure a speedy recovery.
Properly refueling your body, and giving your muscles the proper nutrition to repair, grow and recover is essential in bouncing back fast.
What are some of the things you are doing to insure that you are getting the most from your time spent in the pool? List ’em in the comments below!
YourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers. It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more. Learn 8 more reasons why this tool kicks butt.
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