Have a Bad Workout? Remember These 5 Things.

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.

You have no idea why, but it happened.

You felt great all day. Crushed a couple killer meals and stayed nice and hydrated. You even got a good night of sleep last night.

But when you jumped into the water something just felt off. That elusive feel for the water was missing. When you kicked your feet simply sliced through the water, not catching any of it. You missed intervals and target times that you had been nailing with ease just the other day.

Yup. It’s the dreaded bad workout and I-have-no-idea-why-it-happened.

The bad news is that you had a workout that you’d rather never think about again. The good news? There are still some things you can do to squeeze some good from that workout.

Here are 5 things you can do to make sure that you are bouncing back stronger and better the next go-around:

1. Use it as a springboard for positive changes. If you are consistently banging out sub-par workouts, it is time to make some changes. What are the circumstances that are leading to those sessions in the pool? Are you getting enough sleep? Or do you simply need to adopt a new perspective or point-of-view when approaching tough workouts? Whatever the case might be, don’t allow those bad practices to float by without pulling something positive from them.

2. Don’t relive those bad sessions. If you are dwelling on the way things went last time you were in the water you’re going to have a hard time getting your head back in the game today. Endlessly musing and beating yourself up about that bad practice won’t improve the result, nor will it help you bounce back any quicker.

See Also: Swimming Goggles: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

3. Track your workouts to see patterns in performance level. How many times have you had a stinker of a workout and thought to yourself – “what was that?” By writing out your workouts, as well as details like how much you slept, how stressed you are, and what your general mood was like that day, can help you discover habits and patterns that are creeping up repeatedly that are encouraging those less-than-optimal practices.

4. Listen to your body. If you have stopped any real sense of progress, or your body doesn’t feel like it is bouncing back as quickly as it could or should be, take some to indulge in some TLC. This means insuring that you are paying attention to your pre and post workout nutrition, eating well balanced meals the rest of the day, and most importantly, getting the sleep your body needs to recover.

5. Let it go. There will be times where you just have a bad workout. Our bodies are wildly complex, with a boggling amount of complex physiological processes operating at any given time. Sometimes it’s obvious why you had a bad workout – a bad meal, a really stressful day, illness – but there will be the occasional workout where your swimming just stinks. Granted, that these seemingly out-of-the-blue poor workouts are the most frustrating as you can’t find cause for them, it’s critical that you learn to be able to hit the reset button mentally.

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Thank god it’s not just me!!


There’s always another workout tomorrow!

I’d only worry if I felt sick or injured.

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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