Bad swims, in the ocean, pool, training or at an event can be a real pain in the pull-buoys!
You know how it goes…. I went training and just couldn’t get going, I couldn’t get my breath, I only had one gear, everyone else is really improving and I am not. I am sure I have got slower. I felt like a potato.You end up leaving the pool feeling like a wet towel. Bad swims wether in practise or competition happen, but it doesn’t make them any less infuriating.
The good news is nobody swims perfectly all the time. We all have our off days, it simply means you are human! What can make a difference is how you respond to the swim with or without a whole series of judgements.
Its really easy to rush to judge ourselves, especially when emotions are running high – frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment and this is when its all too easy to pump out critical emotionally-laden judgements…”I’m no good, I’ll never be a fast swimmer, I am the worst.”
These judgements are unhelpful, emotional and contain little objectivity. If you can take a step back in a calm state and evaluate those thoughts they wont tell you anything about your effort. They don’t inform you about how you overcame so much to even get to the pool that morning, or how you still turned up even when you didn’t want to.
If you can give yourself a few moments to catch your breath, emotionally step away from what just happened, then there is a golden opportunity to evaluate how you can improve. What happened?
- I went out too fast at the start
- I felt flustered swimming with other people and didn’t get my groove
- I didn’t feel properly warmed up
- I spend the whole time focussing on what other people were doing and comparing myself.
From here you have great opportunities to be a better swimmer:
- You decide to get to training 10 minutes early to swim a few laps before the others get in.
- You choose to fit in second or third swim each week to practise those technique elements you know are holding you back.
- You practise swimming at your pace in training, not being caught up with others.
- You acknowledge the real speedsters have been training for thousands of hours (literally thousands) and just how well you are actually doing based on the 30 hours you have been swimming for.
- You own up to the fact you are a little bit stressed at home and haven’t been eating or sleeping as well as you normally would.
These thoughts, rather than jeopardising your swimming hopes actually give you an opportunity to improve, to be kind to yourself and seize this moment of reflection to be even better next time. That less than satisfying workout is of use after all.
So be kind to yourself, set a goal and make a plan to achieve it!