Day 31 – Pool Discipline

143 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

When swimming along side others it’s easy to get caught up in a competitive mode. If you can’t swim faster than that dude in lane three wearing the board shorts there must be something wrong with you, right?

Of course that’s wrong, but the undisciplined mind just can’t stay focused on the actual workout long enough to ignore what everyone else is doing. There were times my plan called for 1:40/100y intervals, but because I was so caught up in what others were doing that 1:40 was more like 1:25. That’s a big deal. I was blowing all my energy when I should have been holding back.

Pool mantra #35:

Swim your own workout

LG

My first solution to the problem was to count strokes, but that didn’t work so well. At one point, out of frustration and talking to myself, I said, “Swim your own workout.” 💡 A light went on and that became the mantra.

After about a year of saying that in rhythm with my stroke , I realized that I was no longer paying attention to the other people. It may not take you that long, but some habits are hard to break and I just knew that if I stuck with it I would be able to ignore my competitive nature for certain workouts.

These days I can focus pretty well which helps a lot because most of my work right now is on form and technique. For example, this morning was 1200 yards of drills. Throw in another 600y of easy swimming and you’ve got a workout that demands some serious focus.

Don’t get me wrong. Some workouts require that intense competitive drive, but that’s a different issue.

Counting Lessons

Another problem with losing focus in the pool is counting laps. Raise your hand if you have ever lost count of your laps on a 600 yard interval in the pool. You can put your hands down.

My solution to this is to count backwards from the number of laps I need to do. Let’s do some math. In a 25 yard pool, one lap is 50 yards. If the interval is 600 yards, that means you need to do 12 (600 รท 50) laps. At the start of my first lap, I begin counting with each stroke,

Twelve… Twelve… Twelve… and so on until I’m back where I started then,

Eleven… Eleven… Eleven…

You get the idea. And if there’s any doubt, stop swimming after,

One… One… One…

Don’t go

Zero… Zero… Zero…

Until tomorrow…