5 Keys for Consistent Practices
Swimmers are constantly working hard towards their goals. Some may try to find a shortcut somewhere out there, and think that if they just look hard enough, the secret of training hacks will get them the results they so desperately want. You can try a new high-tech suit and every supplement available, but the one thing that cannot be “hacked” is the consistency of hard work.
Consistency as crucial as it is, frequently doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s far and away the one thing that should be getting your complete and undivided attention.
I’ve seen plenty of amazing athletes over the years who were full of potential. The guy who would have a few amazing workouts in a row, and then, after missing couple sessions, busted, lost that momentum and went back to zero again.
It will be frustrating to feel like you are starting over every time you miss a couple sessions, but those missed and ruined workouts add up to some serious training time over the course of a season.
One step at time: Set short term goals.
Sometimes staying focused on the short term can be difficult for swimmers with big plans and big dreams.
Swimmers (especially the ones with big dreams) frequently look at the calendar for that big meet, for when they are going to throw down that massive best time. The problem with this is that the end of season meets are usually so far off that there’s no rush for improvement.
Instead of dropping the consistency ball, stay focused on your training from day one by setting short term SMART goals for your training. You should always have a clear understanding of what you need to do today to achieve your long term goals 6 months or even 4 years from now, and that has to be done with short term goal setting. Plan out your short term goals so that when they are achieved, they will inevitably lead to you reaching your long term goals (or at least give you the best possible chance).
Design your training environment.
What have you been doing to succeed? Are the things you are doing outside of the pool making it harder for you to achieve that ambition of being steady and true in the water?
It’s one thing to say that you want to make the most of your training, that you want to be the best athlete you can be, but if the time spent outside of the pool is acting in direct conflict to your goals, then you might have to revisit your goals or your behavior. And we all know you don’t want to lower your goals.
Record your workouts.
Simple: Record your workouts.
By recording your training, you put accountability on yourself and provide clarity of progress. When you know exactly how long it takes for you to see progress in the water you will not only have a more accurate idea of what type of results to expect you will also be able to set smarter goals.
It can be hard to stay fully engaged and motivated over the course of a long season. Having a record of your training history—something to look back on with pride and satisfaction—can provide just the jolt you need to get your butt back to the pool.
I could go on and on, but you get the gist.
The hardest thing in the world can be to wait for something you really, really, really want. When results don’t happen as fast as you think they should, or you aren’t pumping out times as quickly as you expect, it’s natural to get a little frustrated.
You don’t cut down weight all at once. You show up every day, give it ten solid swings, and then do the same thing the day after.
Of Course, Be Consistent
Think about what kind of swimmer you are, how you would define yourself.
Whatever your personality is, it’s up to you to decide. Of course your coach or perhaps a teammate might help you along the way by telling you that you were a great kicker or puller, but at the end of the day, it’s your call as to how you identify yourself as a swimmer.
Being consistent is exactly one of those things that you can identify with. The idea being that when you identify yourself as a consistent swimmer you are more likely to behave in ways that you would expect.
Consistent high quality training is the most critical thing to becoming a better swimmer. Keeping your heart rate over 200 for a couple of sets a week might make you feel accomplished, but if you are not training with high quality swimming for EVERY set, then all of those hard work sessions are wasted. Remember your old childhood stories: the tortoise beats the hare for a reason – CONSISTENCY.
Being successful in the pool isn’t some secret. It’s a combination of talent, hard work, focus, discipline and more.
No matter how hard we get pitched the latest and greatest in swimsuits, supplements and swim gear at the end of the day you are the one putting in the countless hours at the pool and the one responsible for the highest quality and most consistent training possible.
TAKE YOUR SWIMMING TO THE NEXT LEVEL.