You can compare this period of being out of the water to being injured. It’s out of your control and quite unpleasant. You're missing the water like never before, and there is no other option than being patient. Yet, it has taught all of us life lessons we can bring along moving forward. What have you learned from being out of the water for so long and how does it match to the list we’ve compiled?
Resilience and adaptive power
Time out of the water is all about building resilience. Resilience is best described as bounce-back ability. Resilience is something pro swimmers use all the time to bounce back after a bad race, workout or when getting injured. It’s about the ability to deal with difficult situations, adapt accordingly and build the mental strength to cope with it. Circumstances are uncertain in life and in your sport. Plans will change, just as we’ve seen over the last year. That’s ok. Building resilience will help you not to give up, create plan B and get through it with a smile. But how can you build resilience?
Do things differently, use your imagination wherever you can. Look around at your current situation and see what you can use to keep fit. Tweak or re-evaluate your training programmes by working with what you have. Some of us had to let go of races or benchmarks that were planned. If you have managed to adapt, you're now enjoying a period in which you're moving the body in ways you might have never done before, maybe working on your strength with home workouts, which comes in handy when the pools open up again. Or keeping you endurance up with some weekly hiking, running or biking.
Swim in uncharted waters
Many have tried open water swimming. If you haven’t tried it yet this could be the perfect time to do so. If you’re afraid of the dark water or anxious about leaving the shore, join a group or club. Open water is very popular now, there are plenty of people who would love to take you along to make you feel safe during your first experience. It’s really lovely, being surrounded by nature and open air does something special to you. Give it a try, it's going to be exciting and who knows you may come to fall in love with it.
Rather than seeing the current outbreak as something that will never end, remind yourself that this will pass and while certain areas of your life may have changed, it also brought us positive changes. By taking a step back, the time out of the water has given our bodies and mind some well needed rest and recovery, especially if these two things don’t come naturally to you. Your technique may be rusty and your breathing unnatural when you get back in, but your body and mind will be fresh. This freshness will help iron out old technique issues and give you a well-deserved boost of sustained motivation.
Importance of dryland training
We have known about the importance of dryland for a long time and have written a lot about this subject, but over the last year we have truly learnt the value of dryland training. It has kept us sane and healthy while not being able to swim. Dryland training improves strength and mobility, which makes you powerful and has injury preventive effects. It helps you to increase your coordination capabilities and teach you new skills valuable in the water.
Being out of the water for so long has given you the opportunity and motivation to do dryland. Dryland is key to your swimming regime. You can build a great dryland routine with our dryland videos. They are easy and challenging, but not very time consuming. A stronger body will mean less injuries and more fun in the water when you return to it. Since you making dryland part of your routine at the moment, let’s keep it in once you’re back in the pool.
Swimming is our Addiction
The last thing we have learnt about being out of the water is how much we love being in it. The joy when we jump in and feel the water surround us. The strength we feel as we power through the water. The way we lose track of time because swimming is just so much fun.
The satisfaction of completing a difficult swim set and feeling like we can’t wait to get back into the pool as soon as possible. The pleasure of having our muscles pumped up from a pool workout. The frustration of not being able to apply a certain piece of technique is also addictive in itself. We know, you miss all of this and more. Maybe you miss the group of friends you swim with the most. Or your favorite coach who keeps you accountable and pushes you through a heavy set. It makes swimming extra joyful because you experience it together.
Even though most pools are still closed. Keep in contact with your swimming friends. You need each other like never before, support each other during this period and give your friend who is having a hard time some extra attention. Build a training regime together, go to your first open water swim or do dryland together.
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone is probably the most fitting statement for all the things we’ve learnt while being out of the water for so long. We miss it and will enjoy it even more when we may again. And luckily that’s sooner than you think.