Can you imagine swimming twice a day, six days a week, day in-day out, the whole year round and still wanting to get in the water and train for one or two hours at a time. This is the life of the pro swimmer or triathlete. How do they stay motivated?
They have goals. Those goals are National, World and Olympic championships or going to Kona for Triathletes. Each goal is just as important as the other and a strong motivator to put in the hours of work. For swimmers there is the long course and short course season and swimming meets all year round that serve as intermediary goals. For triathletes it comes in the form of their A races, where there is a distinctive goal – probably qualifying for Kona.
Professional athletes motivate themselves by benchmarking. Trying to better a time they swam previously. This is called a personal record (PR). Pro’s tend to swim the same strokes and distances and compare their times. They get excited and motivated to go faster, and to beat a previous benchmark is their way staying motivated. This week we have scheduled some challenging benchmark workouts, so buckle up and get ready.
This is how can you give your swimming in 2020 the boost it needs by setting goals and benchmarking.
Having a goal can really determine your daily motivation and happiness. It may be a goal of wanting to swim 200 freestyle without stopping or being out of breathe, or it could be wanting to swim the English Channel. Goals are goals! Swimming the Channel starts with that first 200. Make the goals measurable and achievable. If you can’t swim 200 without stopping, the Channel is not a realistic goal yet. Yet!
Sign up to do a charity swim for a distance that you’ve never swum before, or your first triathlon, or a master’s competition in the neighbourhood. There is no better way to have a goal or get motivated than registering for a competition.
The start date won’t change and once you’re signed up, you’re in and you become more motivated and happier to swim because you now know the why. Get out of your comfort zone and into the magic zone.
There is no better way to keep motivated than having a benchmark you want to beat. What is a benchmark and how can you come about it?
A benchmark is a time you want to swim or have swum before. It isn’t just any old time. As mentioned above, benchmarks usually happen in competitions with official or electronic timing. It may also be timed by your coach, teammate or even yourself in a controlled setting. The signature benchmark is the 1500m for time, which we call “the Grant”. This is named after Grant Hackett, a double Olympic champion in the 1500 freestyle. It’s a challenging swim because it is a race against the clock, swim 1500 meters in 30 minutes or less. Everybody wants to swim it in under 30 minutes. Another benchmark is swimming 100m and 50m all-out and seeing how fast you can swim. It is a great favourite. It motivates swimmers to keep training and wanting to better their own PBs the next time round.
Don’t know where to start? Get a friend to time you, or time yourself with the clock in the pool or on your watch, and then log your times. Time these same distances on a regular basis and compare. Remember you are only swimming against yourself and the clock.
Go on! See how far you can go! We’re right behind you.