On Thursday of this past week, I went to the pool like I usually do, but when I opened my bag I discovered that I had left my Garmin swim watch at home! “Well I guess I cannot swim today,” I thought to myself. Then it occurred to me that I was being ridiculous. I do not need my Garmin or even a watch to swim. All I need are my goggles and my speedo and even that is sometimes optional.
This type of technologically focused mentality is what I like to call “Paralysis by Analysis,” and can considerably hinder training. Having data is nice; we enjoy the ability to track performance, share our success on social media, receive feedback, not to mention the ability to analyze our success or failures and make the necessary changes training. Knowing where you are physically is incredibly helpful information to have. I have used my data to figure out where I need to take in nutrition, set my paces and then goal paces, and to see when I need to scale back training volume to avoid overtraining or peaking for a race. Swim data is no different. I have used my Garmin files to change my swim stroke and become more efficient, but it NOT needed.
It used to be that I never wore a watch when swimming. When I was in college my swim coach actually took my Timex watch away and threw it into the deep end so that I wouldn’t look at it. “Use the race clock like everyone else damn it!” she would scream, so I did. Then when I became a triathlete and had to swim alone, I wanted a way to track laps and time, which is when I became addicted to my watch.
Forgetting my watch allowed me to remember that I do not need a Garmin or Timex watch to swim and have a good workout. In fact, when you ditch the watch, you relax and focus solely on effort. You begin to not care about what your Strava friends will see and just focus on how you feel in the water. Your effort should be the same regardless of whether you have a watch to track you or not. While it is nice to have immediate feedback, it is also nice to just swim and push yourself without a watch telling you you did.
Coach Chris and Kev