First, a disclaimer: this week was supposed to be about strength training and how to incorporate weight lifting and specific core exercises to boost your swim performance.
But we had some technical difficulties at headquarters (i.e. I deleted the video). So I will post that update at the end of next week.
Until then, something else this week came up that I think is important to share.
I have to admit that I’ve been struggling this past week. While all this improvement that I have made excites me, over the past week, my motivation was beginning to fade. It toke me a bit more effort to put on the swim trunks and dive into the pool. And I have had to give myself a pep talk some mornings to get on the SwimErg before my trainer rides. I even skipped one pool workout and just swam on the SwimErg.
If you are like me and have felt this fluctuation in motivation, rest assured that it is 100% normal especially this time of year (especially for us in the Northern Hemisphere).
When the days get dark, cold, and grey, motivation does seem to dip. Couple the climate with the onset of holiday parties, travel, familial commitments, and more, and workouts take on a lower priority. Moreover, since races seem so far off (they aren’t really), skipping a workout seems like no big deal.
What this project is teaching me though is that whenever I feel like I should skip a workout, I remind myself why I am doing this project in the first place. It is not about the races or getting back to my old times.
It’s about the process, and skipping a workout interferes with that process. Each workout has some sort of opportunity in it regardless of size, duration, volume, or intensity.
Workouts are not an all or nothing game. And the workouts do not have to be perfect. I do not have to hit my watts perfectly. Nor do I have to hit my splits exactly in the pool.
My Garmin graph does not have to look pretty. Nor does my TrainingPeaks Performance Manager chart have to be a nice linear line up. The important thing is that I make an effort. If I am not feeling the exact written workout, I can modify it to meet me at where I am on that day and at that time.
Even the workouts do not have to go as written. It is better to get something in than nothing at all. Some coaches say: “You might as well stay on the couch if your swim is under “x meters” or your run is under “y time”. I could not disagree more. It might not be ideal. But if that is all you can do, than that is all you can do.
I love Coach Eric’s quick 10-20 minute SwimErg workouts before trainer rides because they are so manageable. Even though they are short, they are still making me faster both on the SwimErg and in the water. I can also fit these in without having to hassle with going to the pool.
I know that each workout does not have to be perfect. And that every workout both big and small, long and short, helps me discover a little bit more about myself as an athlete. The process to becoming faster keeps me coming back for more. It removes the pressure to achieve.
And ramps up my motivation–not to win the next race or beat that jerk in the lane next to me–but to become a better swimmer.