The following is a public service announcement brought to you by the coaches at Tri Swim Coach:
Your training will not be a linear path!
Yep, that’s right. Many training plans will try to convince you that every week you are going to get faster, fitter, stronger, and more efficient. Unfortunately that is simply not how training works. Some days you will be faster and feel great. Other days you will feel like junk and slow.
Especially when first starting (or restarting) to swim, this is all part of the process. Typically after you get video analysis and a list of drills to work on, you will need to slow down to help you get the form correct and ingrain that motor pattern into your muscle memory. This takes time. While the time frame varies, it can take up to 12 weeks (!) with consistent, mindful, vigilant practice.
It’s during this phase that you might feel that you are getting slower, which technically you are. At the same time, you are gaining a new, more effective stroke pattern that will allow you to get faster while using less energy.
Even after this initial adaptation phase, there will be days when you are slower. This could be because of fatigue, stress, dehydration, and countless other possible reasons. While it can be frustrating in the moment, take a step back and try to look at the bigger picture. However, if these practices begin to become a pattern and a trend then it’s time to reevaluate why; it might be time for more recovery, another swim analysis video, or a switch in your training plan.
Your training journey will not be a series of PR after PR and stellar practices week after week where you steadily go from a 2min/100m to 1:30m. While it can be frustrating, embrace the process. Realize that as long as you are putting in the work, following the program, and consistently evaluating your progress, you will break through your goals and beyond.