The 4 minute mile and your swim

Posted Kevin Koskella Articles

Do you feel like you’re in competition with others when you swim?

Does it seem like this competition “revs you up”, or propels you to greater heights?

Well let’s look back at the story of Roger Bannister and the 4-minute mile barrier.

For many decades, it was “common knowledge” that humans could not break 4 minutes in a 1-mile run.

Since “everyone believed it”, nobody broke the record…until Bannister.

Then, in the subsequent months, many other runners broke 4 minutes.

Although the breaking of 4 minutes was indeed heroic, that is not the main story here.

Almost every runner back at that time had a limitation put upon them. They believe 4 minutes to be impossible, and that made it so- despite their talent and hard work.

Before Bannister’s feat, it was more about competition at these high levels. Everyone just wanted to “win”, to “beat” other racers.

But they were all missing out and holding themselves back because of this mental model that had been established for them.

They were not at their best, despite winning races or finishing in the top 3, etc.

How does this relate to your swim, your triathlon?

The point is, the race is yours, and yours alone. Competition does not actually exist! The more you can swim your own race, the better your results will be.

Now, this may mean you need to put in some serious solo training time.

This may mean you skip the “pizza & beer” get togethers with friends in exchange for a good night’s sleep and a morning workout the next day.

But it all comes down to how bad you want it. Do you want to be a success in your own mind? Or do you just have a handful of people you want to finish ahead of?

The less you can focus on so-called competition, the better off you will be. Swim your race, do your thing, be okay with getting passed, and you will likely find that your results and overall enjoyment of training & racing will soar to new heights.

Befriend the water!