Why MORE is often LESS (accomplishment vs. burnout)

Posted Ella Villas Articles

I recorded a podcast last night with Coach Chris on the idea of adding play into your weekly workout routines, why it’s important and when and how often to do it.

It got me thinking even more about this topic. There are important things about adding play (fun) into all your workouts, like keeping motivation high, avoiding burnout, avoiding injury, and even feeling MORE accomplished instead of less.

Back in college, as a competitive swimmer, I faced big time burnout in my 2nd year. I was training and training, double workouts and often 10,000 yards a day, and even getting faster- but not enjoying much about the process.

I decided that year that it would be my last year of swimming, and I would switch to skiing the next year! (the school was only about 2.5 hours from the nearest ski resort, and skiing seemed “more fun” than swimming!)

You see, my coach was old school, and BORING in his workouts. We would get sets like “4x800s pull”, and that would be at the end of the workout when there was only 20 minutes left to complete it!

No purpose. No focus. No fun. Just boring, pointless junk yards!

But I took a break in the summer and went from double workouts to just 1 hour, 3 times per week.

Then the next year I felt a new sense of drive and motivation to accomplish.

So instead of doing the same thing as the year before, I started mixing things up. I trained with the sprinters one day a week, the distance group another day, and the middle distance group the rest of the time.

I had 3 different coaches and a wide variety of workout styles, lane mates, and methodologies.

And that “mixing things up” really worked! All my times came down. I was not only having more fun, I was completely looking forward to every practice! It was not boring at all but exciting.

This is what I want everyone who joins our Tri Swim Success program to experience.

Not just “do these workouts and get this result”. That’s too boring.

There needs to be variety.
There needs to be purpose with everything you do.
And there needs to be fun, overall.

Play is a human need. Play is a triathlete need!

The fact is, you will actually get more accomplished by making your workouts fun. You will experience more fulfillment, and you will have less burnout, and even faster times.

Compare that to the typical goals swimmers and triathletes have.

“I must do 3000 meters today!”

How does it feel if you just did 2000 meters that day? Like you failed? That feeling can easily lead to being discouraged, deflated, and wanting to quit altogether.

Build in fun to today’s workout. Get creative. What can you do? Maybe it’s new equipment. Maybe it’s switching the order of what you do. Maybe it’s cutting your planned distance in half and adding in sprints, or training with a friend, or putting on fins for a 100 sprint just to see how it feels to go fast!

What makes things fun for you in swimming or triathlon training? We’d love to hear it!

Befriend the water!