Confidence building Swimming workouts

David Carry

In this article, David gives an insight to how you can use Olympic performance planning methods to give you motivation and confidence to train.

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Swimming training sessions can often seem rather dull and boring and when we are training for the Olympics people often asked me, “how can you deal with doing endless laps, 70k a week, 45 weeks a year?”

The reason? We knew why we were doing each metre and how each session was going to make a difference to our end performance.

We take the same approach when we work with out guest at Triscape. We start with the end in mind and plan backwards, as we did in planning for an Olympic campaign. So when you arrive on poolside you’re motivated, you know what you’re training for and confident that this session will make a difference.

We’ve identified 4 Steps that ensure you are motivated to consistently turn up to training and have the confidence to achieve your goal. 

Step 1. Set a goal statement that you can control

A goal needs a date, a distance and a time but also needs to feel like a real thing, not just a series of numbers.

Saying “I want to be top ten in X race” is not helpful and not within your control. After all, you can’t control your competitors! You can control your effort and pace which results in your time.

So I’ll use an example to illustrate this process: 

A goal statement:

On the 9th June 2017 at The Great North Swim, I will swim 1.5K in under 30mins.

Step 2. Breakdown the goal

Now start to understand what it will take to achieve your result. 

By breaking down your goal to target splits, you will know how close (or far away!) from your target time and distance you will be, all the time building your confidence and reducing the fear of the unknown.

In our example, to swim 1.5K in 30mins, each 500m must be swum under 10mins which means each 100m in 2min 0sec.

Step 3. Identify critical elements

Ask yourself, what has to be in place to achieve your goal? You’re looking for tangible matter of facts areas that you will have to get right. For swimming the key things to consider is distance and pace.

For this example the critical elements are:

  1. I have to be able to swim 1.5K
  2. I have to be able to swim in cold open water
  3. I have to be able to maintain a pace of 100m in 2min 0sec

Now within those areas identify 2 or 3 things you will need to do.

  1. To be able to swim 5K I will need efficient technique and a good basic fitness level.
  2. To be able to swim in cold water I will need confidence in my equipment, have experienced cold water and good basic open water swimming skills.
  3. To be able to maintain a pace of 100m in 2 min 0sec I will need good basic fitness, efficient technique and access to a pool to train.

Step 4. Plan backwards

Using those critical elements, identify small steps back from your goal that act as progress markers. Tackle each element, one at a time.

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Now you have your training target set out it’s about finding fun ways of designing sessions to hit your targets. The three main areas to consider are: Speed, Strength, Endurance

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