Swimming is F*cking Hard

This week is Week 12 in my training for IMUK 2017. It’s been a tough one so far and last week wasn’t that much better.

This is clearly a mental hurdle that I’ve hit as there have been tears, worry and anxiety during most of my sessions. And I missed a couple as well as I was just too tired and feeling mentally quite weak.

The swimming is my downfall. I had a 1:1 coaching session with full video analysis a few weeks ago (nothing more traumatic than watching yourself in super slow mo flapping about in a swimming pool – from all angles). It was a useful session and I picked up some good tips and drills on the day. But I’m not sure it did my confidence as much good – the guy was clearly very experienced but suggested that my predicted swim time for the IM was too slow. In my head the time he said would be amazing so my already low confidence with my swimming is slightly more of a challenge. Despite that, the day after my session, I was motivated to go and try my new techniques and drills out but was like a drowning elephant during the whole session and left after about half an hour.

Last week the training increased to 3 swims a week – great to get more time in the pool, but another day where it’s training before and after work (*sob*). I found it incredibly difficult and I think I’m getting overwhelmed with the constant thoughts about form that run through my head literally from the second I get in. I’ve always found it a challenge to get the constant whirring to stop when I train for anything – always pushing myself and thinking of the things I should be doing and not knowing if I am doing them. No wonder I’m knackered!

So the Reduced Week this week (Week 12) still feels hard. But then….at my swim this morning I forgot my training watch. Annoying at first when I realised as training for an IM makes you obsessive about THE NUMBERS: training week number, laps, lengths, time per mile, total time training, number of training sessions per week, how many seconds quicker you were than last week (or not), 100m swim averages, number of meals you’ve eaten, the inexplicable weight gain despite the amount of training, just how many pairs of trainers you do need and whether bulk buying Power Bar nutrition is a good idea, the amount of fibre you eat before a run so you don’t s*it yourself halfway round a long session, how many friends you haven’t spoken to since this took over your life, how long it’s been since you didn’t think about something related to IM, how many dreams haven’t involved a swimming pool, running or the fact you get a puncture on a ride and you still don’t know how to fix it. The numbers are always there.

But the lack of watch this morning meant I had to count in my head. Fatal as I can count to about 8 and then lose it. I managed my drills and then decided just to swim and not think about anything. Some people might call it Mindful Swimming – but I just didn’t think about anything and instead just thought about gliding through the water and keeping my arms wide (I cross over which is bad. Very bad. As any person who posts the vast amount of swimming videos online will tell you….repeatedly). It was so good not to think about anything else. For once I felt relaxed and didn’t give a shit about how fast I was going.

So although I’m finding the swim training harder than the rest of it I am going to stick with it and carry on getting up for a 6:30am swims 3 times a week. And even if it takes me the full time I have to do it on the day, I’m not sure I want to get so stressed about it!

Just don’t ask me to bilateral breathe – let’s all hope for a calm, windless day with the sun coming up on my right so I can breathe to the left the whole way!



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