Whether you’re a competitive swimmer who’s reduced your training intensity, or a leisurely non-competitive swimmer seeking to get back to the pool, staying motivated to a swim routine can be daunting, especially if you’re not exactly sure what to do when you arrive at the pool. If you identify with one of these two groups, you are not alone. These pointers from an ex-competitive swimmer who once trained 9 times a week and competed for 13 years at the national level, will help you feel more confident and perhaps more motivated to get back to the pool.
1. Play Favourites
Start with the stroke you enjoy the most. If you prefer freestyle (front crawl) then start with doing mostly freestyle. If you prefer another stroke, which may include using a kick board, flippers, floating or a doggy paddle, do what feels good. You’ll discover that getting into the pool and activating your muscles is a great way to release tension with very little pressure on the joints.
2. Plan Ahead
If you have “been there, done that” and are looking for more of a structured routine, try writing up a workout or practice regime for yourself prior to heading to the pool. This may involve all four strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle) for a full-body workout, or simply just one stroke, depending on your preference and skill level. In addition to a variety of strokes, integrate different lengths and speeds as well. As you get stronger and your endurance grows, you will eventually be able to add timed intervals to these distances.
One recommendation is to start with a longer distance at a leisurely pace, followed by some builds (or sprints), combined with some flutter-board kicking mixed in. Always end with a cool down and slow stretching.
3. Group Up!
Joining a non-competitive swim group is a fantastic option to meet other swimmers, learn new skills, share workouts and sustain motivation.
Swimming is an ideal activity for people of all skill levels to participate in while creating a workout routine that will enhance the results of all the other sports you perform.
Try this session next time you are in the pool for a workout!
- 200 meters – long slow strokes, alternating 50 m freestyle with 50 m of your choice
- 4 x 50 meters – starting off slow and building to fast
- 4 x 50 meters – kick with a flutter board, alternating with 25 m freestyle kick and 25 m individual medley (IM) kick (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle)
- 4 x 100 meters – alternating with 25 m fast, 25 m slow, either your choice or IM, depending on skill level
- 200 meters – cool down of your choice