Not every workout is easy. Actually most workouts are really hard as they should be! Sometimes more than physically, they are mentally challenging. Even the pro’s don’t wanna train every day, they have tough workouts, feel like crap, people who aren’t always faster beat them in an interval and it is not always fun! For me swimming is a continuous struggle. Mostly mental. I have grown up doing sports I am naturally pretty good at so when I started swimming and it didn’t come quickly I deemed swimming my least favorite sport. That is not really fair though, I do enjoy swimming but its hard.
Here are some ways I have learned to get through tough workouts:
1. Focus on what you can control: form/technique.
95% of the time I am in the pool I am thinking about my form. Sometimes (always) it is the only thing I can control in the pool. If I am making every stroke as perfect as I can then I tend to not worry about how fast I am going. Coincidentally the more I focus on making my stroke pretty, the faster I go. The same goes for running! Good form = speed!
2. Be positive.
There is nothing worse than going into a workout with a negative mindset. Swimming is really tough for me but I can make it a lot harder by focusing on how hard it is. Act overly excited for the workouts you tend to dread. Your positive energy won’t only fuel you up but it will give those around you either a good laugh or some good energy. Nobody likes a negative Nancy so if you just aren’t feeling it that day keep it to yourself.
3. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
I will never forget the day a coach said this to me. If you want to get better in any sport you need to get REALLY comfortable with being uncomfortable. Growth happens in that uncomfortable zone, you win races when you push your limits!
4. “If you’re feeling like crap, let yourself feel like crap.”
Another coaches quote that stuck with me. I was feeling especially crappy in the pool and ready to just get out and call it a day, hey I could be getting sick or something right, overtraining, need a break? This is an important one because its easy to cut yourself a break and end a workout early if you feel like crap. However, you will never know what “good” feels like if you don’t train through those crappy workouts.
5. Worry only about yourself. Stop comparing!
I am an extremely competitive person and while that is great at times it also works against me. I swim with some of the best swimmers in triathlon, they literally can swim a 4 laps in the time is takes me to swim 2! There is actually no comparison here which is why I just focus on myself during swim workouts. With running workouts it is always easier to run fast from the front right? As soon as someone gets a step ahead of me I give up a little.
Instead of being upset that someone is a little faster than me I need to focus on my workout and doing my best. Having a goal that I control for each workout helps me with this. If I am doing what I need to do then so what if someone taps my feet behind me or passes me on the track?
Workouts are going to be hard. They are going to challenge you mentally and physically. They are going to hurt, you are going to fail and you are going to have days when you feel like crap. But these are the ones we learn to love, it’s why we keep coming back and striving to improve.
Control what you can control, practice positivity, embrace the uncomfortable, keep going and just do you.
Tell me: What do you do to get through tough workouts? My mom also tells me to always smile. Lol, this is harder with swimming but it definitely helps during tough races.