Friday, 10 January 2014

Peace of Mind

One of the reasons I have enjoyed swimming since I started last year, was the mindfulness I experienced. I focus on my technique, concentrating every stroke on the execution of it. This brought me a peace of mind and feeling one with the water. After every training session I felt sorry I had to get out of the pool- Life was waiting and not always something I looked forward too. Swimming was like a safe place for me.

Then I lost it. In the last couple of weeks I was so focused on trying to swim faster. Yes I was still concentrating not to loose the proper technique but the tempo trainer was chasing me, my disappointment in the times I swim fluctuate between happiness of getting my time for 50 m from 60 seconds to 50 seconds (on the pace clock- yes I have learned to read it, just). (I know it is still very slow) My new hydro tracker (which give me a lot of problems) though, show that my time over the distance around the dam is on average 70 seconds per 50 m.

Then I read Lone swimmers' blog this morning. His very reassuring advice made me think. Last year when I started swimming it was a milestone when I could swim 20 laps of 25 meter  (still, when I first went to swim in a 50 m pool I could barely swim 2 lengths). Later it was a victory to complete 40 lengths (25 meter) in 40 minutes. At the end of the season I could swim 50 lengths in 40 minutes and now I can swim 100 lengths in an hour rest times included.

When I read Coach Emmett Hines

Be Part of Your Personal Coaching Team

I realised that if I kept my training diary as my intention was- it is in my swimming bag but I never wrote in it, I would have realised what was busy happening. I was throwing my own peace away by being frustrated by the lack of instant results. I looked back and saw I have already made a lot of progress. When I read about other swimmers who swam 6 km in an hour it feel like it will forever be impossible for me- and it will, lets face it I am 56 but it does not mean I will never improve.

At the moment I feel that I am already swimming to fast for me to "enjoy" it. I realise I will not become fitter and better if I don't do interval training. I must stretch myself and accept that every swim cannot be a relaxing stroll around the dam. Even so it is not necessary to destroy my peace and the enjoyment I have experienced with my swimming.

I am claiming my joy back. Tomorrow I will swim with the purpose to make every stroke as good as I can without rushing it but neither be leisurely. I will strive to find a balance between swimming effortlessly and stroking at a moderate pace. I will write about my swim afterwards so that I can read it the next day. If I have done that I would have seen how my "competitiveness" was leading me to an unhappy place destroying the enjoyment I got from my swimming.

(Coach Emmett Hines has a lot of good advice in this article and other articles on his website. I have ordered his book Fitness swimming. It seems this is the book that I need now. )

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