General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Need help getting motivated to swim Rss Feed  
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2019-12-20 8:55 PM


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Subject: Need help getting motivated to swim
Hello everyone! This was my first year in Tri, I did 2 Sprint Tris during the season. When I first signed up swimming was my favorite sport though I could only breaststroke. I hated running and I hadn't really biked in a couple of years.

Through the season, (from March till now) , biking became my favorite and running got easier ( especially after joining a running group). I soon learned to freestyle though not efficiently ( very slow) and swimming is now my weakest sport.

I've ramped up my workout sessions for all three sports since, and in the last month, I've been really struggling to keep my swim workouts. I'm not sure why, maybe because it's gotten colder and all our pools are outdoors, pool hours are limited due to daylight and I'm doing mostly drills to improve my speed per my swim coach instructions. Maybe because it's easier to combine my runs and bikes with outdoor activities and socializing. I've been to the pool suited so many times only to not go in at all! I guess they are probably all excuses hiding a deeper reason.

Coach said not to swim in any groups yet because he wants me to focus on drills.

Any tips on how to navigate this? I want to improve but I'm just not feeling the swim these days... Thanks so much!


2019-12-21 6:48 AM
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Subject: RE: Need help getting motivated to swim
Find a local open water swimming group and swim with them together
2019-12-21 8:21 AM
in reply to: rotipom

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Subject: RE: Need help getting motivated to swim
Originally posted by rotipom

Coach said not to swim in any groups yet because he wants me to focus on drills.



see if you can find a masters program that can accommodate your swim speed.

chances are they will be doing some drills.

If you're lucky, they'll be doing more than just drills
2019-12-21 3:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Need help getting motivated to swim

Originally posted by rotipom

Coach said not to swim in any groups yet because he wants me to focus on drills. Any tips on how to navigate this?

Simply stated - find another coach.  YES, swimming is highly technical and if you want to improve, you MUST develop good stroke technique.  So in that sense, your coach is right, drills may help you develop better technique.  However, and your coach should know this, which is why I said find another coach - technique and fitness are two sides of the same coin.  You CANNOT have one without the other.  You can't have good swim technique without good swim fitness and you can't have good swim fitness without good technique.  That creates a bit of a "Catch-22."  How are you supposed to develop good technique if you don't have good swim fitness, and how are you supposed to develop good swim fitness if you don't have good technique?  The answer is, you develop them simultaniously.  That means drill AND meters during a workout.  As you develop better technique, you begin to develop swim fitness based on good technique.  As you begin to build swim fitness, you will be stronger which will allow better technique.  Triathletes in general spend WAY WAY too much time doing drills.  The reality is, if you haven't improved after doing a drill for 4-6 weeks, it's the wrong drill for the moment, or there are other factors that need to be addressed first, move on to something else.  There comes a point where you just need to swim, and when you are done, swim some more, and when you think you have swam enough, swim some more.  I'm not suggesting you should ignore technique.  If you search back through the forums, you'll see I'm one of the most outspoken proponents of proper technique.  However, if you have GREAT technique, but no swim fitness, you won't get very far as you don't have the strength and/or endurance to take advantage of the good technique.  If you have terrible technique, but are very fit, all you'll do is attempt to beat the water into submission, quickly become anaerobic, and struggle in the water.  You need both technique and swim fitness and you need to develop them in a coordinated fashion.  Find a coach that understands that and can program workouts that balance what you are doing.

Swimming with a Master's group will help with the motivation.  Improving your technique/fitness, which a good Master's group will likely help with, will improve your motivation.  Doing endless drills simply makes swimming incredibly boring.  Find a good Master's group that understands triathlon, preferrably with a quality coach on deck, and you'll likely begin to enjoy swimming again.

Good luck!

2019-12-23 8:03 AM
in reply to: rotipom

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Subject: RE: Need help getting motivated to swim
We aren't professionals, this isn't a job. You should enjoy your training. If you prefer to swim in a group you should swim in a group and your coach should help to create a plan that encourages that. A really good coach will help to create a plan that you will enjoy and stick to. If you have the best structured plan it doesn't do any good if you can't follow it. I have been working with a coach for a couple years and he knows I love to do zwift races. He now will incorporate those into the schedule. So, instead of me skipping a structured Vo2 or threshold ride to do a zwift race he schedules those in and then balances that work with more structured workouts. It's really important to have good communication and a flexible coach to help you enjoy training and improve at the same time.
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