As many are swim training alone or without a coach these days, staying accountable to yourself and your 2021 goals is of the utmost importance. However, it can be hard to stay motivated when there is no competition in sight, no pool available, or no externally prescribed training plans.
Here are eight simple strategies to help keep you on track, keep up your swim fitness, and be ready to take on whatever 2021 brings:
1) Set achievable goals
Setting small (achievable) daily goals or session goals will help motivate you through your training swims. Without big race goals serving as the ultimate goal posts, these incremental targets become even more important. Be supportive and forgiving of yourself. Take the time to reset and focus on smaller goals that will build incrementally towards the 2021 triathlon or swim season (hopefully). Celebrate the small wins to build momentum.
2) Set your own schedule
Many of you will be training without your club or coach so setting your own schedule will be important. This will provide the necessary structure to maintain your fitness (at a bare minimum) and/or to improve your performance so you are race-ready once competition starts up again in 2021. A schedule helps encourage consistency and accountability. Mark your calendar with your own attendance.
3) Stay flexible
While having a schedule is great, staying flexible will help you keep your cool. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s being able to adjust our schedules in the moment. If you don’t get your swim in, it doesn’t mean you will not achieve your goals, it just means you need to adjust as needed and maybe even get creative. Be flexible, stay positive, and most of all, have fun.
4) Connect with community
Reach out to your swim and triathlon community for support, guidance, and potentially small group training opportunities. Lean on them for competitive encouragement and comparison. You can also find some of your favourite pros in the FORM app and can follow their training for inspiration.
5) Rank your efforts
Simply showing up to the pool or ocean to swim as scheduled isn’t enough. After your workout, rank your performance with a regular review.
Schedule a regular review of your training – weekly is recommended. Assess your progress and outline what you’d like to accomplish in the coming week; then tweak your training plan to accommodate these goals. They might include adding an extra workout, extending a workout or something indirectly related like eating better, or sleeping more.
6) Analyze your excuses
Invariably there’ll be days when you don’t feel like swimming or doing any training and if you do force yourself, the session is distinctly average. Ask yourself what these days have in common. Did you sleep poorly? Are you missing out on a social engagement? Are you exhausted from yesterday’s training? Once you understand why you are lacking the energy and interest, change things up. Modify your schedule in some way, e.g. change the time of your swims, reduce the intensity, etc.
7) Celebrate your achievements
Without competition ribbons and medals, it is up to you to give yourself the proverbial pat on the back. Just as you experience ‘meh’ days, you will also experience stellar days when you feel everything clicking. Your strokes are powerful, your pace is impressive. Try to identify why this swim was better than others, take note, and repeat. Building training consistency is an important goal and this self-analysis will help immeasurably.
8) Introduce new tools
The ultimate swim companion, the FORM Smart Swim Goggles help you stay accountable through our see-through smart display which delivers all the metrics you need in real-time to track your progress and performance. Using the heads-up display in your goggles lens, you can see your split time, distance, stroke rate, stroke count, distance per stroke, pace, length count, and more. Once out of the water, you can use the FORM Swim App to analyze your metrics and connect with the broader FORM swim community.
Now is the perfect time to take control of your training schedule, set your own goals, and hold yourself accountable to them.