April 1, 2014
Going Back to the Drawing Board by BridgeAthletics
When the championship meet is over—whether it’s the Olympics, NCAA’s, junior nationals, high school championships, or anything in between—swimmers need the opportunity to reset mentally, physically, and emotionally. With the short course and collegiate seasons behind you, April becomes the month to set a baseline for the long course season. This week it’s all about finding ways to re-charge, and how to move forward with big picture goals.
Many swimmers get a few days to one week off after their end-of-season meet. While this break is usually longer following the summer, the break now can be just as restorative to your overall well-being. Take this as an opportunity to step away from the pool. After a long period of intense focus on swimming, getting some physical space will help you gain perspective and balance in your life. Staying out of the pool for a few days will also help your body recover from lingering injuries that built up from repetitive motion over the season.
BE GOOD TO YOUR BODY
A week off does not have to mean a week without physical activity. On the flipside, it does notmean swimmers should jump into full-time running or heavy land-based exercise. If you desire to work out, try activities that are fun and invigorating such as hiking with friends, surfing, biking outdoors, or if you truly wish, swimming in a lake or the ocean. Be smart about what activities you attempt by not putting yourself at risk of injury (skiing and skydiving will still be around when you fully retire).
Most importantly, give your body the rest it needs to repair itself! One of the best ways to prepare for the next season is to be healthy heading into it.
DO SOMETHING FUN
Elite athletes understand that a short break can ultimately benefit one’s training and performance. Not only should you get some space from swimming, but you should also do something fun! With such little time off throughout the year, you should enjoy the ability to sleep in longer, hang out with friends, and do the things that make you happy. A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer—your hard work and dedication to the sport are only as good as your enjoyment of it. Breaks are a natural part of all sports for this reason.
Take this time to recognize that swimming is one part of your life. Recover mentally, physically, and emotionally from last season and get re-energized to train hard for the next one. With a good week’s rest, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you return.