Think back to this time last year. You were likely gearing up for preseason with all the anticipation, energy (albeit nervous or excited), and mental toughness you could muster to get through a very intense time of the year for swimmers. Second only to the heavy training camps over the holidays, preseason swim training emphasizes cardiovascular fitness and muscular hypertrophy. How you prepare yourself leading up to preseason makes a huge impact on the way you handle the next couple of weeks. Let’s discuss a few tips so you can hit the ground running with training and truly maximize your preseason potential.
1. Hop Back in the Pool
As incredibly rewarding it feels to be liberated from regular workouts, tow
ards the end of your break you should hop back in the pool for a few swim sessions. These workouts do not have to be intense or very long. Your goal is to get the feel back for the water and reconnect with your body position in the pool. Spend half an hour doing some easy drilling and basic aerobic swimming. This will help you immensely come preseason because you will no longer have that fish-out-of-water feeling in the mechanics of your stroke.
2. Sustain your Energy Levels
Whether you were on vacation or were simply enjoying not having to plan your meals based on upcoming competitions, your nutrition during the break did not impact you in the direct way that it does when you are training. As you get back into heavy workouts, you’ll need to eat balanced meals with proper fueling before and after workout. Try to eat more nutrient-rich, whole foods. Healthy foods will provide the energy you need to get through preseason, so that should be a good source of motivation!
Time to get some shut-eye. Preseason is not only busy with training and team activities, but you also may be moving into dorm rooms, adjusting to new coaches, or meeting new people if you’re entering college. The beginning of the academic year is also fast approaching if you have not already begun school, so your daily schedule will change drastically from where it was a week ago. Give your body the rest it deserves so you can train to your full potential and be engaged in your workouts.
4. Enjoy Yourself
This time of year is fun and exciting! Sure, the training is tough, but you should enjoy the end of your break and be refreshed upon returning to the pool so you can get down to work. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is the beginning of the year, and you have everything going your way.
5. Be Positive
Your attitude, more than anything, will affect your preseason. Enter this year with an open mind, a humble and positive attitude, and a desire to get better. There are no results to look at, no setbacks to overcome, and nothing to prove to anyone. All you need to do is have a positive outlook, and come to the pool ready to give your best each day. It’s time to look forward. Come to preseason workouts with mental toughness and a sense of humor. You’re going to push through some pain, but your teammates will be right alongside you. The better your attitude, the better you all will train.
Keep these tips in your toolbox when preseason rolls around. It’s easy to agree with them, but harder to put into practice. Enjoy the final days of your break. Get excited for a stellar preseason that will put you in tip top shape for the coming year.
For more on swim-specific training, check out this article.