To Swim or Not to Swim?

swimBy PowerPlay Athlete, Jessica Meyers

That is the question.  How many times do we feel overwhelmed, tired, unmotivated?  The last thing we want to do is pull on a bathing suit and go dive into a cold pool.  We’ve all been there.  We all have stressors.  As my coach likes to say, I lead a “full life.”  While I wouldn’t change a thing, it can leave training as a lesser priority at times, even if this is my job.  I was just complaining about this to my friend the other day, and she pulled a line from my own book.  She said, “Jessica, you always told me, ‘a swim is a swim, even if it isn’t pretty.’”  Wow, that was actually pretty good advice.  What I meant when I gave this sage advice was that not every session has to be record breaking.  You can’t go into any swim, bike, or run as your best ever.  Sometimes it’s just about checking the block; after all, triathlon is a process, and sometimes that process can feel painfully slow…and let’s face it, ugly.  But the beauty comes when you rest, take a deep breath, shed that fatigue, and then suddenly you make those gains you’ve been training for all along.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t happen in a week.  Sometimes it is months or even years.  Did I mention this sport requires patience?

Now, I want to be clear that I’m not advocating sludging through every workout.  While a whole other topic, the symptoms written above can be the early signs of overtraining.  We will get into that at a later date.  I do have a couple rules of thumb.  Let’s say you haven’t been sleeping well, and you are finally getting that good night’s sleep your body has been craving for a week.  The alarm wakes you from your slumber at 0500.  My advice?  Turn it off and get your rest.  Sometimes a little more sleep will do the body more good than any swim.  Now, don’t go crazy with this one folks.  This is a once in awhile type thing.  It shouldn’t be your excuse every time you miss a swim.  My next rule of thumb is this:  Let’s say you’re in the midst of your training and you haven’t seen your friends (or spouse or significant other or pet or fish…you get the point here) to spend some quality time in what seems forever.  Bag the swim and go spend some time with that special someone.  It’ll do the mind good and make you happy, and a happy athlete is a fast athlete!