Staying motivated is important to keep your swimming fun and making progress. I use lots of strategies to keep my workouts entertaining and that’s why I’ve been able to enjoy swimming nonstop since I came back to the sport in 2003.
I’ve talked several times to on and off swimmers and boredom in the pool is one of the common reasons cited for losing interest in swimming. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Experienced swimmers do not just mindlessly swim lap after lap being utterly bored. In fact they also want to have fun and to do so use several strategies to keep their swimming workouts interesting. I’ll now cover some of those strategies in the hope you will find them useful.
Strategies to Keep your Swimming Fun
- When you start a swim session, do some balance drills first. Balance drills allow you to reconnect with the water, especially after a long working day. A few lengths of balance drills will make you feel focused, relaxed and supported by the water.
- Start swimming slowly. Swimming slowly lets you get in tune with how it feels to move your limbs in the water. Give your joints and muscles the time to warm up, to stretch and to move better and better in the water. If you jump into the pool and start trashing away immediately, you will feel nothing but struggle, numbness and finally exhaustion.
- Now don’t get me wrong. Hard exhausting workouts can also be fun, especially after a good warm-up when your body is ready to release a surplus of energy into the water. Just don’t get into the trap of making all your swim sessions such hard workouts, because otherwise one day you might have forgotten what makes swimming fun.
- Learn all the different swimming strokes. Why does it matter? First, knowing several strokes allows you to vary swim strokes during practice, which makes your workouts more interesting. Secondly, to master each stroke, you will need to practice lots of swimming drills, also adding variety. And finally, skills learned for one stroke may be relevant to another, making you a better (and hence more motivated) swimmer.
- Don’t fear experimenting in the water. Sometimes you might look silly, but who cares? As long as you keep swimming fun and are learning, it’s beneficial and you’ll stay motivated.
- Read swimming books and watch videos. The more educated you are, the more things you’ll notice while swimming, the more things you will want to experiment and the more interesting your swim sessions will be.
- Prepare your swimming workouts. While this may sound like work, preparing workouts allows you to research and plan what you will do at the pool, which is interesting by itself. But it also avoids that you fall back to swim lap after lap without focus because you don’t know what to do at the pool.
- Identify which aspects of your technique need to be improved. To do so your swim coach or swim buddies will be happy to point out those flaws to you :-). Better yet, get videotaped. Believe me, seeing your own mistakes on video is embarrassing and imprints those mistakes deeply in the mind :-).
- While swimming laps, focus on one aspect of your technique that needs to be improved. Focus on that aspect for a few lengths, then switch to another weak point of your technique for the next few lengths, and so on. This lets you get focused on your technique and lets you get creative for finding solutions on how to fix those weak points.
- While swimming laps, count how many strokes per length you take. Then try to reduce that count by analyzing your swimming technique and what causes you to increase or decrease that stroke count. Being concentrated on your technique often gets you in an enjoyable meditative state.
- Swimming golf is another strategy to keep your mind engaged and swimming fun. To play swimming golf, add the number of strokes per length and the time needed par length. This is your golf score. Now your goal is to keep your score low. For this you’ll need to experiment with the trade-off between a low stroke count and a minimum swim time per length.
- Find swim buddies interested in swimming for fitness and learning about the sport with you. And if you go to the pool regularly, you will build friendships with like-minded swimmers anyway, making your workouts more entertaining and challenging.
- Better yet, join a masters swimming group. Those are open for anyone and participating in competitions is not required.
- If it is possible in your area, vary swimming locations. Swimming often feels different in different pools, though I can’t exactly explain why this is the case. Nevertheless, it breaks the monotony of always swimming in the same place,and you get to see new faces and meet interesting people.
- Finally, don’t forget to have fun and laugh with your swim buddies!
I hope the strategies above have given you some ideas about how to keep your swimming fun and entertaining. Besides this, experimenting with those strategies should also keep you busy for quite some time. Happy Swimming!