I don’t know about you but I don’t get up every morning expecting to change the world (or my body) in one day.
When I got into triathlon’s I could swim but had no fitness, I swam and swam and felt like I was never going to improve. Nick Croft my swimming coach said if you swim twice a week you’ll stay the same but three times and you’ll improve. I reckon it took a year of swimming thrice a week to move up from the slow to medium lane. Another year to the (back of the) fast lane. I now swim alone so I can’t compare my swimming to others but I know it’s improving. Sometimes I go weeks or months without seeing much progress. I leave feedback in my training program that I reckon I’m getting slower. Sometimes it’s disheartening but I’m intune enough to recognise why.
We aren’t just swimmers, there’s swimming but also riding and running training going on too. For me fatigue shows up in the pool first. Mondays after a big weekend of training I’m considerably slower than any other day. At the end of a hard block I’m like a turtle in the pool and on the contrary after a recovery week (or even one rest day) I feel fresher and faster in the pool.
At the moment I’m loving the ‘maximum sustainable pace’ sets which are on my program every Wednesday. They aren’t about swimming one or two hundred metres flat out. They are about swimming the best pace you can maintain for the whole set, afterall we are endurance training.
They started with 30x100s (15 sec rest between) after a few weeks increased to 15x200s (again 15 sec rest) for 4 weeks and next week I have 10x300s.
Repeating sets like this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like it. I’ve never been very good at nailing things the first time, this gives me the chance to attempt, repeat, reflect and work on improvement. Even if I’m feeling fatigued and I can’t hit the fast numbers, my favourite thing to strive for is consistency. I’ve become pretty darn good at getting all 30x100s within 1 second of each other.
This week the instructions from the coach said ‘last week of the 200s, lets aim for that 100 pace.’ I think he knows I’m always up for a challenge, put a carrot in front of me and I’ll chase it. So I went to bed early, got up and gave every one of those 15 200m’s my all. I didn’t just match the average pace for my 30x100m’s but I beat it.
At about number 10 or 11 I was really struggling, my arms were hurting and I saw a couple of slower splits and felt disheartened. I thought it would be really great to have a coach or squad mate there to push me along. But I didn’t have that option, all I had was me and I had to dig deep and push myself. And I did. I don’t often celebrate or gloat after a training session but when I saw my average pace I was on cloud nine!
I had to share my success and happiness with the world so posted about it on Instagram. I said I nailed it and one of my friends commented “Of course you did.” Just so you know, there was never any guarantee or “of course” I would. Every single lap required my attention and best effort. People sometimes say I’m inspiring or motivating setting all these crazy goals and pursuing them…
Well just so you know there’s plenty of times I don’t feel like it, but do anyway. I have my own goals, inspiration and motivation that make me get up. But realistically it hasn’t been the last few weeks or months of training that’s made swim how I’m swimming now. It’s the last four years of consistent swimming, 530am starts two or three times a week, every single week.
Realistically consistency is key. Not just in swimming but in every aspect of life. Whether it’s weight loss, saving money, running a business or teaching your child good manners. What you do everyday is what matters most. Day by day, week by week, every stroke, kick, breath and tumble turn is getting us a little closer to where we want to be. For me each swim is a brick in the wall, a deposit in the bank, a chance to make myself a little bit stronger, mind a little bit clearer and heart a whole lot happier.
As I build into Ultraman training I’m sure there will be plenty of personal bests, personal worsts, I’ll go further than I’ve ever gone, times I love swimming, hate swimming and everything in between. But the consistency factor is what I’ll draw on when it comes to race day.
So here’s to being consistent. Even when we don’t want to be.
Until next time remember, success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.