Short Answer: Anytime!
Pressing reset on your swimming and health goals is often more a state of mind than an actual process that needs to change per see.
Sometimes just the decision to start back again and re-establish a routine is all that it takes.
Yes, it's hard at first - your new subconscious habit might be to not exercise as regularly, and breaking out of this mould can be challenging at first, but per the Nike slogan "JUST DO IT!", flicking that mental switch is often the only spark that is required to reignite that motivation. Soon, you're back in your routine and you wondered why you ever stopped? 🧐
At this time of year, people always tell me that they typically lack motivation because of the weather. It's much easier to roll over in your nice warm doona and hit the alarm, than it is to rise early and do some exercise. We've all been there. Added to this, right now, we're all experiencing a myriad of other factors that might be toying with our motivation:
1) you've been sick
2) you're worried about getting sick
3) you've been away travelling and you're not yet back into your 'routine'
4) you're a goals person and you haven't got a goal
5) you're not a goal person and you don't want a goal! Any sort of cessation of your exercise routine (whatever that might be) often leads to a feeling of stress and anxiety about what it will be like getting restarted again.
But think about it like this - how much motivation do you need to brush your teeth in the morning? None, right? You just do it. It's a thing you do. It's a thing you have to do for your dental hygiene. It's a non-negotiable.
When you're in the 'flow' of an exercise regime this also happens too, just like brushing your teeth. It could be for an event you're training for, or it could just be to lose a kilo here and there and feel better, to start your day on a high. At this point you're committed and it takes very little actual 'motivation' to get you out of bed and out the door. You just do it. It becomes a habit. A routine. But as soon as you're out of this routine, it often feels so very hard to break back into it again. But you can do it, all it needs is a spark, a line in the sand, the decision to get started again, and once you're off, once you've made that decision, the rest will take care of itself. Trust me, Jason, I see it all the time in both the people I've coached over the last 20 years and also heavily in myself 😌.
The Plan, Stan!
So, starting the week beginning Monday 18th July 2022, we're going to remove some of that friction that might be causing you to hold back, fearful of a return to your swimming routine. How do we do that? By addressing these factors:
1) CONCERN # 1: "everyone will be so much faster than me!" | SOLUTION: we're going to dial back the CSS paces across the board by ~2s/100m and build back up together as a team over the next 10 weeks ✊ You can always jump 'down' a lane too, or sit at the back, you're in control 👌.
2) CONCERN # 2: "the beepers stress me out!" | SOLUTION: if you're newly back to the squad, your "no questions asked" response to being handed the beeper can just be a firm "brushing my teeth" action 😜 with your hands and I will understand 😉
3) CONCERN # 3: "the beepers still stress me out!" | SOLUTION: even though we can constructively use the beepers to gradually build you all backup in small increments, there'll be sessions (like yesterday's Tuesday Technique/Endurance session) where we'll go "old school" and have no targets at all across the board - this session was very well received ❤️
4) CONCERN # 4: "I think I'll need some stroke technique TLC and not sure if I'm going to get it!" | SOLUTION: of course, we offer our dedicated 1-2-1 Video Analysis & Stroke Correction Sessions but over the next 10 weeks specifically we'll be doing our best to offer the quick tips on your stroke that some of you have been asking for. Not everyone wants input on their stroke (especially during a harder session), but if you do, don't be afraid to grab any of the coaches and just ask them to take a quick look and give you a pointer here and there. The risk here is that any advice given can be misinterpreted in the short amount of time we'd have between intervals, so the best way to seek this input is by taking a lap or two out when others in your lane are swimming and ask for a quick tip 🏊♂️
5) CONCERN # 5: "I've stacked on a few kilos and am worried about what I look like in my bathers!" | SOLUTION: firstly, thinking like this is not vanity, we all do it! Right now - for a variety of reasons - I'm weighing in about 8-10kg more than I'd like to be. I'm not happy about it, but it is what it is. The only way I'm going to shift it is by hitting "reset" too, and that's what I plan to do. You have to embrace it like it's a winter jacket, one that - in time - you'll strip off. Trust me, being in New Zealand last week with two of my 30 year+ mates, they weren't backwards in coming forwards and telling me how I looked! 😂 But that's OK, they were concerned about me and provided me with the kick up the bum that I needed myself to get back into the swing of things. So don't let this be the thing that's holding you back, strike forth and work with me to shed those kilos (if you need/want to!) and in 10 weeks' time, we'll be feeling a LOT better!
6) CONCERN # 6: "I've never swum with the Squad before - I've just done a 1-2-1 session - and not sure what to really expect. Will I be welcome?" | SOLUTION: My biggest pride in the squad and environment that we have been building over the last 20 years is how welcoming and accepting the existing swimmers are, but like anywhere with a diehard group of regulars, there's always the risk of a new group seeming to be a clique to someone new. This something which we (as coaches) will be paying particular attention to going forwards. All I can say is please come down and give it a try and you'll be very pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone is 😊.
So, how structured does this plan look like? Where's the spreadsheet with the numbers, the minutiae of the sessions to be able to scope it out into the future?
Well, for those who like that level of detail, this page and this page (both over 10 years old!) will offer you a basis to this construct, but the older and wiser I get and more iterative I get with my coaching processes, the more I want to bring this all right back to this:
Sometimes establishing a routine again is not about the process you need to follow (leave that with us!) but just the decision to start, and only you can do that.
See you on deck next week, ready to dial this 10-week program in! 🙌
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You may have noticed that our Swim in Common logo features a 4-way venn diagram as its symbol? Why is this?
Justyn Barnes, author of the brilliant book “Ikigai - the Japanese secret to a life of happiness and longevity” states that the word ikigai in its simplest term describes “value in living” or “a reason for living”.
Among the myriad different interpretations of the word, Barnes states that ikigai can be thought of daily as “a reason to jump out of bed every morning” and a “springboard for tomorrow” – isn’t this the very essence of coaching? To help others in an inspired way? We like to think so.