“Consistency” has been my watchword of late. I know it’s probably not something all swimmers need to consciously think about in regards to their training, but it’s been a focal point for me these past few months.
That’s because I still feel like I’m building back to “normal” (or maybe more accurately, a “new norm”) after several really rocky health years. I’m still aiming for, but not quite meeting, my former norm of five swims and three weights sessions per week.
Absolutely, I’m SO much healthier today than I was one, two, three, four years ago. I’m incredibly grateful for my improved health status and how it’s reflected in the pool—my times are coming down; my endurance is coming back. But I still have work to do.
Luckily, living the lesson of consistency has been both enlightening and encouraging for me. I’m learning that you can progress just by showing up every day and trying.
While consistency doesn’t mean you’re going to hit it out of the park every practice, it does lend itself to surprising “swam better than I expected” days. And those 3,000-4,500m swims add up over a week.
Working towards consistency in the pool also is helping me build back in other areas of my life. Getting into the pool on a regular basis no matter what and swimming through feeling rough during warm up has taught me that starting is always the hardest phase. Fifteen minutes or so into swimming, writing, or any other task, I feel more comfortable and dialed in. And, the sense of accomplishment at the end of swim or work sessions only reinforces consistency’s value, especially when you start seeing entire weeks of effort logged on the calendar.
Consistency in the pool also has trained me to get beyond “waiting for a good time” to dive into a new task or goal. It might be daunting to try something new or re-establish good habits, but just showing up and starting is the most important first step in any venture. Particularly because it’s unrealistic to think I’m going to be 100% motivated for every practice, work project, etc., every day.
Finally, consistency has taught me to celebrate the cumulative “wins” as much as the outstanding effort days. And to applaud myself for showing up and trying on those days when I really, really don’t want to but do anyway.
Next week: Dryland Book Review