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How to Beat the Boredom of Swimming Training and Routines

Updated on November 16, 2016
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Dr. John applies his scientific & research skills to review and evaluate new trends in sports, games, rules and to review training methods.

Anyone who swims regularly for exercise, or to train for swimming events, for triathlon competitors and for open water swimming events knows how boring it can become, especially swimming laps in pools. Up and down, lap after lap, with only the white or black line on the bottom of the pool to watch.

Some people get wrapped up in the routine, but many complain of the acute boredom that is akin to jogging on a treadmill.

Some swimmers are lucky enough to be able to swim in open water, which is like a runner training on roads or cross-country compared with track work. But most are stuck with lap swimming in pools.

In recent interviews, some of the top competitive swimmers revealed their secrets to spice things up when training, and how to beat the boredom of endless 'lap after lap' in the pool.

This article shares some of their suggestions.

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Tips for Beating the Boredom of Lap Swimming

1. Develop and Use a Session Plan that includes Variety - A good program will be designed to match your goals while including enough variety to keep you motivated.

2. Vary your sessions - Don't set out to swim 40 laps every day. This can involve swimming different distances and paces. It can also include other strokes apart from free style. It can include different technique drills, use of equipment, speed work, distance work, and intervals mixing speed sessions with easy recovery swims. A swimming coach can develop a set of drills and session plans that are varied, but still focused on your goals, even if they are long distance ones.

3. Set small targets during sessions as a challenge to keep you motivated. This can include sub-routines as well as overall session targets. It may also include competitive sessions with your friends who train at the same time.

4. Set goals for each session - If you set targets for each session that are different, this will keep you interested. This may include hit those split times, or complete certain distances within set intervals of time.

5. Mix up the environment or place where you swim - Variety is the spice of life and so alternating between the 25m and 50m pools at your favorite venue can add variety. Try training sessions in other pools or in open water for extra variety.

6. Use equipment and props to add variety - Equipment such as hand paddles adds variety and really helps to build arm strength. You can also use pool buoys, which are small buoys shaped like an figure '8', designed to fit between your legs so that you have to completely rely or your arms to move through the water. Wrist and ankle weights can also be used for strength sessions.

Develop a Swimming Workout with a Lot of Variety based on Intervals

See the example below of an interval training workout to replace a boring session of 1-2 km of laps, without a break.

► Warm up with 200-500m of laps, working slowly at first, and then gradually stretching out and increasing the pace.

► 12 x 50m laps resting between each and gradually increasing the pace

► 10 x 100m session, resting for 30 seconds after each one. Try to progressively increase the pace.

► 6 x 50m or 10 x 25m sessions at a slow pace to wind down.

Interval training methods build long term capacity for long distance swimming events, just as they do for long distance runners, by enhancing aerobic capacity. These methods add variety and interim targets and milestones which prevent boredom.

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson

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