The Wednesday Word over at Deb Runs is Courage. Since my brain is waterlogged from all the time I’ve spent in the pool lately, I have to apply this to swimming. I summoned my courage and stepped way out of my comfy zone when I decided I’d finally learn (well I’m still learning) to swim this year. The most terrifying thing (for this lone wolf) of all was to take the plunge and join a Masters Swim class. I’ve been going for 3 weeks now. It’s early (6am) incredibly hard, the water’s cold, but I haven’t drowned yet, and there’s a huge sense of accomplishment when I climb out of the pool, so win!
At my pool, the masters swim session is coached. Basically the coach puts out a whiteboard with the workout of the day on it and we all get down to business for an hour. The coach shares great tips on form, technique, different strokes, etc. It’s really a great opportunity to learn. Here are some things I’ve learned so far:
Don’t be intimidated by the workout. To be fair, it sort of blew my mind the first week. I was overwhelmed. Just take each portion (warmup, drills, intervals, cooldown etc.) and focus on each component. Each lap, each stroke, each breath. Remind yourself of all the other things in your life you’ve been successful at and apply that here. Go slow, break it down into manageable bites and chip away. You can do more than you think!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I promise the coach won’t bite. They actually love to educate. Don’t feel stupid. I had to ask how long the pool was. I had no clue how to begin to try butterfly or breast stroke. Heck I still don’t.
Um, yeah there hasn’t been any chatting yet at my masters swim sessions.
You may have to share a lane. I actually did my first week. I asked the coach how to proceed and was told to just pick a side and stay there. Simple enough, even for me.
These are not the kind of pool toys I’m talking about…although they’d be fun…
You might want to get some pool toys. Our coach recommends paddles, flippers and a kick board and pull buoy. The pool has some paddles and supplies kick boards. I’ve used all of these tools in all of my sessions so far. Check with your pool to see what, if anything they have on hand.
Don’t be intimidated by the other swimmers. Most likely you’ll see some very experienced, accomplished swimmers there. But honestly, everyone is absorbed in their own workout. They don’t care if you suck, and you shouldn’t either. Experts agree that, more than in any other sport, training with other swimmers is the best and fastest way to improve. I definitely swim longer and try harder during masters swim than when I practice on my own. Plus I had no clue how to formulate a workout the way the coach does. Now I can approximate what I learn in Masters Swim when I practice on my own.
What have you had the courage to do lately? In the words of my girl Desi Linden: Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable?