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Swimming is boring – but not so boring if…

Written by Fiona May 29 2014

I am not a big fan of swim training. I like the kind of swimming that features warm, clear seas and a hot sun, when all you need to do is a few strokes here and there but mostly enjoy the cool water lapping around you. Swimming lengths in a luke warm, chlorinated pool is boring and un-fun.

imgres-8Normally, I find myself in the pool because I am training for an event. I have no idea why I sign up for events that include swimming but that’s how it has been for years. I guess I am attracted to the other disciplines in the events and reckon that I will put up with a short swim.

This year it’s the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon and that involves 1400m or so of open water swimming in  Loch Tay. So every week I have to swim a few laps at the local pool. Soon it will be time to dip my toes in the freezing waters of Loch Ard, near Aberfolyle, for open water swim practice. Eugh!

My swim training efforts

I have tried different swim training sessions. Glasgow Triathlon Club has two swimming sessions a week and these do take away a lot of the boredom of swimming but I can’t always make these due to other commitments. I prefer to swim when I want to swim.

I have tried getting into the pool and swimming the 60 or so lengths that add up to the distance of the Quadrathlon swim. But I forget what lap I am on and I want to scream each time I realise I have another 50, 40, 30 etc lengths to go. It’s so mind numbingly boring.

So last night I went back to following a coached session. Last year, my coach, the Mighty Vickster, wrote me dozens of swim sessions as I built up to the World Age Group Triathlon Championships. This year I do not have a coach but I still have the swim sessions on file. I picked one that added up to more than 1400m and headed to the pool.

Swimming that is not so boring

Last night at the sublimely civilised ladies-only swim session at my local pool I followed the coached programme. It gave me something else to think about than simply swimming laps. Yes, I was simply swimming lengths but I swam them in sets and against the clock. I swam more lengths than the week before and with far less desire to scream with boredom.

There was a 400m warm-up that include four sets of 100ms, each with different “strengths” of swimming included. Then I swam 4 x 50m steady with only a little rest. Then 400m at race pace. Then 4x 50m, followed by 200m, then 4 x 50m, then another 200m. The cool down was 200m of different strokes.

I swam harder than when I set out to swim the full distance in a oner and there is far less requirement to keep track of dozens of laps. I enjoyed the focus of the clock and the system of repeating distances. The time flew by and I jumped out of the pool feeling as though I’d put lots of effort into my swimming.

So if you are bored in the pool, get a coach. Or download a few coached swim sessions from the internet. Better still, come and swim with me and we can be less bored together!

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