Mental Skills for Athletes: Relationships

Swimming and triathlon can be two very lonely sports.

As athletes we should not forget that we remain reliant on our relationships with other people.

For some it is possible to proceed alone, to operate within a silo, but the most successful athletes succeed by leveraging their relationships. They rely on partners, children, Moms and Dads, friends, training partners and more.

Don’t focus on the “I”, consider the “we” and the “us” – the payoff is exponential.

We don’t have to be lone wolves. Not only do we have our friends and families but countless connections across social media networks who can help and inspire.

Use your relationships to maximize the benefits across all elements of your life.

Swimming Workout: Quality not quantity

Steady pace throughout for the main set please. Work on being consistent. Warm down consists of high quality drill work with plenty of rest. Quality not quantity is key in a swim workout, so if you run out of time just do fewer 50s.

Warm up:
4 x 100 as 25 Kick, 25 Drill, 50 Free


Main Set:
4 x 200 30 secs rest. Steady pace throughout. Build #4 to fast effort.
2 x 300 breathe every 3-5 Strokes by 50

Swim down: 8 x 50 as 25 drill, 25 easy swim

Total: 2,200 meters

What drill did you choose?

Mental Skills for Athletes: Visualization

A less than ideal situation can easily be turned around using your imagination and the powers of visualization.

When you’re facing a situation you generally dread, stop and analyze the things you feel and say to yourself.  Then immediately counter your negative thoughts with positive alternatives.

Examples I hear often:

  1. I hate morning swimming practice; counter with > BUT, I’m so alive afterwards
  2. Sprint work on the track hurts so bad; counter with > BUT, it boosts my speed so much
  3. A long solo bike ride is boring, counter with > BUT, I boost my aerobic base and get time to think
  4. Do I really have to stretch post-workout? counter with > BUT, I recover fast for my next workout and perform better

Visualize positive states and with the powers of your imagination, you can overcome any doubts.

Two Quick Tips for a Perfect Freestyle

Keeping it simple, here’s two quick tips that will help your freestyle technique, and thus your swimming.

  • Head Position

Position your head correctly and your body will follow. Streamlined form means efficient swimming. Lift your head and your feet will drop. Leave your head too low and you create resistance with the heaviest part of your body.

Relax your head and neck. The water should break on your forehead. Look forward and down~45 degrees.

If you look too far forward it will put strain on your neck and cause your legs to drag.

  • Finish your stroke

When swimmers fatigue, the tendency is to shorten your stroke, finishing the pull by your hips rather than down your thigh. Each time you do that, you miss out on a significant portion of each stroke.

More strokes per length means more work. Don’t shorten your stroke, keep it long – both in front (by reaching) and behind by finishing the pull down your thigh.

You should feel the burn in your triceps as you work on this!


Swimming Workout: Kick-Swim

A quick kick/swim swimming set.

Say that ten times fast!
Warm up:
400 easy swim
2x 200 free long, smooth, steady, 20 secs rest

Main Set:
4 x 100  25 kick, 75 swim @ 10 secs rest
4 x 75     25 swim, 25 kick, 25 swim @ 10 secs rest
4 x 50     25 kick, 25 swim @ 10 secs rest
4 x 25     25 kick descending 1-4 to FAST @ 10 secs rest

Swim down: 200 easy swim/pull

Total: 2,000 meters

How did you do?

Mental Skills for Athletes: Goals

It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind, and forget to stop and look at the big picture.

Today – now! – check your long-term and season goals.

(You have these written down somewhere easily accessible, right?.)

How are you progressing towards your goals?
Do you need to change any of your habits or plans to achieve what you want?
Do you need to update any of your goals?

Every day, week, month, training block and season, we are hustling, hustling, hustling. In the never-ending race to the finish line, make sure you are doing the small daily things that will help you achieve your goals.


Swimming Workout: All Out!

Today we work on some fast swimming with fast, all out 50s. Give these 100% effort to get the body used to swimming fast and dealing with lactate. Too often swimming workouts consist of long, aerobic swimming; speed work is also important.

Warm up: 300 swim

Main Set:

8 x 75 as (1 x swim, Drill, Kick, Build) 20 secs rest
200 steady swim, even pace
4 x 100, 20 secs rest. Build through this set.
100 steady swim, even pace
4 x 50 100% effort. 45 secs rest (lots of rest to ensure high quality fast swimming on each 50)
100 steady swim, even pace
12 x 50 (25 100% effort, 25 easy) 30 secs rest

Swim down: 
3 x 100 easy

Total: 2,800 meters

Mental skills for athletes: Overcoming Disappointment

Disappointment often accompanies adversity.

Encountering adversity, likely means also meeting disappointment.

Always remember that the great athletes and competitors use difficulty and disappointment as motivation.

You can do the same.

Disappointment is tough, but brief. It will shall pass. Process it, let go quickly and move on.

Use it, learn from it and your next victory is around the corner.

Swimming Workout: Distance freestyle

Today we’ve got a block of aerobic freestyle. 2,100 total for the main set broken into blocks of different 300’s.


Warm up: 200 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull



Main Set:

6 x 50 pull, 10 secs rest, fast tempo

3 x 100 swim, 15 secs rest, moderate effort

2 x 150 pull, 15 secs rest, DPS

1 x 300 swim, 30 secs rest, negative split

2 x 150 pull, 15 secs rest, DPS

3 x 100 swim, 15 secs rest, moderate effort

6 x 50 pull, 10 secs rest, fast tempo
100 easy swim

16 x 25 swim, 15 secs rest, 25 easy, 25 fast!

Swim down: 200 easy swim

Total: 3,100 meters