How do you generate that spark whether new or reigniting an old flame? I recently pondered if I was going to get that spark back to swim again. Last Thursday like a bolt of lightning was the day I got that spark back. Today I’ll share what transpired with my hiatus from swimming and what happened to get my head back in the game. I think this is something you can relate to in some aspect of your life. I conclude the blog with five things to consider to – generate that spark.
There has been a theme building in my recent blogs, Resetting the Body & Mind and A Blast at St. Anthony’s Triathlon. As I shared there, part of competing successfully on a regular basis is to break things up during the year to refocus, target specific goals, prevent burnout and have fun doing it.
As I trained 5 1/2 months for the USA Duathlon National Championships, I placed swimming on the back burner purposely to focus fully on running and cycling. This worked out perfectly as the time I spent in the pool or Gulf of Mexico was traded for riding additional miles I baked into my training plan. That race is what I coveted most for 2019 so putting swimming to the side for this period was justified.
Unlike riding or running where I have “the want to” and “the need to” do both, that really hasn’t been the case for me with swimming on a regular basis. That was exacerbated this year with my commitment to duathlon specific racing. There was no need to swim other than for therapy for my body but the worst part was I simply didn’t care if I did. Going through my reset after duathlon nationals I need to make the commitment to swim for the summer triathlon season leading up to the USA Triathlon National Championships in August.
After coming back from Duathlon Nationals I decided to meet with U.S. Masters Swim Coach, Paul Smith, to discuss my goals, get some 1:1 time with him in the pool to assess my areas of opportunity, and agree on a plan of action forward. After one hour I was back. My head was in the game and I got that spark. Yay!!!
Oh my I have a lot of work to do but that in a big way was why I got that spark. I have specific things to work on, an overall plan, and belief. I’m not simply jumping into a pool or the Gulf of Mexico to get work in. I have a plan and I’m excited about it! I want to get to the pool…so cool.
Now I am realistic to know my swim will not get to the level of my bike and run (in the short-term) relatively speaking. I’m OK with that but I am committed to get my swim as good as I can get it and a lack of commitment and work will not be the reason I am not better.
Generate That Spark
I think it’s really hard to manufacture a spark but I do think there are ways you can cultivate your environment to help. These are five things I recommend to help develop that spark:
- Break things up – It’s difficult to be committed to something 24/7 year-round. Take some breaks to keep things fresh both mentally and physically. Do things that are different and fun.
- Meet with a coach – I don’t care who you are. We can all benefit from meeting with a coach to get better. Identify someone with expertise in your area of need. I chat with coaches in all disciplines regularly. Continuous learning… (Featured Blog photo with Coach and great friend Celia Dubey…as well as All World Athlete)
- Identify goals that are a stretch while being realistic. Having something to shoot for is tangible and motivating. Don’t fall in the trap of only creating goals that are results oriented. Create goals and milestones that lead to positive outcomes. Ex. I want to increase my swim speed by x seconds per 100 meters. I will do this by practicing x times per week following my plan. The result will be a faster swim at Nationals. Then put in the work. Don’t expect results without commitment to work...nothing is easy.
- Make it social – Meeting with a coach, talking with friends, family & peers, and actively participating with others gets the juices flowing.
- Insert accountability – Do what is comfortable with you but I do suggest committing to what you are going to do with someone or a few people that are 100% supporters of what you are trying to accomplish. This is your tight circle. If they are not 100% supporters or bring any negative energy your way I would recommend not sharing your goals and dreams. I love a phrase that has come so true to me over the last few years – “You can’t change your friends, but you can change your friends.” – You are your circle.
– Add Health to Your Life