Friday, February 17, 2012

5 weeks down, 5 to go!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all having a great week. Obviously we're now only 8 sleeps away from the 2012 Rottnest Channel Swim and as usual I'm getting pretty excited about that. I'm sure you are too! I plan to send out some more Rotto-specific tips early next week on injury management, pacing, swap-overs for teams and duos and also nutrition. Today though, I've felt inspired to write more about how we're all getting on with our little 10-week CSS Development challenge.

Listening closely to feedback in and around the sessions, I've been hearing varying responses from:

  1. I'm loving the challenge - it feels great to have small goals!
  2. I'm over this - when is swimming going to be fun again?!
  3. Do we really need to have goal times all the time?!
  4. I just can't hit those times anymore and it's a bit off-putting!
  5. I can't believe how much better / quicker I am swimming now compared to 5 weeks ago!
  6. So-and-so seems to be making more improvement than me - why is that?!
  7. I think it's great that this rolls over past Rotto - it'll encourage me to keep swimming and not let go of all this fitness I have right now!
  8. Do you really expect us to be able to hold that pace for 1000m?!
  9. What will we do when the 10 weeks is over?
  10. I love (or hate!) not knowing what is coming up in the final 1000m on a Wednesday / Friday.

...clearly, there is wide ranging opinion on this little challenge just as there is a wide ranging level of ability, Swim Type and personality within the squad currently, and no one particular view-point seems to correlate to a particular group of swimmers within a particular squad. Of course not, you're all individuals with differing opinions and differing perspectives with different goals and aspirations at the end of the day.

What I am hoping is that this challenge has brought a slightly new perspective on training specifically to your current fitness level and striving to eek out that extra little bit from you each week in a progressive manner. Whether you make all the times or not is not the point (I've certainly had some monumental blow-ups in the last 5 weeks trying to do the same exercise as you guys!) but that we are slowly and surely moving forwards.

This morning was a classic example. In the 5.30am session there were a (LOT) of sour looking faces when I mentioned that we'd be doing 1000m at the end of the set - "we can't do that!" was heard more often than "what time is it Mr Wolf?" at Jackson's daycare! In telling yourself that you couldn't do it, you had already given up on yourself. I didn't expect it was going to be easy, nor did I even know if it would be possible for all of you, but for some in the group it was, and for those swimmers big PBs were seen - well done to you! The 6.30am crew had the benefit of knowing how the 5.30am crew had responded and correspondingly with a stronger "I can do it!" perspective set about doing some fantastic times almost across the board.

Sure it's a challenge and sure it's a real pain in the bum when that little beeper gets in front of you, but in a funny way it's also quite addictive too - we all want to know that we can improve ourselves and however you take this challenge I hope that you can see it in a good light and one that at the very least has seen 100% of you swim faster times in training than you were doing 5 weeks ago. That little increment of just 0.5% per week is doable and whilst I am sure some of you now feel like you are plateauing off a touch (I personally feel like this too if knowing this helps?!), others of you are just looking stronger and better each week. Good work. 

And at the end of the day guys, it's just training...have a crappy day and take it with a pinch of salt, move on and move forwards, never dwell on the bad ones (hypocrite alert! HYPOCRITE ALERT! Yes, this has arguably been one of my own failings in the past, but I'd like to think I'm getting as the years and wrinkles go by!).

Have a great weekend and forget about the numbers! ;-)


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