Well the pools are closed!
What a bummer, if you are reading this I imagine you are in the same position as most of my athletes were; full bore build up to the racing season and in the midst of heavy training. With no open water available at least in Canada, people are searching for alternatives in the form of cordz, vasa trainers or/and weight programs. Personally, I think all of these things are fantastic, however keep in mind they are not a replacement for swimming. That it means do not try to replicate an entire swim practice using cordz or a vasa trainer as you will probably end up injured.
The pool allows for rotation and natural body movements, where the vasa trainers and cordz don’t have that same freedom. Additionally, water is a much different type of force than cordz/vasa trainers are. If you are running a dryland program with Cordz or Vasa Swim Trainer start slow, try to rotate when performing swimming motions and be cautious.
Something I haven’t seen a lot on is the discussion surrounding the mental side of forced time off. I initially put out a cordz based program to give my athletes something to do and to help ease the anxiety of not being able to train after putting so many hours into building for a race. But I didn’t comment on the mental and now I think it's necessary.
- Everyone is in the same boat as you.
- It sucks!
- Prepare for the worst, no one knows how long the pools will be closed. So why not plan for 4-6 months of closures mentally and if they open sooner great!
- All the hard work you did in the pool in terms of developing technique changes, strength and feel will stay to a certain extent. It's always easier to get back to where you were in the water rather than learning from scratch. Your work wasn’t wasted just the timeline may be adjusted a little.
Are there some benefits?
- When the lakes warm up, you are going to get a lot of open water swimming in!
- After a longer period out of the water you will have a fantastic opportunity to reset your technique. The first few weeks after a long layoff are the best time to make stroke adjustments and have them stick around.
- Have time to miss the water! After 2 months of not swimming I bet you will miss it and that’s great as you will be excited to hop back in. *** If you hate swimming message me and I will get you a preview of our e-book chapter on how to love the water ***
What you can do mentally?
- Focus on the things you can do, like cordz, core and strength. Do a bike/run focused block of training. Talk to your coach and adjust your program so you can take advantage of this time.
- Learn more about swimming! Watch videos, get a video analysis done, take a coaching course or read a book on technique.
- Watch a motivational sports movie. My personal favorite is anything about Steven Prefontaine. But if you know me, you know I am a sports junkie, and love any movies about sports and beating the odds.
The situation isn’t ideal but accepting it and the limitations are just part of being an athlete at this time. Don’t dread it, stay positive and become a better athlete in the ways you can.