Truth: The first long-course practice….after months of short-course training….
Just. Feels. Horrible.
I’m a swim coach. I won’t lie to you. It’s just as painful to watch!
From my perspective, the first practice almost always leaves me wondering if I’ve been training you the last few months, or, simply asking you to do back-floats in the deep-end.
Oh the power of the distance between two simple walls.
But, it’s not just the change in lap-length that causes this shift to feel..so..drastic……..
Why? Well, it is well known that the body can adapt and become comfortable when a training routine remains boring and unchanged. The same can be said for the training environment. When you move outside (and into a 50-meter pool), your asking your body to maintain performance in a whole new training environment. The temperature, visual cues, lap-length and aerobic demands all effect the intensity and volume of your workout.
…..and let’s not even begin to talk about the effect of your mental status when approaching these challenges!
My suggestion: Slow down and embrace the change!
Seek out a workout that has enough volume that allows you to become familiar with the pool and it’s surroundings. Regulate your breathing by sticking to one breath for every three or five arm strokes. Add a little speed work and make sure to include some stroke work to round things out. My favorite main set includes somes 400s, 200 IMs and a few 50s with speed.
The switch from short-course to long-course doesn’t have to be painful and anxiety provoking. It is simply a change that needs to be embraced and fully experienced.
Keep on swimming,