More mind games pre-Bay Bridge Swim

Man! Motivation is hard to harness!

I seem to feel it intensely at the most unfortunate moments: When I see a runner while driving, I want nothing more than to hop out of the car and join her. When I get home — eh. When I talk to friends about my next race, I get so excited, I want to leave whatever social engagement I’m at and go train for it. When it’s just me and the pool, or me and the road — eh.

Regular blog readers know I’ve struggled mightily to find motivation to train for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim One-Mile Bay Challenge on June 14 (as in, less than two weeks from now). I trained hard and finished well last year, which has actually been problematic — I don’t have the fear factor I did last year, when I wasn’t sure I could do it without getting picked up by a kayaker.

Here’s what helped me get my groove on in the pool yesterday:

I had a plan. I decided before I hit the pool that I’d do a 20-minute timed swim, then alternate 300 free with 200 IM until I reached 3,000 yards. All freestyle done with a pull buoy. I also decided I would lift, using the Bosu balance trainer for legs and abs. I even printed out my intended workouts — not because I couldn’t remember them, but because I needed to keep myself honest.This helped immensely, as I didn’t just show up and do what felt comfortable.

I held myself accountable. It’s one thing to do a 20-minute timed swim. It’s another to know how many yards you squeezed in three weeks ago (1,225), and want badly to beat that. I checked my watch when I hit the 500 mark to find that 11 minutes had passed. Gah! I picked up the pace — so much so, I worried I’d somehow reset the timer. I got in a 1,450 with a pull buoy, which made me very happy.

I got my head in the right place before I started. I work at home, which means I have the blessing of setting my own schedule. Like most blessings, this is also a curse. When no one tells you when to start and stop working, you sort of feel like you should NEVER stop working, and I feel an incredible amount of guilt when I take time to drive to the pool, put in a workout and then drive home. Yesterday, I decided that if all I’m going to do is feel guilty about my workout, it’s pointless to even do it. That permission reset something in my head.

I fed off others’ positivity. After whining to Steve for weeks about how I’ve sabotaged my chances of a fast finish at the Bay Bridge Swim with months of lackadaisical training, he pointed out that, yes, I swam more leading up to last year’s swim, but I’m in better overall shape this year thanks to stepping up my running a bit. I decided to take this as expert advice,  and to believe it absolutely. Who knows? It might even be true.

Next up: a Pacers run tonight. It’s a long version of one of my favorites, the Historic Seminary Loop. I’m a bit apprehensive, as my hip hasn’t quite bounced back the way I’d hoped. I’m icing and stretching it compulsively, and am considering getting a massage from these guys in Silver Spring who do Active Release Therapy. I’ll keep you posted …

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “More mind games pre-Bay Bridge Swim

  1. Great post! I struggle so much with motivation too. I’m inconsistent in my runs, but I’m working on it. I find if I’m not signed up for a race I back off on the running. Good luck on Bay Bridge!!!

  2. youngrunner

    You could not have been any more accurate with your description of motivation. Know that you’re not alone on that!

  3. Before you know it you’ll be motivated to get what you need to get in for the Bay Bridge Swim… even though you’re kinda running out of time. At this point you’ve done what you could do… and that’s what matters! I’m sure you’ll show the swim who is boss!

  4. I had to take a couple of weeks off running due to injury and would do the same thing! Every time I saw a runner when driving I was so jealous. I started swimming to keep my cardio up when not running but it just wasn’t the same. I enjoy nice weather too much I think.

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