My weeklong adventures in mind games took a distinct turn for the difficult
this morning, when I started thinking about how I didn’t want to swim today almost as soon as I got up.
I decided to follow a tip from Greg Dale, director of sports psychology and leadership programs for Duke Athletics, who I talked to earlier this week (for more of his tips, click here). Dale says athletes often obsess about races and workouts, and says it’s best to develop a plan for how they’ll deal with difficult spots in an event, then put the plan — and thoughts about the race — aside until a chosen time close to the event.
So here’s my plan:
I will swim 3,000 yards in the following workout: 3X 800 free w/pull buoy; first one easy, second one harder, third one w/seven hard strokes at the beginning of each 50.
After each 800, do a 200 IM; first one hard, second one easier, third one cool-down.
We’ll swim around 4 p.m. I will probably feel tired, and will want to obsess about this. If that’s the case, I’ll tell myself how good it will feel when I’m done, and how the swim will provide the perfect bridge between the work week and the weekend. But I’m not gonna think about that til 3:30 p.m. No use obsessing, right?
Helping my motivation: Knowing I’m swimming with my husband today. I worry about what might happen on this Friday without him around to keep me honest …
Also, I added a photo of Alberto Salazar to my motivation board, pictured above. Salazar apparently qualified for the Olympic team in 1980 after a two-month hiatus from running, relying on swimming as his primary activity following an IT band injury. His scowling (in this photo) face reminds me that if he can swim to keep his IT band healthy, I can, too.