Sunday, June 1, 2008

Assigning Value

We have begun training again for our 4th and final block of the season. Our high school NCS and CCS championships are in the rear view mirror and we are looking clearly down the road to the California State Sectionals in late July in Bakersfield and then to the US Swimming Nationals in Minneapolis in August.

Our training has naturally changed from taper to work. We as coaches love this. The swimmers have other feelings! Many like the "burn" associated with increased work loads accompanied by lactic acid. The feeling of nausea that comes from maximal exertion is another "good thing - bad thing" as well. And then comes dealing with occasionally slower practice times as the work load ramps up. This is followed perhaps by doubt. Doubt is never a positive sign. We have had a few swimmers this week wonder if they are "alright" because their practice times are slower, or it takes more effort to do a certain time than it did a couple of weeks ago. Some have said they feel weaker.

The normal cycle of training, adaptation, recovery and finally improvement is in progress. What is critical to adjusting to this cycle is making sure you don't assign too much value to the times you swim either in practice or meets that take place when you are training at a high level of effort. Some days are simply better than others. There are all kinds of reasons (not the same as excuses - which we do not allow to enter the conversation, not on our pool deck!) why this happens; fatigue from the end of school year and final exams. A new job, a move, a change in address and change in living situations all make for stress and that can make for slower training performance. If you have recently ramped up to a new level of training, perhaps because you are more motivated, you will find slower practice times occasionally part of the process.

Not to worry. The cycle is working. If you train, then adapt by building in recovery time, you will see improvement in your practice times. Then if you go to a meet or open water swim, or triathlon you will get improved results as well.

Enjoy your training. If you race, make certain you enjoy that as well. If it isn't fun, why bother? Let us know what you think. Go to the pool today. Get out the door and go!

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