We work hard all season to set ourselves up for success! Early mornings, daunting sets, pushing through the days we didn’t want to train, it is quite the journey!
You’re in the last month of training. A majority of the work is complete, but how should you “bring it home” and close out training? While we often focus on the pool aspects, let’s utilize some tactics outside of the pool!
Use a heavier weights and less repetitions from four weeks out to two weeks out.
A big key to focus on in the last month of training is getting recovered, while not losing strength and power. Often athletes fear using heavier weights during the last month of training. However, heavier weights can provide a lot of benefit in minimal repetitions. The intensity is kept high and the body is prepared to compete. The overall volume is kept low and recovery can continue to work its magic. At roughly two weeks out, I like to remove external resistance (dumbbells, barbells) and utilize bodyweight or banded movement the rest of the way.
- The increased intensity mimics race intensity.
- Maintaining power and strength headed into competition is critical.
- Focusing on form under load is a great tool to enhance mental focus in other areas of race prep.
Implement a breathing strategy!
This is probably the most under utilized component of competition prep. Use an abbreviated box breathing strategy to gain more control of heart rate and emotions.
Abbreviated box breathing:
- Inhale for three seconds
- Hold breath for three seconds
- Exhale for three seconds
- Pause with no breath for three seconds
This simple activity is underestimated for its power on controlling negative thoughts. When we start our taper, time is more abundant, we have more energy, and thoughts can run wild. Not only does box breathing allow you to get to a state of recovery faster, it is also masterful at quieting the mind.
Negative thoughts can cause musculature to be minimized in potential, so eliminating these thoughts is critical to success.
Visualize the race you want to swim!
Imagine being handed a test in class. A month before, the teacher handed you the answers to the test questions. How would you feel about your chances of passing the test?
Pretty good right?!
This is how powerful visualization can be for your swimming. The test is your race. The answers are revealed when you visualize your race.
Start with the day of the race. Think about your warm up and how good you’ll feel with all that rest. Think about the venue, the lights, the water and how it will feel, and how powerful each stroke will feel. Think about your strategy. Think about the small details. Think about finishing hard into the wall. Think about your goal time flashing up on the scoreboard.
Visualizing every piece of your race with great detail. Have each result be your goal time.
In school we reviewed a study involving a POW. He was stuck in a POW camp for over a year. Everyday he visualized his high school’s golf course and played 18 holes in his head. He thought about every shot, the trees, the wind, how the grass felt, and played it over and over again. He shot the same score everyday, a score far better than he ever shot on the course in person.
Luckily this POW would be freed. He returned to his high school golf course and played a round.
You guessed it! He shot the exact score he had visualized everyday.
Hopefully racing is not as stressful as bing in a POW camp. However, using visualization can can help every step of the competition process.
Have a race day plan!
How many times have you seen this scene. A swimmer gets in and warms up. Then they practice their best statue pose the rest of the time before the start of their race. You know the pose, arms crossed, hands tucked under arm pits, mind freaking out!
My mission: STOP STATUE SWIMMER SYNDROME!
Have a very thorough game plan for race day. No portion of the process should be a guessing game.
Do you want a resource to help with your warm up? Check out this resource below.
Last week we hosted a webinar on peaking for your next big race. If you’re looking for some extra help as you head into your next goal performance, check out the webinar! It is located under the Bonuses section of RITTER Masters.