What I Think About When I Swim

A while back a friend of mine marveled at the fact that I was routinely swimming 40 laps or more during Ironman training.  One day he asked what I think about when I’m in the water for that long.  I had to think for a minute. 

He told me he was up to 10 or 15 laps and he thinks about all kinds of things while he’s swimming and comes up with some of his best ideas.  After a few minutes I told him I “think” I used to be that way, but now most of my thoughts are usually focused on breathing. In fact, I almost HAVE to keep my focus there or I will lose momentum and form goes to hell.  

Today, though, I have to admit New Orleans crossed my mind a few times.  It’s coming up quickly and I need to make serious love to the pool for the next couple months.  It’s not about making the swim as much as coming out of the water fresh and I am not even close. 

I swam about 20 laps and it wasn’t awful considering my last attempt in the pool. I didn’t feel wiped out, but I could tell my body was saying, “What the hell was that BS you just put me through?!?” 

It’s amazing how quickly you lose your swim shape.  My arms felt a little weak, so I really focused on using my core.  I know just enough about swimming to be dangerous, but it reminded me that the core is king.  Not only in swimming, but bike and run. 

When you are throwing and pulling your arms with your back and core it is a lot easier on your arms and breathing.  I don’t really see my natural swim getting much faster than a 1:50/100 meters, so I want to figure out the most efficient way to hit that number. 

The plan from here is simply to spend a lot of time in the pool.  So much of swimming is feeling comfortable and that’s the easy goal. 

So, yeah, I guess I understand letting your mind wander while you swim, but it has never worked for me.  It becomes more of a meditation where I clear the mind rather than put stuff in.  I do this on the bike and run, too, which I think ultimately makes me a better racer. 

I’m actually really curious to know what, if anything, you think about in the pool. 


6 thoughts on “What I Think About When I Swim

    1. Mike Post author

      That’s a good idea… and I guess you will just swim more than you thought if you lose track. I can count 50s pretty well if I’m doing sprints with rest 🙂


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