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TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper
TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper

Self Fullfilling Prophecy

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanDec 19th 2013
We all get them. Email, Tweets, Facebook notifications with this week’s list of “top tips to improve your….” And I have to admit I always enjoy the “T-Time” email that Triathlon Europe send out every day. But what value is there in these lists/articles? For a start, they can be quite contradictory. I recently saw a “you must runs lots” piece followed a couple of days later with a “less is more” article, both from the same source. If you followed every bit of advice you would be chopping and changing and never see anything through. And I doubt anybody actually does this.

So, again, what can be gained from them? I recently read one that had tips to improve your swimming. And whilst I am still considering what both my short, mid and long term strategy should be for this I did find some useful information in this particular article. I can’t now find it but this was the jest of it:

Swim more often. 3 small sessions is better than 2 big ones.
Do drills at the beginning of every swim. The top swimmers do, it’s no coincidence.
Swim every day for a week. A short block of consistent swimming can give you a quick improvement.
Get rid of the bad swimmer mindset. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I can’t remember the last time I read something in an article and then actually went out and tried what was described. But I did with this one.

The first one is easy, I would be the first to put my hand up and say I don’t swim enough. I am a better cyclist and runner so when time is short I play to my strengths, rightly or wrongly. Being this is the off season this is an easy fix. With hardly any cycle training and all run training short and sharp it’s been easy to swim 3 or 4 times a week, even over the festive party season. Will be more of a challenge when back to full training.

The second one, drills, I only ever did these at the club swim. Now fixed. I do at least 500m of warm up and drill’s at the start of every swim. Is that enough? I’m not sure but it’s a start and is now a habit.

The third one, a week of swimming. With other life commitments this is difficult. Instead of abandoning the idea all together I will look to do blocks of 4 days whenever I can.

And the fourth one, removing the bad swimmers mindset. Not that people go around asking me if I am a good swimmer but when talking triathlon I have stopped saying I am a bad swimmer. When the lane gets hectic at the pool I don’t abandon the set. When looking at last season I reflect on the last few races where I swam better rather than some of the abysmal efforts in the mid season. The term I now use to describe myself is an improving swimmer.

Added to these I have forgotten the long term targets, which are not to be confused with the long term strategy of how to get these targets. For 2014 season the aim is to get down to 26 minutes for Olympic distance and 25 minutes in 2015. The current buzz term for this seems to be process goals, or accumulations of small gains if you like but call it what you will I am focusing on the 4 small improvements listed in that article and forgetting the bigger target for now.

Is it working? Yes. Gains in speed are tiny if any but I am holding the pace much better over distance. Even when I am tired and my arms are full of lactic acid. That, I think we can call a process goal.

So getting back to the original question, what can be gained from these articles? Whatever you want to gain from them.
 
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