Getting in the pool on a regular basis — like 4 or 5 days a week — requires a certain amount of discipline. It is easy to think: “My Channel attempt isn’t for another 2.5 years; missing today won’t really matter in the long run.” Although that may be true, do I really want to be in the middle of the English Channel thinking: “Man, I wish I had swum more consistently back in my base-training phase”? I don’t think so. At the end of the day, it requires mental toughness to get to the pool even when I don’t necessarily want to. That’s one type of mental toughness.
Another type of mental toughness is required once I get to the pool. Swimming, good swimming, requires mental toughness and an amazing amount of focus. It’s very easy just to get in the water and go through the motions. It is a whole other thing to focus on each stroke, length, lap, set, workout.
Swimming is far from a “mindless” sport. For example, I will focus on various things, both large and small, during each workout. How’s my hand entering the water? Does my arm follow? Do I reach far enough or too far? How about my catch…does my thumb hit my hip at the end of the catch so I get maximum power? What are my legs doing…am I kicking in both directions (up and down)? You see what I mean?? Although I do not think about all these things all the time, I do concentrate on at least one during every swim stroke.
After getting to the pool today, and focusing on the things that are important to my swim stroke, I reached a milestone. For the first time, I swam for 5,000 yards. I felt proud of myself for reaching this milestone when my swim was done. I felt proud of my focus and mental toughness this morning during my swim. Now, I’m sure during my journey, I’ll look back and (hopefully) laugh at the fact that I’m “proud” of swimming 5,000 yards. That laughter is for a later time; not for today.
Until next time: Stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to achieve them!