In the cooler autumn-winter months, finding the motivation to get yourself to the pool can be torturous!
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, in fact, I go through this dilemma every winter, and it never seems to get any easier.
Here are my top ten tips for getting motivated to start winter swimming, and then, to stay winter swimming!
1. Start today
Someone wise once said “Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today, because when tomorrow comes there’s always another tomorrow.”
If you want to get started, there’s no time like the present – Just do it.
2. Have a schedule
Pick one or two days (or more) that will be your swimming days, and stick to them.
This way you’ll always know when they are, and you won’t plan anything else in that time.
If you don’t have a schedule, it gets easier to double book, or for something else to pop up, giving swimming the bump.
3. Swim during the day
If possible, don’t leave your swim till the evening, it gets harder as the day goes by and it cools and if you’ve been eating lots of warm hearty winter meals.
If, like me, you’re not a morning person, then try and get to the pool at lunchtime, or swim during the day on the weekend.
4. Swim with a buddy
Having a friend to swim with is a great way to keep motivated, you’ll each be able to put pressure on the other to stick to your schedule.
Often you’ll find when one person is having a down day the other is on a high and will be the chief motivator.
5. Wrap up warm
Before you leave the house or office, make sure you’re wrapped up nice and warm.
I’ve often pulled out before getting to the pool simply because I let the cold get to me, but if you’re wrapped up warm it’ll be easier to get to the poolside, where it’s usually a lot warmer.
TIP: My favourite winter swimming accessory is a pair of Ugg boots!
6. Don’t muck around getting in
Once you’re at the pool, get ready and into the water as soon as possible.
Undress down to your swimwear and jump in without even blinking, that initial splash is the worst, but from the first stroke you’ll start warming up and it’ll be fine.
7. Try new things
Winter is a good time to try new things in the pool.
Maybe a new training set, some new training aids, like pull buoys or hand paddles, or a new breathing technique, like bilateral breathing.
It’s also the perfect time to have your stroke assessed and to work on technique. Because it’s new it’ll be interesting and fun and you’ll forget you’re there for the hard yards.
Need help with your training? Try our 1km & 2km online guided swimming training programs
8. Swim hard
The fastest way to heat up is to swim hard and really get that heart rate pumping. If you swim hard enough you can still sweat in the water which means your body will be nice and warm.
Just make sure you warm up first with at least a couple of hundred metres easy freestyle and don’t forget to drink water during your session.
9. Treat yourself
There’s nothing better after a swim session than a nice hot drink. For coffee lovers, that extra kick off caffeine is just reward, but hot chocolate will do the trick nicely.
10. Visualise summer swims
Every summer do you find yourself thinking you should have done more swimming during the winter to keep fit?
Have you always wished you were that little bit faster, or that you could beat a swimming mate? Well, winter is the best time to put in that extra effort which will pay off all during summer.
First published July 2012