How to get your butt into gear and your momentum started

Well it is October 1st here dowunder and as the sun is rising earlier and earlier that means Summer is just around the corner and…

The triathlon and open water swim season is soon upon us.

Heading into my 3rd year as Head Coach I am really excited for the 50 swimmers who will be joining me for the 16-week Kirbyswim Rottnest Channel 20km Marathon Solo Squad 2012 starting November 3rd 2011.

What black line?

One question I get asked most often is: “Shelley how do you not get bored swimming up and down that black line?” “What did you think about?”

My answer: “What black line?”

Honestly I never did get bored at a swimming workout. I never had the time to. How could I. I had so much happening around me (in the pool) and inside my head, to ever say “that was the most boring 10km practice of my life coach!”

So how did I do it?
It is all about focus, preparation and planning.

one focused marathon swimmer!

If you are training without a coach, either by yourself or with your buddies, it’s a good idea to allocate a different focus for different days of the week of your training program.

Allocate a different focus for the different swim workouts of the week. Such as stroke technique day, aerobic day, speed day, heart rate day, time trial,  Open Water Swimming Skills.

In the Open Water Swimming Skills workout you can focus on different skills within this session. Eg sighting, drafting, pack swimming, waist depth starts, swimming with eyes closed for 4-5 strokes (to practice acclimatising to not seeing the bottom in a lake, river, dam or ocean).

To maintain the swimmer’s engagement for the duration of the 16-week Rottnest Channel Swim program  as Head Coach I split the 16 weeks into sections. This not only keeps the swimmers up to date on the program but helps them understand why they’re feeling what they’re feeling whether deflated, lacking motivation or struggling. This will also help their focus and motivational levels.

Have you noticed that the momentum you have when start your week, your year or even your day has a big impact on the results you achieve?

It’s momentum – the impelling force or strength – that gets things happening. The fabulous thing about momentum is that once it starts rolling, its takes a lot to stop it. But the trick is to get that momentum started in the first place.

Has your momentum for your upcoming triathlon or open water swimming sesason started yet? Or are you still in holiday mode (for those in the northern hemisphere) or in couch potato mode (downunder) with all the excuses under the sun to not don a swimsuit and get wet yet? You don’t need momentum for your busy work, as we all attend to that naturally – too naturally most of the time.

We need momentum to get started on the important tasks of our swimming training that is going to have an impact on our race day but unfortunately they get shoved to the side while we work on what we think is important … called procrastination.

How you train is how you race!

So how can we get you started?

First off you need to look at your days and rearrange them to make time for open water swimming skills training! And why do I say this is the first step?  Because I know the first thought that will pop into you head is, “I don’t have time to work on my open water swimming skills, I wish I did.”

So here it is folks – the new way to approach for the upcoming sesason:

1. Get out your diary, calendar, blackberry  or iphone: and count how many weeks it is til the big day – Ironman, Rottnest Channel (20 weeks I know that one!), 1/2 Ironman, women’s triathlon etc.

2. Decide when and where you will train. If it is still too cool to not be cool to train at your local beach or river then check out your local swimming pool.

3. Decide how many times you will swim each week

4. Now break up the total amount of weeks into batches

5. Decide what the focus of each batch is eg foundation, areobic, time trial, hell week (ie. mileage week), power, strength

And if you are still stuck and need some guidance email me at with your queries.

Shelley Taylor-Smith

PS: OWSMastery Clinics, Squads and Rottnest Coaching will be launched on Monday October 3rd. Check for the schedule and how to register. Look forward to seeing you soon!

PPS: If you have not already download the first chapter for free of my biography, “Dangerous When Wet – The Shelley Taylor-Smith Story” or purchase both ebook and hard copy to help you say “What Black Line?”

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