Make one small change to your approach to goal-setting and say hello to a fitter, more motivated you. Elite swim coach Fred Vergnoux (who puts Spain’s top swimmers through their paces), reveals how his tips for achieving your goals – without losing motivation.
Setting and achieving goals
When it comes to achieving your goals, you need a specific plan – don’t come to the pool and just swim up and down because that’s what you’ve always done. Decide why you’re there, what you want to achieve, and each time you train, aim to improve either your speed, length or endurance.
To achieve your goals and maintain your motivation, aim to make one small change this week from the suggestions below:
Set clear goals – and be consistent
Decide on your goals and write them down. Let’s say you’re going to swim for 8 weeks, 3 times a week. The three sessions should have a common goal (e.g improve overall fitness), plus a goal specific to each (e.g improve your freestyle stroke count). You could do anything in these sessions, but the objective should always be the same. Aim to improve from one week to another one. So if your target is to improve your distance in the medley, your first session might be 200m. Then maybe the following week during your medley session you aim for 240m. It’s important to be really consistent.
Track your progress
Progress and improvement is motivating. You need to know yourself as a swimmer and what you’re achieving, so when you finish in the pool, get out and make notes. Record and monitor what you do so you can see you’re improving.
Keep things interesting by setting challenges
To achieve your goals, it’s good to add something challenging to your training. But a challenge isn’t necessarily something that is fast or tiring – it’s not related to energy or fighting or suffering. It could be anything on technique and stroke count, for example. Or it could be that every two weeks someone is going to film you swimming so you can see if you’ve improved your technique. Watching a video of your swim is a great way to see that you’re improving.
[Speedo tip: Our Speedo Fit app makes it easy to challenge yourself – just choose from a variety of virtual swim challenges and off you go. Try a short sprint across the Nile or a muscle-busting swim across the English Channel. You can also log your swims and track the distance you’ve covered, so you know you’re one step closer to achieving your goals.]
Add technique elements to every swim session
Better technique will help you swim more efficiently. For a well-rounded workout, incorporate technique work into every swim session, either as your main focus, or as part of your warm-up or your recovery.
Work hard at the gym
Non-pool based fitness work is very important and something all of my swimmers work on for hours every day. To achieve your goals, don’t rely simply on pool work. Fitness work outside the pool will improve what you bring to the water.
Mix it up for continued motivation
Vary what you do and when you do it. Perhaps you come to the pool and do 20 minutes stretching first. Or go for a run directly before your swim – you could find it pretty tough and have sore legs, but you might like the way it improves your fitness.
Finish with an efficiency test
Think about finishing one session every week with an efficiency test, where you count your strokes. It’s not hard, it’s not something you’re going to die from exhaustion doing, but it’s a challenge that you can work to improve upon.
Summary of the week
Missed last week? Read Fred’s blog on improving your breathing technique here.
Looking for more tips and advice? Our Speedo technique videos cover everything from body positioning to breathing and include demonstrations to help you achieve the perfect technique.