How tracking your repetition aids peak performance.

“You follow a black line back and forth and end up in the same place you started, do you feel like you are getting anywhere?”  These were the witty words of my English professor during a college office visit where I was trying to understand what I needed to do to improve my essay writing skills and grade.

Instead of providing the advice I wanted, he began to ask me about the paradigm that was swimming.   At the time, I was caught off guard…I had never thought of my sport in that way.   What did he mean I end up in the same place I started? Maybe figuratively, but in reality this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I was determined to finish better each day than the day before.

While competitive swimmers do train countless laps back and forthin a season, they understand that repetition is the name of the game.  Repetition builds habits.  Good habits build successful races. The key to success is that the daily repetitive action should never be mindless swimming.  Good athletes recognize how good repetitive habits take them to a far different place than where they start.

But how do you know if your repetition is better than last week, or last month, or even last year?   Besides measuring your time at the championship meet—many swimmers do not know if they are on a good repetition track or not.

If something is important to you—you want to keep track of it.   If swimming is important to you, keep track.  Recording your repetition is the key to seeing how your efforts are paying off and how you can make  changes that will lead you towards your desired end of season finish. 

Take as little as five minutes each day to record what you have done, how you felt, and what changes you made to be better, faster, stronger.   As your log builds from week to week, you will see patterns that will help you with your current and future season.

Three quick ways to record your repetition:

  1. Have a journal, notebook, spreadsheet or logbook.  Whatever you use, make sure it is substantial and can last a season and is accessible so that you use it every day.

Example—using a swim log like The Ultimate Swim Log and Goal Planner, makes it easy to have a dedicated place to record as much or as little as you feel comfortable.

For example—Tues practice—did 2k—finally was able to hold .30s on repeat 50s.   

2. Make record keeping/logging easy on yourself.   Start with just a note of attendance.  If something significant also happened…quickly write that down. 

3. Set a short habit goal for the week, or season—and have it visible each time you record your workout.

For example—Goal: kickout past flags on all turns in practice this week.

Making this habit goal visible reinforces the intention and helps your brain re-wire to make this a habit.

There is no rule to how to log—except just to log something.   As you get used to making notes each day you will find it easier to write down more notes to yourself.

Aimee Schmitt, author of The Ultimate Swim Log and Goal Planner,  is a former USA Swimming National Team member, Stanford Swimming NCAA Team champion, and avid believer in logging and goal setting.

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