This was my grandmothers response whenever I said to her “Flossy, I’m bored”.
As with most impactful moments, this comment resurfaces as I moved through my life. Every time I start to feel a little bored with my swimming my grandmother’s words chime in my head. Am I really such a bore when I don’t feel like swimming 3000m in a 25m pool (back and forth, back and forth)?
Well perhaps, but being a ‘bore’, if handled right, can unleash many new insights and possibilities.
What I have discovered is that boredom really is an exciting time. If you really lean into it, it can become an opportunity. You can take a risk and make a change, or you can change your attitude. I never like when people suggest I just change my attitude because if it was that easy boredom would never actually be a THING. So, I choose to take a risk and change.
Everyone will approach boredom/burnout differently as we are unique in our personalities and our approach to challenges. Whether you have an analytical type mind and get really excited about numbers and graphs and projections, or you are more of the type who like to go with the flow and get distracted easily, we can all hit that wall of lane swimming blah, or in the case of open water swimming, that feeling of ‘on the road to nowhere’.
How do we move past this? How do we inject some renewed excitement into our swimming?
We can try one or two of the following suggestions:
- Pick a challenge event/race to train for - Just train for fun - Add technical focus - Remove technical focus - Change scenery - Join a swim group/swim with a friend - Get a new swim suit - Get some new gadgets - Don’t use your gadgets
As you can see what moves one person into a new and exciting realm will be different from person to person. What is common, however, is change. Change is a beautiful thing and can unleash so much more than we could ever imagine from our steady state or ‘comfort zone’. We don’t grow by keeping things safe, we grow by meeting our challenges.
Change can also be scary and unsettling. It means getting out of your comfort zone, stepping into something that is not familiar or perhaps something you may even fail at. It can take you into a place of unknown that you just don’t have the control that you are used to. Getting past this fear and seeing the opportunities on the other side can open you up to improving on your swim goals and adapting in ways you may not have considered.
Change can create a platform for positive and creative thinking (i.e. how can I do this set differently so it doesn’t feel so mundane?) Mix up your pattern and don’t be afraid to take that side route from your intended path. Even if you are focusing on a particular event, or time achievement, veering off your path once in a while doesn’t have to be harmful to training goals. In fact it can add perspective, which is something that so often gets lost when we are tunnel vision focused.
How we respond to boredom is our choice. When boredom speaks to you pay attention and observe (what do you feel, what are you thinking, what needs to change). Embracing this very real part of swim training can help you to move past it. The discoveries on the other side of boredom are the gifts of a renewed enthusiasm.