Suffering For the Swim

Most of us have that one discipline that is tough for them. Swimming is that discipline for me. It is my weakest discipline and the one that no matter how hard I work at seems to take forever to improve at. While my mantra of “I love swimming” and working hard to maintain an extremely positive attitude towards all things swim related it is the one aspect of triathlon that seems to bring the most amount of negativity. The few things that I struggle most with in finding a way to suffer in the pool as well as prevent boredom of swimming back and forth along the little black line at the bottom of the pool. With that I reached out to the wonderful square world of Instagram to hear from everyone how they prevent boredom and find ways to suffer in the pool; here is what everyone said.


Swim with people who are faster than you.

This was probably the most popular response and one that I would very much agree with. No different than biking, running, weight lifting, or whatever it is that is your passion when you do it with others who are faster or stronger than you it helps to bring you up to that stage as well. If there is a masters group that you can join it is a great option.

Swimming with other people can give you that sense of purpose that you may be missing. If there is a coach on deck it can be a great way to get some good tips to improve your form as well as keep you accountable.

Use an ipod and listen to music or podcast

Whether it be audio books, podcasts, or music the distraction and/or beat of the music can be a welcome towards distracting yourself from swimming. Music stimulates the brain by stimulating the formation of chemicals such as dopamine which then motivates the person. I have been swimming with an Audio Flood Ipod for about two years now and agree, it is one of the best ways to combat boredom. There is nothing like music to break the boredom.

Do Math

This was very funny to me, apparently a lot of people do math specifically fractions during their swim sets. Now I am not a math wizard, in fact I still use my fingers for almost all my addition and can’t live without a calculator. So I am unsure how this would work for me in that I would probably get lost :) Despite that I like the idea of keeping your mind occupied with something else as well as using it as a way to make your intervals seem more manageable.

Have a purpose for each set

Like a goal, purpose for each set helps to give you something to work for. This can be simple things such as focusing on your technique for a set, or variable speed for another. Sometimes I even just focus on a word during an entire set, while swimming does often frustrate me to no end the times where I have had fantastic swims is when I have had a purpose or even a mantra. Ironman Texas was one of the strongest swims I have had and I spent the entire swim repeating the same thing over and over, “this is my day”.

I hope these little tips help you to find some fun in the pool or at least make the suffering that much more enjoyable!!! I know that I will be employing a few of them


Passion. Faith. Strength