Was your local swimming pool closed for the past months? Maybe an injury has been keeping you away from the pool? Or perhaps you have just recently moved close to a swimming centre?
No matter what has kept you away and now brought you back to the water, there are a few things to consider before diving headfirst into the deep end. Whether it has been months or years, going back to swimming laps after a long hiatus should be done mindfully to avoid getting injured or losing your motivation from the start.
Here is your chance to get back into shape as quickly and safely as possible.
Manage your expectations
Dipping your feet back into the water for the first time after a long break might feel like a relief but don’t be surprised if those first few laps feel somewhat uncomfortable.
The most important thing is to mitigate your expectations to avoid getting discouraged from the get-go. It would be unrealistic to expect yourself to beat your lap time on your first attempt or to suddenly have mastered the perfect crawl after months out of the pool. Set yourself achievable goals which motivate you to get your condition and technique back on track.
Don’t neglect your warm up
After a long time away, it is important now, more than ever, to get your warm up in before any swimming session. Even if you are just planning on squeezing in half an hour of swimming into your day, warming up is key to making your return to the water as smooth and safe as possible.
This is your opportunity to put all odds in your favour and prepare your body for what is to come, no matter how out of practice it may be. Sports like swimming which require high levels of coordination and flexibility benefit greatly from some light stretching to loosen up your muscles. It would certainly be a shame to get injured on your first day back in the water.
Fix those bad swimming habits
Having some time off from swimming can be a great opportunity to leave behind some bad habits and work on improving your technique from the onset. Before getting frustrated with yourself, focus on adopting the correct posture and movements before you even have time to recover your old style. This will make your progress that much more enjoyable and worthwhile and leave you feeling even more confident than when you first left the pool.
Track and celebrate your progress
The key to any progress is a positive mindset. Try not to get too hung up on your past stats and performances, constant comparison will only contribute to your impatience and distract you from your goals. Recognising your achievements along the way will help you stay motivated and keep you enjoying this wonderful sport. After all, if you have been able to achieve your goals once, why not a second time?
Be consistent with your training
No matter at what level you left off, returning to it and progressing takes time and dedication. Whether you feel uncomfortable with your technique or are struggling to catch your breath on your usual set of laps, do not be afraid to take things slower. What matters more than the number of hours you spend in the pool on your first week back is how consistent you are being with your training over the long term.
Scheduling regular swimming sessions is the best way to regain your confidence after a long break from the pool. Keeping a mental or physical record of your progress can help you contextualise your performance and help you identify areas which still need improvement. As always, slow and steady wins the race.
Hire a private swimming instructor
Whether you have just recovered from an injury or simply have not had access to a pool for a while, there is no quicker way of regaining your confidence and improving your technique than with the help of a professional by your side.
A private swimming instructor can help you once again feel comfortable in the water by helping you adjust your technique and respond to any worries you may have. Private swimming lessons are also a great way to ensure that you are staying consistent with your training and can help you set personalised goals adapted to your abilities.