You can do many positive and enjoyable things to help you prepare to get back into the water. Come back capable of training and performing BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE!
Work on Relaxation, Mindfulness and Visualisation.
Learn to meditate to improve the quality of your sleep and emotional well-being – check out Calm.com
Coach Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps detail the importance of visualising effectively and how it can help reach your goals.
Maximise the effectiveness of your training by preparing for your races through visualisation exercises. Chloe Sutton recommends practicing visualisation at least once a week to help you to get closer to your goals.
Imagine you are going to compete in your favourite event, at your favourite pool
You are in great physical condition; you have been awesome in training and you are confident of performing well.
As you leave the changing rooms:
• What are you wearing?
• A team tracksuit?
• A team tee shirt?
• What are you wearing on your feet?
As you enter the pool area:
• Looking around at the poolside/deck area.
• Observing the poolside/deck area.
• Looking at the viewing balcony/area.
• Smelling the chlorine from the pool.
• Feeling the warm and humid air.
• Looking at the swimming pool.
• What do the lane ropes look like?
• How many lanes are there?
• What do the starting blocks look like?
• What do the turn flags look like?
• Locating your teammates and coach and take your place on the poolside/deck awaiting your event.
• Where are you sitting?
• Who are you sitting with?
• What are you sitting on?
• As you begin your warm-up you feel the water flowing over your body.
• What is the temperature of the water, is it warm?
• Your stroke is long, controlled and smooth.
• As you finish your warm-up you feel strong, confident and relaxed.
Getting ready for your race:
• Several events before your race you should start to prepare for your race.
• What is your pre-race warm-up routine?
• You should have a quick pre-race chat with your coach, emphasising the objectives of the race.
• Then make your way to the whipping area, still feeling strong, confident and relaxed.
• What does the whipping area look like and what can you hear?
• Ensure you have your goggles and swim hat/cap.
• You walk from the whipping area, to take your position behind the starting block ready for your race.
• You watch the previous heat finish.
• Remove your shoes, tracksuit and tee-shirt.
• Now it’s your turn.
• You stand behind the starting block.
• You start to feel the adrenaline in your blood caused by the anticipation in the moments before the race.
• The starter then signals you to take to your starting block.
• You take a deep breath and step up on to the starting block.
• How does the starting block feel to your feet?
• On the starter’s signal, you take to your set position.
• Then you hear the starters gun/bleep.
• Driving strongly through your feet and legs, throwing your arms forward vigorously off the starting block.
• You enter the water in a tight streamlined dive.
• Your body slices through the water.
• What temperature is the water?
• You perform a strong underwater phase.
• Your breakout is perfectly executed, and you are smoothly into your stroke.
• You swim effortlessly and cut through the water, with great technique.
• Your head and body are in a perfect position.
• You have a strong leg kick.
• You have established a relaxed and effective breathing pattern.
• Swimming fast into the wall.
• You perform a great turn.
• Performing a great underwater phase, coming out of your turn.
• You perform a smooth breakout and continue to swim strongly.
• You can hear the audience and your teammates cheering you on.
• Increasing your lead.
• You maintain your speed into a great finish.
• Feeling the elation as you touch the wall and look up at the scoreboard.
• You see and hear the audience and your teammates cheering as you break a record and/or win the race.
Now let your mind go blank, keep your eyes closed, take several slow deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Return to your normal breathing pattern and open your eyes.