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View Full Version : How not to get bored swimming lap after lap without stop?



ddl
June 30th, 2009, 12:51 AM
Some of you swim like 3km or 10km without stop. It's good feat, but even when I swim for 200m I get bored, so I wonder how come you don't get bored immersing yourself underwater doing the same basic thing repeatedly for an hour or more? If I walk long distance I can still have views to look, but swimming in a 25m pool??

Couroboros
June 30th, 2009, 01:17 AM
I've heard tile counting is a pretty good medicine.

For me, I'm always thinking about my technique. There's so many things to think about that I haven't gotten to a single point in any of my swimming where I realize, "Hey, I'm swimming perfectly..." There's always so many things to improve or that require diligently conscious maintenance and execution.

And if I don't want to think about technique, I do breath control. That always make things interesting- seeing how many lines I can pass before I just need to turn my head for some air.

srcoyote
June 30th, 2009, 03:00 AM
Some days, it's feeling the water.

Some days, it's the SwimP3 player.

sydned
June 30th, 2009, 07:51 AM
And some days, it's boring.

When I'm not focusing on my technique--which is always in need of improvement--I think about the swims I am getting ready for, things I've seen on previous swims, other places I've been swimming. For example, I just spent 10 days in South Korea, swimming in a 30-meter pool at our hotel, overlooking the city of Seoul. That memory will carry me for a bit.

I also find it's the time I come up with some of my best work ideas. I own 2 retail stores and all of my window display ideas come when I'm swimming--the longer the distance the better.

Animal
June 30th, 2009, 08:06 AM
Like others, I think about technique. I watch the clock to see how my pace is. I think about life and much of the time I am just feeling the water as I swim. It is a very peaceful feeling. I find it is very relaxing and refreshing. My mind is always at a much better place when I swim. May be this is a zen thing. Boring, mix up what you do. Swim different lengths. Instead of a 200, try a 225 or 175. Instead of a 500, do 550s and so on... For some swims, say a 500, swim the first 150 free, second 150 back, third 150 breast and last 50 fly.

Last, if you can swim in the open water that will not be boring.:)

meldyck
June 30th, 2009, 08:46 AM
Last, if you can swim in the open water that will not be boring.

Especially if there are man-eating predators in the neighborhood.

Hoosier
June 30th, 2009, 08:52 AM
During one thirty minute swim recently completed, as I touched the wall at the end, I knew exactly how I felt concerning the priviatization of social security, as I had worked thru it the last 20 minutes of my swim. I have a hard time concentrating on stroke technique etc the entire time...I think I am just relaxed and therfore just zoning out.:bliss:

CreamPuff
June 30th, 2009, 10:04 AM
In doing some distance training last summer, I did the long *boring* sets with lots of other swimmers on a team. I was actually never bored. In surrounding myself with people much better than I, I was fascinated by watching what they did to go so fast. Each long set had multiple purposes. The intervals were always changing so you actually had to think about when you would be leaving next; your speed would need to vary to make the intervals; some parts of the set would be descend or build; some parts would be active recovery so you could focus on DPS and stretching it out. A great coach can come up with some very creative sets. I found that the time would fly by. . .

lefty
June 30th, 2009, 10:25 AM
During one thirty minute swim recently completed, as I touched the wall at the end, I knew exactly how I felt concerning the priviatization of social security, as I had worked thru it the last 20 minutes of my swim. I have a hard time concentrating on stroke technique etc the entire time...I think I am just relaxed and therfore just zoning out.:bliss:

That is exactly what I do too, solve most of the world's problems. I am shocked that no one has asked me for advice.

Another thing one can do is check splits. Especially if you are doing a 3000 straight. Which I actually doubt very many people on this board do. I mean what is the point of doing that?

onefish
June 30th, 2009, 10:52 AM
Sometimes it's the untransmitted mental equivalent of Twitter.

Sometimes I compose the day's first rush of correspondence.

Sometimes it's ideas about new photoshop techniques for renderings.

Sometimes I think about what's going to be for breakfast.

Sometimes I watch the other swimmers in the workout.

I try to keep count accurately....but get lost occasionally.

A stimulating set, perhaps with fartlek-type speed changes, is useful.

ourswimmer
June 30th, 2009, 10:57 AM
In doing some distance training last summer, I did the long *boring* sets with lots of other swimmers on a team. I was actually never bored.

I concur 100%. I get bored swimming by myself even if I make up a complicated set. But swimming with a team is not boring.

Anyway, the only time I swim 3K or more without stopping is in an OW race, in which I have plenty to think about as I cover the distance.

Hoosier
June 30th, 2009, 11:04 AM
I agree... I seldom do more than a 200 as part of a set..most every day is timed interval swimming..... just do a 30 minute swim about every three months... long swims in open water are never boring... I am usually trying to stay out of peoples way and keep head above water.

Bobinator
June 30th, 2009, 11:08 AM
Sometimes it's good to not think.
The feel of the water, physical exertion, and being alone helps me to decompress and become a decent human being again.

Another suggestion: You need to do more than just swim laps.
Interval training (with or without at team) is not a bit boring. You can challenge yourself in more ways than I could ever list.
Stroke drills are good for breaking up long workouts too.

Try to declare what your goals for swimming are, then create some interesting ways to achieve them!
Have fun!
ps....I know alot of people who swim with music (headsets) and claim it breaks up the monotomy. They claim they are easy to use and stay in place very well.

humanpunchingbag
June 30th, 2009, 12:29 PM
Some of you swim like 3km or 10km without stop. It's good feat, but even when I swim for 200m I get bored, so I wonder how come you don't get bored immersing yourself underwater doing the same basic thing repeatedly for an hour or more? If I walk long distance I can still have views to look, but swimming in a 25m pool??

What would possess you to "just swim laps"? Interval training will keep you engaged, challenge you, and likely get far more accomplished in a shorter time block as compared to metronomic, empty laps.

I watch the guys that do the mindless laps: they invariably do far less meters than I, swim far slower, and really appear to be miserable, bored and unchallenged.

If you want to train like this, would it not be more appropriate to take up treadmill running and develop a rich and fulfilling fantasy life? At least that way you have no chance of drowning.

Daviewise
June 30th, 2009, 03:13 PM
I swim about a mile's worth of "just laps" during my lunch break sometimes and am never bored. Usually just getting out of the office is reason enough to rejoice, but if I feel like I need something to do, I usually practice a foreign language. Count strokes in German, then in Spanish, then in French, etc... It's actually a lot of fun and helps get me ready for my next trip!

nkfrench
June 30th, 2009, 03:50 PM
I sneak in looks at the paceclock and figure out my splits. I focus on my technique and feel for the water. I try out little adjustments and see if they feel better, worse, or just different. I watch how other swimmers swim, compare speed and technique and see if I can match or exceed their pace. If I get bored I'll try different breathing patterns.

But mostly I just construct my workouts so I am doing intervals with no more than 400m per repeat, not long nonstop stuff. I like to do IM in my sets and do some kick sets. Usually an hour or two goes by quite quickly.

If I just try to distract myself, I don't have much of a sense of accomplishment. My technique definitely can use the work - drills are a fine idea, but you have to incorporate it into "real" swimming to be of any use.

bamueller
June 30th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Yesterday I swam 3,100 yards for time. I was so busy trying to keep count that I don't recall thinking about anything else. It was boring, but felt great. I am usually focused on my intervals, so I don't get bored.

Sometimes I focus on solving a problem at work. Other times it's technique, or singing a song in my head.

gigi
June 30th, 2009, 04:56 PM
Like a lot of the previous posters, I am never bored by lap swimming. I guess I don't see each lap as exactly the same - there's always something different. (And I never ever ever swim for more than 500meters at a pop, even in a workout of 5,000 meters.) Either I'm noting how close I am to being warmed up, or I'm focusing on my stroke, or I'm thinking about some little thing going on with my body position or my breathing. Every lap is different and has something going on to engage me.

Though it seems counter-intuitive, focusing on the swimming more makes it less boring.


There are days though when I just go into "space-out" mode and I just count my strokes or spell out words or recite poems in my head or listen to my breath. WHen I was a kid in school, I would conjugate my latin verbs - the rhythmic chanting was calming and distracting.

I guess it's like anything else, how you feel about your laps is largely in your hands...if you think it's boring, it's boring. If you make it interesting, it's interesting..."there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so"

ddl
June 30th, 2009, 05:40 PM
Wow, didn't know one can do so much while swimming laps! It's giving me great motivation to train for long distance so that when I become good at it (a far future), like many of you, I will perhaps be able to think of research problems while swimming. It sounds like for someone who can swim long distance at ease, swimming is just like walking: you can think about all sorts of things and problems.

Would be nice if some Nobel prize winner got his ideas while swimming :D

I'm sure open water swimming is not boring. In fact even swimming in a 1km pool will not be boring to me since I'll always be swimming forward to where I have not been. What is boring to me is to turn back and swim the same 25m over and over again... :shakeshead: I can also lose count...

orca1946
June 30th, 2009, 06:35 PM
I try not to think of important things. I go to a calm place & relax - work on stroke & have fun.:bliss:

bridge5
June 30th, 2009, 10:06 PM
Sing underwater. Or hum. But, usually, sing... no SwiMP3. I'd like to think it's helped my breath control and built lung capacity -- don't know -- just excuses, really, to do what I want to do anyhow. I've also been guilty of being so "one with the water" that I've fallen asleep on many occasions, only to have coaches yell at me on long swims when everyone else stops but me (autopilot). Not the best way to work on technique, but on the other hand, I certainly wasn't bored!

guppy
June 30th, 2009, 11:23 PM
Focusing on technique; I find it takes lots of concentration. And in a group workout, there is a lot else to think about, like where I am in the queue, am I making the intervals, and trying to remember (it's not that easy!) what the heck the number on the pace clock is supposed to be when I'm supposed to start the next rep. Swimming on my own there is more potential for monotony, and so I try, at least, to tighten up the intervals and suffer a little extra. It's tough to get bored when I think about how much I love swimming. My worst times aren't times of boredom but the off days when almost nothing feels right and I just can't seem to hit the splits I ought to be doing.

frankiej
July 1st, 2009, 06:14 AM
Think about the cute life guards...ahhh, I mean technique :D

androvski
July 1st, 2009, 07:16 AM
Try swimming in a 50m pool. Get in a team or swim with friends. Try different sets; do some speed work and drills.

Cheers

2fish&1whale
July 1st, 2009, 02:03 PM
My hardest swims are on days when I'm the only lap swimmer in the pool.
I do much better when there are other swimmers to talk to-though that can backfire when we end up standing at the wall for 15 minutes talking....never mind!:blush:

ddl
July 1st, 2009, 03:13 PM
Thank you for the replies. Please note that the original question is about in the midst of continuous (nonstop) long-distance laps, so different sets and drills don't apply :cool:

srcoyote
July 1st, 2009, 04:45 PM
What would possess you to "just swim laps"? Interval training will keep you engaged, challenge you, and likely get far more accomplished in a shorter time block as compared to metronomic, empty laps.

I watch the guys that do the mindless laps: they invariably do far less meters than I, swim far slower, and really appear to be miserable, bored and unchallenged.

I dunno. I routinely swim 5K at a time and don't consider the laps empty or mindless. I watched my 3K times in open water steadily drop as a result. In fact, it's a great mental challenge in my march for longer and longer distances. Being challenged and improving is not related to the distances swum.

ddl
July 1st, 2009, 05:03 PM
I dunno. I routinely swim 5K at a time and don't consider the laps empty or mindless. I watched my 3K times in open water steadily drop as a result. In fact, it's a great mental challenge in my march for longer and longer distances. Being challenged and improving is not related to the distances swum.

OW swimming is so much better and can't be boring, with all the views, currents, and sea animals :D--but above all, a destination, which you don't have when swimming in a 25m pool ;)

guppy
July 1st, 2009, 05:46 PM
Leaving aside different sets and drills, when I've swum long distance laps I've had two tracks. One track is trying to make each stroke and turn as technically good as possible, stroke after stroke, and counting the laps (which is also important of course if you are going to vary the pace at different points in the workout). The other track is just letting my mind go blank and notice what swims into view. This sometimes leads to useful insights about things unrelated to swimming.

sanwin
July 1st, 2009, 11:52 PM
I just love my SWIMP3 player,I can let my mind wonder and de stress from my day.

RobbieD
July 2nd, 2009, 12:25 AM
If I'm just swimming laps solo without a plan I really like using a waterproof mp3 player. Instead of having just one song stuck in my head I get to cycle through a bunch of songs. Tonight I took my H2O Audio Interval (it's basically a waterproof case with headphones that you can keep an iPod shuffle in) and just zoned out and let the time zoom by while I swam.

ddl
July 6th, 2009, 08:10 PM
Got a related question: when you swim long distance, is it usually exclusively freestyle, or do you alternate, do some breaststroke, for example?

juanmoczo
July 6th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Try splitting the total distance in intervals. For example 100m free with & without fins, 100 m kicking on your back and all sorts of variations. Add breastroke so you can emphasize your legs. Working with all four strokes will help you improve on your balance and propulsion. Additionally a lap counter (such as http://www.sportcount.com/) works wonders since the counter keep track of the total amount of laps while you worry about the laps for each interval. Also add paddles to your training as well as short and long blade fins. I typically cover between 1500 m to 4000 m a day on a SCM pool. As a last suggestion check out some DVD about swimming technique.

ddl
July 7th, 2009, 12:31 AM
Additionally a lap counter (such as http://www.sportcount.com/)

Thanks. Looks like nice lap counters. Are they adjustable to fit different fingers? And what does "Water resistant to 50 meters" mean--50m deep or long?

Re variations: what about when you swim non-stop for more than 2000? Do you alternate strokes or not?

bud
July 7th, 2009, 08:46 PM
...so I wonder how come you don't get bored immersing yourself underwater doing the same basic thing repeatedly for an hour or more?....

breathing is a good thing to focus on. especially when under water for long periods of time. there are lots of Yoga practices that can enhance your understanding of breath.

also... think of it as a zen meditation... focus on technique (as many have mentioned).

not sure about what zen is about? try reading "Zen in the Art of Archery" by Eugen Herrigel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_in_the_Art_of_Archery
...a quote from this link:
Herrigel describes Zen in archery as follows: "The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull's-eye which confronts him. This state of unconscious is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill, though there is in it something of a quite different order which cannot be attained by any progressive study of the art..."

It has been some time since I read this text, but as I recall the key element is in the 'loosing' of the arrow... the letting go, which is in effect what Buddhism is all about (as I understand it anyway), particularly the letting go of the 'self', the ego.

one lil' nugget that is permanently etched in my brain (again, as i recall it), is a bit about how the master brought the student (the author) into the practice hall (an indoor range) in the middle of the night... no lights, except a small lamp/candle to walk with.

the master notches an arrow and 'looses' it at the target... it disappears into the blackness. he then notches a second arrow and releases it in the same fashion.

they gather up the light and go to the target. the first arrow was dead center on the target... the second arrow split the first one. :eek: How's that for concentration (or the lack thereof?) and technique?

the other thing i recall was him standing for interminably long periods of time, holding the bow and arrow ready for release, waiting for that self-less moment to 'loose' the arrow. talk about boredom? crikey! :o

Good Luck!

Have Fun!

P.S.
I can assure you it is depth resistance. I can't imagine releasing a product for in water use that is guaranteed to fail after 50m of distance.
:eek:

"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."

tygrr94
July 8th, 2009, 04:51 PM
I bought an underwater mp3 player (Dolphin). I found that it helps the laps go by MUCH faster and it gives my head something to do. It's also a good distraction--even though I still "think" and count and all that stuff. My workout is typically 3800-4000m. Now, I can't swim without it because it helps not hear the bubbles so much. I'm spoiled now.