Friday, January 24, 2014

It's Just One More Jelly Bean In The Jelly Bean Jar

One neat way to visualise your swimming training is to picture a jelly bean jar:


For any single swim session - no matter how hard or how long - you can only put one bean in the jar. The key then to filling the jar and reaching your peak fitness is to complete consistent sessions week in and week out.

This is very much how elite athletes look at their training. Each individual session isn't of great consequence, it's a consistent block of work that matters. These blocks might be anywhere between 4 and 16 weeks in length, perhaps with a key race or series of races at the end.

Thinking about your own swimming like this is a great way to see the big picture. If you push yourself so hard one week that you burn out, lose motivation and need a week or two off, then the jar fills slowly, or not at all. Instead create a routine that you can repeat week after week through whatever life throws at you - even if that's less than the maximum you can do on a good week.

For a great example of this, check out Paul Newsome's 50 sessions he completed in the build up to his win at the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim around his young family and full time coaching work. You probably won't be training the distances Paul does but the principle is exactly the same: www.swimsmooth.com/paul-mims-training.html

As you go along with your own training, try and ride the ups and downs with this big picture mindset. No matter how well or how badly an individual session goes, it's really just 'one more bean in the jelly bean jar'!

Swim Smooth!

4 comments:

Matthew Green said...

Never seen an actual jelly bean in my life...

Adam Young said...

Are you sure Matthew....?

Martin Denonville said...

Feeling the effects of our 31 days of Fitness (1 hour of swim/bike or run for 31 days). That plus our unseasonably cold weather....today -22C (-30C windchill) when heading to the pool. Afterwards my wife said, "Another jellybean in the jar!" Nice to know she reads the SwimSmooth stuff I send her! A most fitting application to your blog.
Thanks!

Annie Oberlin-Harris said...

Hi Martin,

Thanks for sharing, that's brilliant! Hope your 31 days of fitness is going well, keep with it!