As we all know, the COVID-19 virus is a tough enemy. It is still all around us; it is hard to beat, it is mutating but mostly it is very contagious. So, wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep your social distance. Some of the few consequences for most of us were: 1)we could not swim, all the public pools were closed, 2)our normal routine was thrown out the window, we had to adapt 3) we gained a COVID layer, you know what I mean: that sneaky layer of weight around the waist and thighs!!. First and foremost, do not stress out if you did gain a few extra pounds and/or fell out of shape. More stress is not going to help anything. Instead focus on the steps you can take to start feeling better and the weight will take care of itself.
Pools around the State are slowly reopening although with a lot of new rules and guidelines, Masters swim team may or may not hold practices. So, time to adapt again.
- Start slowly: focus on technique. You need to get back your feel for the water (horizontal position, efficiency of arms and legs movements, breathing pattern). At first, the breathing in the water might feel the hardest and you might feel tired and out of breath very quickly. A good thing, some of the pools are limiting your time in the water!! In this first phase, regularity is more important than time and/or distance. Enjoy just being in the water again and the good feeling afterwards.
- If you wanted to make a change in your stroke and technique, it might be the perfect time to refine it. It will redirect your energy towards a positive goal and currently there are no swim meets and no performance expectations whatsoever.
- Keep doing what other sports you were enjoying during the stay at home period: hiking, biking, jump roping, golfing, fishing, playing with your kids, exploring your area (most travels far away are still not allowed). Keep moving and enjoying life but avoid crowded areas. Cross training will improve your performance in any sport.
- Focus on good nutrition and hydration. Plan your meals based on a balanced and healthy diet. Try to fill up on fruits and veggies and practice portion control. Avoid eating late at night.
- Sleep as much as you can. Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs. It will help you get back in shape. Currently it is still not recommended to go to bars and to big parties anyway. Sorry, use that time to go to bed!!!
All in all, 2020 certainly has not been the year we expected. We are challenged in many ways and we must adapt. Be realistic about your expectations both in and out of the pool. Keep a positive attitude and do not beat yourself up about your swim fitness, especially the extremely competitive swimmers amongst us. Laugh about it, look forward to the improvements that inevitably will come from being back in the water.