Waking up at 4: Out of bed and in the pool

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this post you have to wake up and practice before school at least once a week. If it’s one thing swimmers are known for, it’s their lack oaf sleep and commitment to keep it that way. No, not really. We’re known for waking up at ungodly hours and complaining about it everyday. If we could get more sleep we would, but that’s not the way life works.

There are days where getting up will be easy and you won’t feel tired at all (rare as those days are they still happen), and then there are the days where you’re sort of tired but it’s not that bad, and then there are those days where getting up is near impossible and just the thought of swimming practice makes you want to curl up and die. Naturally you’ll want to skip practice in the third scenario, but is that really what gets you better? Of course not. Is just showing up to practice enough? Definitely not. You are going to have to not only find the motivation to get out of bed and go to practice, but also find the motivation to do well at practice.

So how can you get that motivation?

  • Set up a carpool. This may not seem to make sense, but when you  set up a carpool, cancelling ;last minute feels like you are inconveniencing others, especially if you were supposed to take them to practice. This feeling of obligation will lead you to force yourself to get up and go to practice no matter how you’re feeling.
  • Set a goal to limit the amount of practices you skip. This works well when you set it by month. Fore example, you can plan to miss only 1 practice per month. There will be exceptions to it, such as sickness (you breathing germs on everyone else is not a great idea) or family vacations. This will keep you motivated as you will either think “No I need to save my skip for later” or “I already skipped practice this month”.
  • Think about your competitors. There is going to be at least one person that you want to beat. Whether you swim on the same group, same team, or you race them on occasion at meets, there is going to be at least one person you want to beat. Think about how they are getting better and how much you want to beat them.
  • Think about your goals. Whether it be a time or a meet you want to qualify for, if those goals don’t motivate you, you did something wrong. Goals should be something that gets you going when you feel like you can’t anymore.
  • Get some sleep. Easier said than done isn’t it? It’s hard to get sleep, especially as a high school student. School ends late and you’ve got homework, test, and projects looming over your head. But you have to make time for sleep somewhere. Whether that means you only doing enough to get the grade you want, or getting creative about when you do homework, find the time to sleep.
  • Take a nap. It’s give you an extra few hours of sleep outside of the normal hours. Most swimmers don’t need to be told twice.
  • Or don’t take a nap. This depends on the person. Some people can’t fall asleep at night if they took a nap during the day. Others have no problem taking a nap all day and sleeping at night. You just have to figure out what kind of person you are.

Getting up may seem like a chore, but you can still be comfortable while you do it. Just buy a bunch of furry onesies like Cameron.

Cameron before a Sunday morning practice outside of Dulles South Recreation Center.

Happy swimming!

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