One of the things swimmers dread most is Winter Break training. We love the idea of having school off but hate the idea of all the hard training we need to do. If you’ve ever gone through a true WInter Break training you’ll know what I mean. Coaches know you’re off from school and now is the best time to really push since you can sleep the entire day. However, what about the week before?
Coaches don’t just throw you into an 8,000-yard set. Well, they do, but they don’t go from 5,000 to 8,000 yards a practice because that would be a disaster. So what do they do? They increase your training the week before. That same week teachers try to cram all of your projects and tests right before everyone gets out. This can lead to some serious issues as we try to finish all those projects last-minute while also trying to stay in good shape for practice. If you’re anything like me, you’ll finish a hard practice (um 600 IM at the end of an IM set anyone?) and just want to go home and sleep. You can’t do this with school projects though, so you have to find a way to balance. So I’ve compiled a list of ways you can make that last week as you step up your training and school work slightly more tolerable.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Okay, fine, I know. It’s easier said than done. I don’t even follow this rule most of the time. But don’t put off that 7-page research paper to the night before it’s due. You think you can finish it in a few hours, but you can’t. You’ll spend all night doing it and come to practice and then school looking like a zombie and you won’t get anything out of it.
- Get ahead. If you’re struggling to keep up with your school work during the week, try to get ahead during the week. If you have any assignments that you know are due, do them ahead of time.
- Keep everything in one notebook/binder. There are many opportunities, especially during school, where you have a little extra free time. I often find myself wishing I had my notes from whatever class so I could study those instead of sitting around doing nothing. I decided to start keeping my handwritten notes in one big notebook that I took to school every day. This way if I’m sitting in Frech with nothing to do, I can instead study for my upcoming science test.
- SLEEP. Yeah seems like you can survive without sleep. Two hours of sleep? Wow, I got a decent amount. But training at a hard level while doing mountains of studying and homework does not lend itself to being done on minimal sleep. You’ll find yourself falling asleep in class and having to study more to try to catch up on all the material you missed during your impromptu nap.
- Give yourself a break. I always tell myself that I can’t skip practice, and to be honest, skipping practice is not something that I like to do. However, it does you no good to not be doing your best at practice and failing all of your tests. That’s just counter-productive and you being stubborn. So skip one practice. It won’t kill you. Know yourself and know where to draw the line of course. Don’t skip practice all week because you feel slightly sore or tired. That’s way too much and not the point. Sometimes your body needs a break and it’s okay to give your body one.
- Stop looking at your phone. The amount of time you spend on your phone adds up. While you’re studying, do not look at the thing. Spending 10 minutes studying and then 20 on your phone instead of the 2 you told yourself is not productive.
Hopefully, this helps you with surviving the week before winter break!
*This should have been published before winter break, although that clearly didn’t happen because I didn’t follow my own advice*