By Courtney Randolph, LEAD Marketing Coordinator
Keep showing up. It sounds like simple advice. But sometimes, showing up is only half the battle.
At the 2017 LEAD Sports Summit, Confidence Coach Christen Shefchunas talked about the importance of giving ourselves credit. Some days, we show up to practice and see results. As the season progresses, we feel stronger, more confident, and increasingly ready to race. But then there are days (or seasons) where that just doesn’t happen. On those days, we need two reminders more than ever: 1. Keep showing up, and 2. Give yourself credit.
I’m actually learning this lesson as a Masters swimmer of two years, well past the high-pressure days of club and college swimming. More than any other time in my life, showing up to Masters practice has been all on me - every week, I have to choose to drive an hour to the pool on days I go to work and get up early on Saturday to make it to the workout. There’s no pressure from a coach, or anyone else really, to be there.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a competitive person, so it was only a matter of time before I learned to love racing again as a Masters swimmer (about 3 months in, to be specific). It was fun to see what I could do swimming only 2-3 times each week, and I gave myself a blank slate of “new best times” to challenge myself in this new chapter of swimming. This past season, though, was different.
Recently, I showed up to our LMSC’s Zone Meet having already defeated myself. I almost didn’t even sign up for the meet, and when I arrived at the pool, all I could think were negative thoughts, reasons I had been telling myself all season that would prevent me from swimming well:
I’d had health issues for three months.
I’d gained (and then lost) ten pounds since the start of the season.
I hadn’t lifted weights since December.
I hadn’t been training fast.
I hadn’t done enough aerobic work early in the season.
I hadn’t done enough speed work late in the season.
I stood behind the blocks for the 500 free and 200 IM with zero positive expectations - and then proceeded to swim times that were only 1 second per hundred off the times I swam last year when I felt far more physically, mentally, and emotionally in shape. I showed up the next day and swam within 4 seconds of my best Masters time in my favorite event, the 400 IM (yes, I know I’m crazy). None of my races were best times, but I was thrilled - and shocked - that I could be that close after such a rocky season of training.
That got me thinking… if all I could think about was what I hadn’t done, maybe I’d missed an opportunity to do what Coach Christen had told the athletes at LEAD: Give myself some CREDIT for what I had done:
I had shown up to practice, even when I didn’t feel great.
I had gone running at least once a week.
I had made an effort to do ab work and short strength circuits at home.
And I also had two years of consistently showing up to back up my swims.
This will look different depending on where you are in your career. For me, “showing up” now means swimming 2-3 times per week and running and lifting on my own, which is considerably less than the 8-10 times per week I trained in high school and college. But no matter where you are in your swimming career - club, high school, college, or masters - we all have good days in training and tough ones. On the good days, we can give 100% and then some. We can push ourselves and our teammates past what we thought possible. It’s on the days (and seasons) when we feel challenged that it’s critical to give ourselves credit for what we are doing… even if that’s just showing up and diving in, knowing that showing up now will pay off later.