Everyone likes finding something they enjoy doing. That one thing they can do all the time and (almost) never tire of. It could be crocheting, baking, skydiving, or swimming. In many ways, the activities we love come to define us; to one extent or another people come to identify us with our beloved activity.
On the flip side though, we also have all heard, probably many times in different forms, that “Too much of a good thing is bad for you.” While as children we didn’t want to believe our parents when they told us this about sugar, experience usually proves the statement to be true. Still, our love for something can sometimes make it difficult to know when we’ve gone too far.
Here to help you stop before you reach a sugar coma, we present 5 signs that mean that you might need to take a break from swimming (or any activity really).
1. Boredom/ Lack of interest
If your swimming routine has lost its luster or you just don’t care about your improvement any more, then it might be time to change something up. While you might not need a large break, maybe you just need a break from the normal schedule. You can try switching it up and swim with someone else. This might help put some friendly competition back into your life. Or you could try adding music to the routine with a waterproof mp3 player.
2. Misplaced Motivation
If even after trying to spice things up you still find yourself lacking the drive to get to the pool, the cause may lie a little deeper. Sometimes your parents’ pride or your school’s reputation can start to take over your earliest love of swimming. When you start to swim only to please other people and their expectations, your drive will fade. While making others happy is not an inherently bad desire, if you want to keep going you will have to refocus and rediscover the reasons why you started swimming. Just doing it for others will ultimately just tire you out.
If the boredom or outside motivation continues, it can easily lead to burnout. Swimming World Magazine defined burnout as a “lack of excitement while at practice, unwillingness to go the extra distance, a feeling of uncertainty in regards to wanting to continue on with their careers, and a constant fear of failure and unworthiness.” If you find yourself burnt out, it is highly recommended that you take a short break and do some soul searching to find out why you’re swimming and why you want to continue. Burnout is not an omen that you need to quit; it’s a sign to take a good, hard look at what you’re doing and why.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you also need a break if swimming has become the only thing you think about. While it is good to always want to improve and do better, obsessing about hitting your next Personal Best to the point where your normal life (and health) get put on the furthest-back burner is a problem. When this happens both your mental and physical health can be compromised, not to mention people probably don’t think you’re very good company. Listen to those close to you, and your inner self, and try and scale it back when they express concern (no matter how much you don’t want to listen).
Too much training can lead to an increased chance of injury, especially if you become reckless in your goals. This is the biggest sign your body can give you that you need to stop and take a break. The worst thing you can do is ignore injuries and make them worse. You will recover faster and be back in the pool sooner if you take the time to take care of your self properly.
These are only 5 reasons you might need a break; there are of course others. The biggest thing is to not be afraid to take a break. Many sources say that a 1-3 week break can do nothing but help your body recover in little ways and allow you to take mental stock of how you feel about swimming. One professional swimmer suggests staying away from the pool for a while and to not go back until you notice it has become truly enjoyable again—because that’s what should really matter.
How do you decide it’s time to take a break?
How long to you take breaks for?