This is a post by YoungTri Contributor Patrick LaBrode, a swimmer at the University of Texas, in his series “Swimming Through Texas”.
School is out for a couple of weeks (for college students). For most students, this means a long and relaxing break. However, for swimmers, winter break brings two of the hardest weeks of training of the year!
For us Longhorn swimmers, winter break training consists of 10 practices a week with 4 dryland/weight sessions. Needless to say, by the end of the week our bodies are in “zombie mode.” During this period, in order to get the most out of our sessions, recovery is extremely important.
The two main important parts for our recovery are carefully monitoring sleeping and eating. Getting 8 or more hours a night is optimal, and since there isn’t any studying for tests or reading for class, there is no excuse not to get a good night’s sleep.
Also, during winter training, naps become your best friend. During this first week of winter training I’ve taken at least a 2-hour nap every day between sessions. Naps help refresh your body to be able to focus and stay strong during afternoon workouts.
My Texas Swimming Picture!
What you eat also plays a huge role in your day-to-day recovery. During breaks, we tend to want to go out for food or overeat on sweets our families and friends make. Eating unhealthy foods does not allow your body to recover and perform well in the water. What my team does is go to the grocery store and buy healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, yogurt, granola bars, sandwich fixings, almonds…etc. Putting healthy foods in your body throughout the week will help keep you physically and mentally together.
We are starting our second week of winter break training and along with the hard practices; we also have two meets this week! It’s going to be a long and tough week. But we really try to keep a positive attitude about training and racing. It is really fun to be with your team 24/7 training and relaxing.
I hope y’all are having as great of a winter training as I am!