The Power of Journaling for Swimmers

Michael Butler
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Journal out your ideal workout .

We get into trouble when we get too specific. What you do a few days leading up to a meet may not be what you need to do on meet day. So, have a plan you commit to, but don’t worry if you need to do things differently if the conditions change.

We get into trouble when we get too specific. What you do a few days leading up to a meet may not be what you need to do on meet day. So, have a plan you commit to, but don’t worry if you need to do things differently if the conditions change.

Journal out your perfect race .

Journaling allows you to write out precisely what you want to achieve. In swimming, this can be used to customize your training program specifically for you.

It’s amazing what you’ll find out when you put pen to paper. When you sit down and think about how you’d like your race to go and then write it out, it seems like an impossible feat. And yet, when you break it up into smaller pieces, it becomes doable.

It is useful to review what you have done previously to see what can be improved upon. Also, what have you learned during the off-season where you can apply it now. You can consider your training, conditioning, nutrition and sleep in the context of your goal. This process can help you set realistic expectations on what to expect when you step onto the start block and how you might want to begin each phase of the race.

Also, having a detailed plan is motivating and will keep you working toward the goal.

Once you have written it out, review it each night before you fall asleep. This will help you stick to your plan and not only achieve your goals but also realize your dreams.

Journal out your pre-race nerves .

If you find that pre-race nerves affect your performance negatively, journal about it before your race.

Do what we “nose-breathers” do downstairs – journal what you want to let out. Journal out all of your questions and insecurities about the race, out loud if you’re alone, it can help. Write how prepared you are for the race. Write about your goals, and how you are going to reach your goals. Journal out your victories, your gratitude, how proud of yourself you are.

When you are speaking you let the air out. Journaling might work in the same way, like blowing out candles.

I’ve trained myself to journal out loud, since it is easier for me to express my words that way. It begins like a quiet hum, and ends with me yelling out my thoughts, my worries and my fears. I feel lighter and less burdened. I’ve learned to let go.

The night before the meet, I can’t sleep because of any little thing. I just want to get up and write about it, about how excited I am, how I’m going to nail it! It is a good night.

The Takeaway

As a competitive swimmer in high school, I found journaling to be a game changer. (I've even got the notebook to prove it!) I was not a faster swimmer, which would’ve been nice, of course, but I experienced some benefits that outweighed a couple extra seconds in the pool.

Looking back, I actually marvel at how much mental toughness I gained from writing. And I have no regrets about all the crazy things I wrote. I did not care what anyone would think about me if they read it. But I knew only one other person would ever see it “ me.

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Swimmers all over the world are using journaling to improve their times and lower their stress levels.

Journal-keeping has been a positive influence on swimmers by increasing their motivation and improving their performances. It has also helped them find more enjoyment in the sport.

Some swimmers swear by their morning pages, which are a form of writing exercise. Others emphasize the importance of daily gratitude.

If you are one of the many athletes using a journal to improve your performance and boost your mental well-being, here are some additional things that you should consider.