Goal Setting 101

Goal setting is an important, important thing.  It could be called a skill – right up there with cake-baking and staff fighting.  You see, goals are the steps we take to accomplish dreams.  Our choices are what make or break those goals.  When I first started swimming, I didn’t know how to really train for anything, but I had learned an important thing about myself – I am a three part person.  A body, a soul (my emotions and my mind), and a spirit (something more powerful than either my body or my soul).   When you are setting any kind of goal –whether for physical activity or not – it’s important to keep those three parts of you in mind.

As a body, you have certain physical attributes, limitations, strengths, weaknesses, and environmental and circumstantial restraints.  Time can be a physical limitation, right along with weather.  So can injury and illness.  When expecting things of your body, allow for a logical progression.  Build on the foundations that you place, don’t be overly demanding.  If you have only run 0.8 of a mile three times a week, don’t expect to suddenly jump up to running 5 miles twice a day.   Understand that you need rest and recovery as much as anything else.  Those are factors to be aware of when you set goals.

For me, personally, as a swimming body, I try to balance my long term goals with my short term goals.    When I first started swimming, my ‘goal’ was more like just wondering how far I could go.  For my first two events, my goal was to finish.  Now, I have added time limits to my goals, so I have to balance how far I go with how fast I go.  Right now, I am working a lot on speed.  A lot.  So my workouts are often shorter distances, but with more and more speed.  I try to do a long set once a week, because my primary focus is speed and maintaining speed over distance.  All the while, I have a weekly mileage that I like to keep and that I should maintain in order to be reasonably ready for my very busy summer. Read more

Faith and Swimming

He made his way across the lane toward me, his arm came up and suddenly paused, completely unnaturally, before he deliberately set it into the water in front of him. I smiled as his other arm did the exact same thing. And again, and again… until I was giggling.

“I’m exaggerating, of course,” He said when he stopped. “But that’s what you look like! This sort of deliberate placement of your hand into the water. That’s not what you want.

“When you reach forward,” he continued, “you really have to believe that that motion is going to bring you forward. Not just pulling back through the water, but straighten your arm on your recovery and spear your arm into the water in front of you. Keep the momentum going and really believe that just that motion will bring you forward.”

I couldn’t help it, but I was still giggling.

“What are you giggling about?” he asked, smiling.

He didn’t know it, and I wasn’t about to tell him, but that’s the way I am in LIFE! Read more


3:00 am – my alarm goes off.

3:10 am – my alarm goes off… again.

3:20 am – my alarm goes off, and I dream about getting up and getting ready.

3:30 am – my alarm goes off, and I finally roll out of bed.

3:45 am – out the door and off about my day!!!

3:50 am – out the door… again.

3:52 am – start driving to work.

4:00 am – FIRST BREAKFAST!!!

4:20 am – Driving and worshipping, singing and sipping coffee.  Watching the lights flash as they whiz by the car window.

4:45 am – More driving and worshipping to such songs as Something Beautiful, The World is Not Enough (thank you James Bond), and Kiss the Girl (Ariel the Little Mermaid).  I don’t know, but I’m definitely thinking about Yahweh when I hear any of those songs so it’s worship to me.

5:00 am – Arrive in White River Junction.

5:02 am – Turn down a street toward the Aquatic Center.

5:03 am – Make a u-turn.

5:10 am – Arrive at the Aquatic Center.

5:15 am – Walk into the pool area, hop into a lane and start warming up.

5:30 am – Master’s workout – moderate difficulty.

6:20 am – Get out of the pool, head to locker room.

6:45 am – Leave locker room.

6:47 am – Continue driving to work.

7:00 am –  1ST SNACK TIME!!!

7:19 am – More driving.  More worship.  Intercession and sunrise watching.  Every view along I-91 is a postcard marking the morning and my heart can’t help but soar.

7:35 am – Stop to refill on coffee, throw the kong toy for the puppy.

7:40 am – Continue driving to work.

8:00 am – Arrive at work.

8:30 am – 2ND SNACK TIME!!!!

10:00 am – 2ND BREAKFAST!!!

2:00 pm – LUNCH!!!

4:15 pm – Leave work.

4:30 pm – More driving.  More worship.  Intercession, and watching the sun begin to go down.

4:50 pm – More driving.

5:30 pm – Arrive in White River Junction.

5:32 pm – Make the turn toward the Aquatic Center.

5:35 pm – Arrive at the Aquatic Center.

5:50 pm – Hit the pool deck and smile at the Master’s coach, Barb.

Barb: You can swim in this lane if you want.
Me: Is it the same workout as this morning?
Barb: Were you here this morning?
Me: Yes.
Barb: Do you have a twin?
Me: No.  I’m the same person.
Barb: Oh, okay.  It is the same workout.  Do you just want to swim?
Me: Sure.

6:00 pm – Hop in the pool.

6:15 pm – Warmup complete, begin 100s at 1:40 interval.

6:45 pm – Mile complete.

7:00 pm – Leave aquatic center.

7:09 pm – Turn toward Route 4.

7:12 pm – Make a u-turn.

7:20 pm – DINNER!!!

7:30 pm – More driving.  More worshipping.

8:30 pm – Arrive Home.

9:18 pm – Finish this blog post.

Tomorrow – Repeat.

… But I Can Do Tricks!!!

So we’ve established in previous posts my affinity for Master’s workouts.  Tonight was a prime example of my ongoing struggle.  It was my first time at this particular group’s coached session.  First time.  Everybody is so friendly when you’re grown up – swimming in a group of adults is so pleasant compared to those swim team days.

Anyway, so there we are, warming up.  The coach is nice, my lane partner is nice… I don’t understand a thing on the workout sheet.  Ascend, descend, stand on your head… whatever.  That’s okay.  My swimming guru friend gave me some profound advice on what to do when I don’t understand things; ask somebody.  This was a strangely foreign concept until he pointed it out to me…

Armed with my questions, I plunged into the pool, feeling like I could probably do this.  I can do this, I encouraged myself.  Read more