By Mike Gustafson//Contributor | Wednesday, May 10, 2017
When warm weather takes its sweet, sweet hold, many families pack up the car or van, hit the road, and take a weekend vacation. Particularly over Memorial Day weekend, or July 4th. Naturally, these kinds of longer weekend vacations are wonderful times to connect with family, see different parts of your state or country, and take a vacation. But, when that long weekend also means extended time away from the pool, these vacations can interrupt a swimmer’s training schedule.
Okay, vacations are supposed to be vacation. So, it’s not the worst thing in the world to take a few days away from the pool. But there is, also, a difference between three days off and five days off. I remember as a younger swimmer: We often morphed our longer weekend vacation times around training schedules. We rarely took a five-day vacation in the middle of the season. Doing so would likely mean a set-back for the entire season.
How can swimmers stay in “swim shape” on these longer vacations? Let’s say you’re traveling to a cabin in the woods for four days. What can swimmers do to keep that muscle mass, at least a little bit?
Here are some ideas:
- Stretch cords.
Behold, the power of stretch cords. Small, compact, lightweight, easily packable. Stretch cords can go anywhere, attach anywhere (a doorknob, tree, pole, chair) and are relatively cheap. Stretch cords can mimic swim strokes to the point where you can, theoretically, get a good dryland “swim workout” in.
At least once, do a cardio workout. Jog a few miles. Ride a bike. Any cardio will do. In the middle of the swim season, you don’t want to sit on the couch for four continuous days. Even just a quick 30-minute jog will help your return back to the pool.
3. Find an outdoor body of water.
Chances are, unless you’re trekking into the desert, there’s a body of water nearby. A river, a lake, an ocean. Of course, first and foremost, be safe whenever swimming in any body of water. But if public swimming is available, inviting a parent or family member for a quick morning swim can be fun and keep your “feel” for the water. If you’re heading to the ocean, body surf. A river? Swim upstream. A lake? Swim to the other side and back. Be safe, and never swim alone.
4. Visualize swimming.
Maybe this is controversial or silly, but I’ve found that even just spending ten minutes to visualize swimming can keep the body engaged. Visualize a race, or a main set. Never underestimate the power of the brain.
5. Get outside and have fun.
Let’s say you don’t have stretch cords, you’re not near a body of water or a local lap pool, and you forgot your tennis shoes. Just go outside and have fun. It’s okay to have a few days away from the pool. If swimming isn’t an option while on vacation, the worst thing you can do is mentally freak out the entire time. Don’t stress. Don’t worry. Enjoy vacation, have fun, get outside, take walks, and enjoy your time. When you get back to the pool, you’ll be mentally refreshed and ready for training.