March, My “Almost Ready” Month

I swam yesterday for the first time since early February, completing a 1000m set* in 30 minutes.

To most triathletes, my swim was an easy warm-up, but to me, the set was a milestone in my “Almost Ready” training period.

With my “A” race scheduled for October and ongoing life changes (Career! Marriage! Immigration!), I have designated March as my “Almost Ready” month to re-wire my mind for the eventual  time-sucking training.

Being “Almost Ready” for a bike ride wipes out a sunny Sunday morning, and making “Almost Ready” a specific period to fine tune automatic systems is my solution (hopefully) to be outside and on the pool deck faster later this season. My first few triathlon seasons were frustrating from learning how to manage all of the gear, nutrition, and scheduling, and though I improve each year, I still need this training period.

I remember preparation short-cuts and time management tricks that move me from bed to bike or from pool to desk. I organize my gear, adjust my Garmin settings, re-confirm my annual goals, and mourn a cupcake-free life. I visualize a toned body fitting in my wetsuit. I check race registration deadlines. I institute sleep routines (out of bed at 6 a.m., in bed at 10:30 p.m. – even weekends) and diet practices – all just to be ready to step onto the pool deck.

So, the night before my big swim, I determined my set. I packed my swim kit with suit, googles, hand paddles, cap, Garmin, buoy, and snorkel. I checked the contents of my nutrition and toiletries bags, and grabbed empty plastic bags for a wet swim suit.  I tossed them with towel and flip-flops into my gym bag.

Training tip: Bundle items for specific needs (swimming, cleaning, etc.) into differently colored small bags to easily keep track of them. You can check if anything is missing by squeezing or looking inside mesh bags, and toss the bags you need into other gear bags, luggage, or car.

I arrived at the pool, and by showing up, it was a success. The previous evening’s preparation, the warm-up/main set/cool down set, and the showering/changing/eating afterwards nudged my swimming mindset.

I remembered how much I missed the black line at the bottom of the pool. I forgot the post-swim bottle filled with a recovery mix. A banana would have been nice.

Again, nothing spectacular, but I know that once my “Almost Ready” period starts, I avoid “Almost Ready” mornings when I’m itching and needing to start the day.

If you have an “Almost Ready” period, what do you do?

*3/3/15 Swim Set-30 min: 100 free; 100 pull; 100 kick; 100 free; 4 X 50 drills: 25 drill /25 free; 100 back kick; 150 free; 150 cool down – 2 x (25 breast/ 25 free/ 25 back)

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