25 Fun Things To Do While Tapering

Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie/Arena

By Tera Bradham, Swimming World Intern

The magical, two-syllable word that brings more excitement to a swimmer than any other: taper. It’s the only time of the year when swimmers get to experience the energy level of a normal human being; yet we aren’t allowed to utilize any of that pizzazz to which we are so unaccustomed.

Most of the time we find ourselves pulling our chlorinated hair out from boredom and pent up energy. Here are 25 things you can do to alleviate your taper boredom without ruining everything for which you’ve worked so hard!

1. Sleep

Whether it’s the classic three-hour nap after Saturday morning practice, the catnaps we fervently try to squeeze in our schedule, or the unintentional naps inspired by monotone class lectures, sleep is a vital part of every swimmer’s life. Not only do we need more sleep than other people due to the energy we expend, we rarely get as much as other people due to our schedules. Taper is the time of the year when we can sleep as much as we want. So make up for lost time – take a nap, sleep 12 hours a night, and get a few extra zees!

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Photo Courtesy: A. Weisenfel

2. Have a Game Night

Board games are one the most underrated past times. Not only can they provide hours of amusement and fun, but they also are great bonding activities and intelligence boosters. If you feel like you don’t have enough people to play a board game, just invite all your other bored teammates who are tapering over for a team bonding night! Some of my favorites are Quelf, Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan, and Catch Phrase. Try a new one!

3. Call or Skype Someone You Haven’t Talked to in a While

You’ve probably let a few relationships go by the wayside because of your intense practice schedule, so taper season is the perfect time to catch up on long lost relationships. Whether it’s an old friend or a loving grandma, call someone and make his or her day. You will never regret investing time in relationships.

4. Do Restorative Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful recovery technique that can help you gain flexibility and keep your core strength during taper. You can improve your body and your mind without wasting energy. Now, don’t go crazy with this one. If you’ve never tried yoga before, doing new exercises could make you sore, which is contrary of your goals. If you’re a beginner, just try a few simple poses, like the ones here. For some a more detailed guide, visit Jen Reviews Yoga Guide.

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Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Muller

5. Watch a Pump Up Movie

You know the feeling. It’s when you finish a movie and you feel like you could take on the world. Whatever that movie is, take it out and watch it again! It will motivate you for your shave meet and will inspire you to accomplish the impossible.

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Photo Courtesy: funnyjunk.com

6. Bring Out Your Artsy Side

You could be more talented than you think! Chances are you have more talents than swimming fast. Take a trip to Hobby Lobby or take a scroll through Pinterest and see what you can make!

7. Make Cards For Your Teammates

Take out a few index cards and write to your teammates, telling them what you like about them and why they’re going to swim fast at their taper meet. As you think of reasons they’re going to succeed, you’ll think of all the reasons you’re going to succeed, too!

8. Lose Yourself In A Great Book

There is an ancient building common to almost all cities, towns, and suburbs. Rarely visited by the technology-absorbed generation of today, they linger in hidden alleys and downtown streets, waiting for the curious passerby to wander through their doors…

They’re called libraries.

book

Photo Courtesy: Tim Geers

There is nothing quite like losing yourself in a good book. Go to your local library or bookstore and find a story worth reading. You’ll improve your mind while saving energy. If you need help finding something you like, employees are always available to help you find what you’re looking for.

For the more media-inclined, you can download the free Kindle app on your phone, computer, or tablet and read books straight from your device.

9. Play a Card Game

Bring out that waterproof card deck sitting at the bottom of your swim bag and play away. There are all kinds of card games available to have endless hours of fun. Just don’t get too crazy with those slapping games. Let’s save the competitive edge for the pool.

10. Support Your Local Arts

Most cities have incredible shows hiding right beneath your nose! Check out the local theatre and drama listings and see what’s showing. If the events are a little pricey, see if you can watch the dress rehearsal, which is usually free.

11. Star Gaze

Too much energy? Done too much of #1 on this list? Then check out some of the luminous spheres of plasma burning millions of light years above your head! For even more fun, download the “Sky View Free” app so you can know what you’re observing.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia.com

12. Start a Blog

Writing is a great way to communicate with others and to get those creative juices flowing. Whatever you’re passionate about, write your heart out and share it with others. There are many websites like WordPress and Blogger that allow you to create a blog for free.

13. Make a List of Goals for the Upcoming Year

Driven people are successful people. Too many things are not achieved simply because no one took the time to dare to achieve them. Writing down goals transfers them from your heart to reality. And these don’t need to be for swimming – make them about whatever you want!

14. Clean Out Your Room

You don’t have to waste your legs to get rid of some junk. Go through your clothes and sell some to a consignment store like Plato’s Closet or on eBay. Let other people enjoy the stuff you don’t use anymore by donating it to Goodwill. Clean out your books and make some extra cash by selling some to Half Price Books. You can be productive and do it all while sitting down and saving that energy.

15. Listen to a Podcast

Instead of using that bright little screen that is resting in your palm to creep other people’s lives on social media, use it to improve your own life! Listen to podcasts and learn more about whatever topic interests you. Most smartphones have an app you can download to listen to podcasts for free, and iTunes has a podcast section as well.

16. Make a Bucket List

It may sound a bit morbid, but bucket lists are actually an incredibly fun and engaging way to think of exhilarating things you want to do with your life. Brainstorm some simple things you have not experienced yet, but also add some extravagant items to the list. You may not realize all the things you want to see and do until you write them down. I recently found a bucket list I made my senior year of high school, and it was rewarding to see how many things I’ve checked off in only four years!

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Seeing the Colosseum was #3 on my bucket list!  Photo Courtesy: Tera Bradham

17. Take A Personality Test

This is a fun way to learn more about yourself and others. My favorites are the Enneagram and the Meyer’s Briggs tests. If you are really interested, you can combine #15 with #17 and listen to a podcast about personalities.

18. Write Someone A Letter

Hand-written sentiments mean more than typed ones. When you receive a letter in the mail, it has more power than a text or an email because it means someone took the time to hand-write his or her affections. It’s more personal, and it means more to your loved one. So pick someone you like or appreciate, and tell them why.

19. Watch Stroke Videos on YouTube

It has been proven that visualization helps performance. Throw your legs up and watch a few videos of some of your favorite swimming studs. Visualize their technique in your head, and it will help you perform that way yourself.

20. Paint Your Nails

This one goes out to the ladies. Who doesn’t love having the best-looking toes standing on the blocks in a field of eight? Swimming judges performance, but it doesn’t hurt to look good while you swim fast.

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Photo Courtesy: People.com

21. Go to a Drive-Through Safari

This is a great way to rest your legs and experience something exotic! Drive-through safaris are more common than you think, and you may have one a short drive from where you live.

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Photo Courtesy: Tera Bradham

22. Go to a Drive-In Movie

If you’re sick of going to the movies and are looking for a new viewing experience, see if you have a drive-in movie theater near you. The weather is perfect right now for a summer movie night. Just lean your seat back, bring a pillow and some healthy food from home, and snuggle right in.

23. Clean Out Your Technology

Download some software and clean up your computer, delete unwanted messages in your inbox, update your software, or filter through all the photos on your phone. Cleaning up your devices will help them run faster and more efficiently, saving you frustration down the road.

24. Go to a Local Craft Place

Most towns have some version of a make-it-yourself pottery place where you get to paint your piece before they fire it in a kiln. You can pick up your finished masterpiece a few days after you create it. There are also places like “Painting with a Twist,” where you can create your own canvas by following an instructor’s demonstration. These crafts make great gifts or decorations!

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A ceramic dolphin I painted at a local pottery place a few weeks ago.  Photo Courtesy: Tera Bradham

25. Make a New Pump Up Playlist

It’s time to go to Spotify and look up some of your favorite artists. Venture out, or throw it back, but make a playlist you love. Listening to music before your race boosts your adrenaline and psyches you up mentally.

Rest up, have fun, and swim fast, all at the same time!

16 Comments

16 comments

  1. Franka Dujmovic

    Eva Stanković we are always tapering hahaha

  2. Sherif Ramses Ebbo

    Zeyad Samy Islam EL-Nahas Eslam El Khateeb Tibo Hisham Hosny

  3. Tyler Yates

    USRPT is always tapering 😉

  4. Jan Jeffrey

    Can’t believe I have done more than 75% of these taper tasks. two weeks to finish the list.

Author: Tera Bradham

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Tera Bradham is a graduate student who swims for Texas A&M University. Previously, she swam at the University of Arkansas, graduating in three years with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Spanish. Due to three shoulder surgeries in three years, she currently has two years of eligibility remaining to swim for the Aggies.

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