3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Winter Training

Photo Courtesy: Emily Magnavita

By Justine Ress, Swimming World Intern

Winter training is notorious for cold temperatures that leave wet hair frozen and skin even more cracked and dry. Coaches also see these few weeks as a chance to get in sets like 100x100s and other “challenge sets” that they may have up their sleeves.

However, this time of year can end up being the most rewarding and productive. The last few weeks before taper time are crucial in deciding how the end of the season will turn out. It’s a time to get stronger both in and out of the pool and it’s the perfect opportunity to take another look at goals that haven’t had much attention since September.

Here are three tips to help get the most out of winter break training…

1. Use this time without school to catch up on sleep. 


Photo Courtesy: Sophie Allen

It may be tempting to use school breaks as a way to catch up and binge on Netflix. But any college swimmer knows that getting eight full hours of sleep during the school year can be almost impossible. With only swimming to worry about, there’s no better time to get to bed a little earlier.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in order to be both mentally and physically in the best shape, sleep is key. Even just staying up an extra hour to watch one more episode can be detrimental. Here are additional facts about sleep.

“After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two,” according to the NHLBI.

Getting enough sleep can affect things like mood, appetite, muscle repair and even brain function. So don’t make winter training any harder on your body than it already is. Rest up, so that when it’s time to put five hours of training in, your mind and body can take it.

2. Spend more time with teammates outside the pool. 

NU training trip

Photo Courtesy: Delaney Lanker

Yes, I know, there is plenty of time to bond with teammates during the 20+ hours of training during the week. But between practices take the opportunity to do something new with a teammate. Get to know someone you may not hang out with all the time.

Take advantage of the fact that campus is probably empty. If your team stays on campus, try organizing a team meal or even some volunteer work. And if you’re lucky enough to go on a training trip, ask a coach if there are any activities that the team could do together while you’re not in the pool.

It’s important to build strong lines of communication during a time of such intense training. You never know if someone could be struggling until you talk to them.

Winter break is a prime time to boost team chemistry and morale right before championship season arrives.

3. Last but certainly not least, take advantage of the training!


Photo Courtesy: Emma Schoettmer

It may seem a little obvious, but winter training happens for a reason. And while it may be hard to watch all the non-swimmers stay at home until mid-January, just know that those grueling January practices will absolutely pay off.

At this point in the season there is still time tweak your technique, or push yourself to go faster than ever in practice.

Winter break is the perfect excuse to dedicate yourself 100 percent to swimming. Without school, you don’t have to feel guilty about staying for a bit after practice to perfect your turn or relay exchanges. And even getting to the pool a few minutes early to stretch before practice can make a huge difference during a workout.

The bottom line is, winter break doesn’t have to the worst time of the year. Whether your team travels to avoid the cold or you stay on campus, there are plenty of opportunities to make break bearable and productive.

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Silly Abraham
Silly Abraham
1 month ago

Nice Post

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