Don’t Make These Three Common Post Practice Mistakes

Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @swimoutlet

By Grace Nordquist, Swimming World College Intern.

The final set concludes, and cool down begins. Red faces are paired with sighs of relief throughout the lanes. After hours of grueling work, practice is finally over. Swimmers lift themselves out of the pool and make their way to locker rooms. They’ve been dreaming of this moment the last two hours, and they can finally do whatever their tired hearts desire.

But be sure to think twice before engaging in that post practice activity. Here are three common mistakes we’ve all made and regret every time.

Things to avoid doing post practice:

1. Plopping into bed as soon as you’re back from practice.


Photo Courtesy: Grace Nordquist

With its fluffy pillows and warm blankets your bed is practically calling you to fall into its peaceful arms. It’s harmless to lay down for a couple minutes right? Wrong. Before you know it 30 minutes have passed and you have no motivation to move, or do anything at that.

If you have the luxury to take a nap after practice, great. If not, don’t go near your bed. Use the time to do laundry, homework, study, etc. Think about the wonderful sleep you’ll get later that night.

Resist the temptation so you don’t fall asleep, or lose any motivation you could’ve had. You’ll get behind on the work you should’ve been doing. Later that night you’ll be up finishing that paper you should’ve been working on earlier, wishing you were sleeping.

Avoid the stress of later by passing the comfort of your bed for now.

2. Eating a snack with no portion control.

post practice-snack-pretzels

Photo Courtesy: Grace Nordquist

You’re probably laughing reading this step, because you know exactly what it means.

If you grab the family sized bag of pretzels after swimming over 5,000 yards, that is dangerous. Halfway through the bag you’ll wonder how it got to this point. You recall telling yourself “Just one more” one too many times.

After finally setting the bag aside, you realize how full you are. Regret sinks in.

In an hour when your roommate asks if you’re ready for dinner, and you’re not hungry, you’ll remember that half bag of pretzels. This then leads to one of two options; you go and don’t eat a ton because you’re really not hungry, which then leads you to be starving around 9 p.m. or you go and force yourself to eat a full meal anyways, leaving you feeling miserable.

Next time stick to chocolate milk or a protein shake post practice, or possibly the single serving bag of pretzels.

3. Skipping on the shower until later.


Photo Courtesy: Grace Nordquist

“I’ll shower later, I’m too tired.” No, you won’t, and then you’ll wake up at midnight itching as the chlorine eats your skin alive. Showering post practice or anytime you’re in a pool is something everyone should do, competitive swimmer or not.

Even though you always seem to smell like chlorine, it’s good to soap up and attempt to get as much chlorine off your body as possible. Shampoo and conditioner are highly recommended as well, unless you want your hair to feel like straw the next day. If you slip up a time or two, and don’t shower right after practice, just make sure you do shower later that night. Don’t make it a habit, because even if you do shower later that’s still hours of chlorine sitting on your skin and hair.

After working hard, it’s only fair that you’d be tired after practice. Learn from the mistakes you, or others, have made in the past. They might not be the end of the world, but avoiding them will make you a more productive, cleaner, and balanced swimmer.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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3 years ago

Navod Senanayake I’m literally crying as I read this

Maureen Bierly
3 years ago

I never did swim in competition but I this advice is great. Portion control! what’s that?! haha. Great article. MoBierly