How to Best Train During College Breaks

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How to Best Train During College Breaks

By Annika Hobson, Swimming World College Intern

With the holiday season quickly approaching, college swimmers have some breaks from training with their teams. Being away from the routine of college and set practices can make it difficult to ensure you are training to your full potential. Here are some tips for how to best train over fall and winter college breaks.

Know the Pool’s Schedule

One challenge of going home for breaks is that over the holidays, pools can have different hours and may be closed for multiple days in a row. Therefore, it is essential to look into your local pool’s hours so you can know when you will be able to train over break. Due to some pools being closed for holidays, it is important to take advantage of the times in which your pool is open.

Train With a Group or Individually

If you head home for break, there are a few different options of how you can swim – individually at lap swim or in a group setting. If training with a group is more motivating and keeps you more accountable to doing a full workout, you can train with your old club team or a masters team. Make sure to reach out to the respective coaches to find out if there is space for you to train with the team(s). If you want more flexibility than a set club or masters practice, then you can always train on your own during open lap swim. If you are training on your own, go to the pool knowing what you want to accomplish out of your workout, so you do not leave feeling unaccomplished.

Create an Accountability Buddy

One way that my team ensures that we are all setting good priorities over break is by creating accountability buddies. In the week leading up to break, we meet up with our accountability buddy for a few minutes each practice to draft goals for break and how we can accomplish our goals. Throughout the break, we check in with one another to make sure we are fulfilling our break priorities. These priorities range from physical and mental health, to maintaining training, keeping up with our academics, and sharing with one another. Having a buddy to keep you accountable reminds you of your goals and is further reinforcement for having a relaxing, yet productive break.


To fully take advantage of the break’s opportunity to focus on training, be sure to incorporate some dryland and/or lifting into your program. By doing dryland/lifting over break, you can continue your momentum in the gym and continue getting stronger. Dryland can come in many different forms whether that’s a core circuit, an AMRAP, or going for a walk or run. On days where you cannot get to the pool, it’s a great idea to still do something active, so get outside or to the gym and move your body.

Know What You are Training for

Sometimes it can be tricky to motivate yourself to train over break without your team right next to you. Therefore, you need to remember what you are training for. You are training for upcoming meets, midseason invites, dual meets, conference meets, and end-of-year meets. The work you do over breaks is for your team. With more training over break, you can give yourself the best setup possible for the rest of the season. By working hard now over your break, you will reap the rewards at the end of the season.

Overall, fall and winter breaks from training with your college team can help or hurt your whole season. View breaks as an opportunity to get ahead. Whether you work on your health, training, lifting, academics, or all the above, use your breaks to your advantage.

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