What will you rather do on a hot and sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon either with friends or family? Swimming is an alternative relaxation pill which refreshes and helps your body organs function well. I suggest you give it a try this weekend. However, getting ready to swim will need some preparations so as to make it worth the while. The better prepared you are the more enjoyable the experience will be, as it only takes a few simple steps to get prepared to go swimming.
Check the weather, planning accordingly. If you know it is going to be hot and sunny, make sure you have sunscreen and water. If there is a chance of thunderstorms later on you can still go swimming. However, make sure you have a plan for inclement weather, such as shelter to get under, and that everyone you’re with knows where to meet if you hear thunder.
Avoid large meals within an hour of swimming. The dreaded swimmer’s cramp is caused when your body is both trying to digest food and exert itself to stay afloat. Avoid this by avoiding large meals, particularly greasy, fatty foods like hamburgers, cheese, etc. that take a long time to digest.
- This doesn’t mean you need to swim hungry. Rather, try to graze and eat lightly over time instead of loading up on one big meal.
Apply 30 SPF sunscreen 15-20 minutes before heading out, even if it is cloudy.UV radiation still penetrates cloud cover, so don’t assume you’re fine just because the sun isn’t shining. Make sure you are using a waterproof “sport” sunscreen that won’t wash off as soon as you get in the water.
- While swimming, reapply sunscreen every 30 minutes to prevent burning.
Pack up a towel, swimsuit, and waterproof shoes. If you’re going to change at the pool or beach, you should consider an extra shirt or pair of underwear as well, in case your dry clothes accidentally get wet. If you want goggles, be sure to pack them as well.
Bring water to stay hydrated. It doesn’t matter where you’re swimming, it is always a good idea to have drinkable water on hand. Dehydration causes exhaustion, grumpiness, and, when left untreated, serious health issues. It seems obvious, but make sure you have drinkable water before you go into the water.
- At the very least, aim to drink 16oz or more of water in the hour leading up to your swim.
- 1 water bottle per person should be good for 1-2 hours of activity.
Stuff phones, electronics, and valuables in resealable plastic bags. To be safest as you pack, just assume that everything you bring is going to get wet. If you are taking things like your mobile phone that can’t get wet, take them in a separate small bag, pockets of your clothes or a waterproof bag which you can put in your swimming bag.
Protect your hair from salt or chlorine with watered-down conditioner. Your hair is sponge, absorbing moisture when you’re in the water. To prevent absorbing salt water or chlorine, however, you can “pre-load” your hair follicles with conditioner. To do so, simply mix up your conditioner with some water in a spray bottle, then coat your hair right before getting into the pool or ocean. You hair should come out noticeably cleaner
Focus on perfecting your stroke in your last practices, not pushing yourself. More likely than not, you’ve already been tapering down your workouts, having easier practices to save energy for the meet. But these workouts are useless if you don’t take them seriously. The week before a meet is about getting your stroke absolutely perfect, not just relaxing.
- Even though you’re doing shorter workouts, you should still give each one of them your best effort.
- Now is not the time to radically reform your stroke, but it is the time to “sharpen your blades,” working on a consistent, efficient swimming motion
Relax the day before the meet, resting and getting your sleep. The day before the meet is not the day to go on a 5-mile hike in the sun with your buddies. It is a day to sit back, eat healthy food, and let your body relax. Make sure you get to bed at a decent hour and don’t push yourself more than necessary.
- Some light stretching is a good way to stay loose and limber for the race the next day.
- Some swimmers like a very light run or swim to stay loose. If you want a short workout, take it slow, stretching both before and afterward.
Pack your essentials the night before, double checking everything in the morning. There is no worse feeling than showing up at the meet without your suit, so give yourself 24 hours to catch anything you missed while packing. Another strategy is to always keep a spare set of goggles, trunks, and a water bottle in your bag at all times, ensuring you’re prepared in a moment’s notice.
- If you love music to get pumped up, charge your phone/music player the night before and make sure you have headphones.