Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - BY CLINT LIEN

What makes for a pos­i­tive train­ing en­vi­ron­ment?

I asked a group of swim­mers that ques­tion and got a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent re­sponses:

“It needs to be fun.” “I want a se­ri­ous train­ing en­vi­ron­ment.” “I don’t want any­one push­ing me.” “I want to be pushed.” “I like telling jokes; it makes ev­ery­body happy.”

Ob­vi­ously a pos­i­tive train­ing en­vi­ron­ment meant dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

So I re­phrased the ques­tion: What fac­tors con­trib­ute to a neg­a­tive train­ing en­vi­ron­ment?

Put this way, I got con­sen­sus and agree­ment quickly. What bums peo­ple out in a train­ing en­vi­ron­ment? Ul­ti­mately it came down to a sin­gle over­whelm­ing an­swer – the be­hav­iour of other peo­ple.

Here is a list of 10 be­hav­iours that cre­ate a neg­a­tive train­ing en­vi­ron­ment when it comes to swim­ming:

Show up late and don’t join in with the oth­ers.

Peo­ple have mixed feel­ings about ath­letes com­ing in to a work­out late. Some care while oth­ers don’t. But one thing ev­ery­one agrees on – if you ar­rive late, join the lane and swim the same sets they are.

234Don’t be at the wall when the rest of the lane is ready to go.

When your lane mates are at the wall, ready to start the set and you head out for an­other 50 be­cause you’re not done your warm-up, you force them to choose be­tween in­clud­ing you in the set or get­ting cold wait­ing for your re­turn. It’s a lose lose.

Fail to put your­self in the ap­pro­pri­ate place in your lane.

If you want to re­ally mess up a lane, put your­self in the wrong place in line or, worse, the wrong lane. No one likes to hit slow traf­fic, or have some­one swim­ming up be­hind them. A coach will even­tu­ally sort this out, but some­times swim­mers are so close in skill level it comes down to the day and so self-aware­ness is im­por­tant. Be nei­ther too humble nor too vain.


8Stand and chat on the cross.

In­evitably, dur­ing a swim, you will run into a sit­u­a­tion where some folks are swim­ming while oth­ers are tak­ing a rest. If you’re tak­ing a rest, then don’t for­get about those still work­ing. Make space on the wall for them to turn with­out hav­ing to nav­i­gate around you.

Don’t let oth­ers over­take you – once they clearly out-swim you (there’s a caveat here). The pass.

This is a tough one. It can be sub­tle and dif­fi­cult to judge, but when some­one is go­ing by you, for the most part, it’s poor form not to let them go. There are ex­cep­tions though. If, in the last 100 of a strong 800, the guy be­hind you fi­nally man­ages to pull up to you, it’s OK to make him or her push all the way to the wall. If, how­ever, in an 800, you’re caught in the first 50 and you feel the re­spect­ful tap on your feet as the swim­mer catches you, you need to stop and let them by.


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