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  • Jun

    The Top 5 Things I Focus On Before A Big Meet

    by Michael Andrew, World Junior & World Short Course Champion

    With World Championship Trials underway this week in Indianapolis and the 2017 Swimming Worlds scheduled for late July in Hungary, I thought it was a perfect time to share with you all the top 5 things I focus on in the month before a big meet.

    Being properly prepared for a meet can mean many different things but people generally think of preparation in terms of training and the performance side of things. My top five are actually other things that keep me in balance and feeling good for that big event. Then my routine kicks in on race day and I try to be in my zone for the pre-race warm-up

    Here’s my top 5:

    1. Sleep

    I have been focusing on taking a nap for about an hour to two hours every day leading up to a big event. Here is what’s important for me in regards to napping: 1) yes, it is obviously going to help my recovery as I train and begin to ease off a bit as we get closer to the meet, but I also make sure my nap is taken at about the time I would between prelims and finals at the big meet coming up. That way my body gets used to that pattern.

    2. Hydration

    I’m sure you’ve heard it a “million times” but hydration is so vital to your recovery! It seems so obvious but it’s also something that is so obviously forgotten and ignored. Staying hydrated hasn’t always been something I’m good at, so it takes extra effort, but it’s so worth it. You will feel better, and definitely perform better.

    3. Fueling & Refueling

    Our body is a vehicle that can do crazy things. I love super cars and it makes for a good analogy. It’s pretty clear to me now that a super car is generally well attended to and taken care of. When you drive a high-end super car you want it to be in tip-top shape and have the best fuel source, so while you’re racing down the track you don’t have to fear the engine failing on you. I try and treat my body like a super car! No sugary foods or candy, only good carbs, balanced proteins, and veggies. What has also been a huge aid in my training regime is UCAN. I will have two scoops of my UCAN Super Starch before practice, so that my body can run like an Audi R8. If you put junk in, you get junk out. I love candy and it’s a big weakness if it’s around, but you have to stay diligent if you really want to perform at your best.

    4. Be Careful

    When I’m getting ready for a big event I also try and be careful or wise in what sort of activities I do. For example, I chose to not go play beach volleyball with some friends last weekend, because I didn’t want to risk the chances of me injuring myself in any way. With this you have to find your own balance on what is safe and what activities you want to continue so it doesn’t affect your life too much. My down fall with any outdoor activity is that I am extremely competitive and want to win, so I have to be able to keep in mind what I am working towards and why it’s probably best to sit a particular game out. But still, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious especially if you have a big event with a lot on the line coming up in just a few weeks.

    5. Don't Fear The Outcome

    As we get closer to the big competition, it’s so easy to start overthinking and stressing about the result. “I need to win this big event”, “I can’t afford to lose”, “What if I’m not prepared enough?” These and many other negative thoughts go through everybody’s head at one time or another… What makes the difference between those who crumble and those who don’t is a decision (it’s not easy). That decision is whether you let that thought take you captive or whether YOU take the thought captive yourself and replace it with a positive thought. If all you focus on is the negatives and what can go wrong, you are ultimately setting yourself up to endure that. So speak and think positively about everything.

    As you can see a lot of my focus in the weeks before an event revolves around being recovered and ready to perform. It’s often difficult to really judge how recovered you are and there is a tool just for that. A lovely device I use to measure my recovery super quickly and effectively has been the Mighty Sat Pules Oximeter by Masimo.

    Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and following me on Instagram @swimmermichael for updates. Thanks for reading along!

    See you on a pool deck somewhere!

    Michael Andrew

    Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: xx@yy.zz
    Joe Pellegrino
    3 years ago.
    I am 62 and swim with fins 4-5 times a week. I try to swim at least a mile each time. I never swam in college and I never swam competitively so I don't know all you know. I am trying to break 10 minute 500 meters. Do you have any suggestion. I have not learned how to flip turn so I am sure that would improve my time but do you have any advice to get stronger and improve my time. Thank you for your story. You are an inspiration even to someone like me who will never be a racer like yi=ou - thank you and God Bless you.

    Joe Pellegrino
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