If you have read more than one entry on this blog then you will know just how I feel about swimming. Or not. Because many days I don't even know how I feel about dragging myself back and forth over the same 25 yards over and over and over and over and over....
Some days I feel good and other days I just can't mentally get going. Other days I can't even make myself roll out of bed to get to the pool. Which is, I guess, similar to every other workout I do. Some days on the bike are work and others are great. Running is the same. I think that my biggest problem, not just with swimming mind you, is consistency. It's just that I suck worse at swimming than running and cycling, making mediocre or bad days worse. If I would get in the pool three days a week I could end most of my woes. Except one, sensory deprivation.
Having spent more than a few hours in psychology classes, I learned a LOT about sensory deprivation and it's effects on the brain. You couldn't pay me enough to get into an SD chamber because A) I don't trust people and could see some fucker locking me in there as a joke and B) I am claustrophobic. After a while floating in that warm saline bath in complete darkness and silence, your brain simply gets bored and starts thinking up shit that is nuttier than squirrel poo.
Swimming is as close to sensory deprivation as I dare get. I wear earplugs for health reasons and that reduces sound to next to nothing. I used to wear dark goggles, but bought clear lenses before I beat someone with a kick board. No matter how good of a swimmer I have been on my very best days, my brain does some strange shit after a few minutes in the water, usually looking for sharks (yup!) or making out weird (really weird) patterns in the reflections on the bottom of the pool or thinking I am going to drown or pass out or some other calamity. It also doesn't help that I am swimming in the early morning and my brain isn't fully functional after a nights sleep either.
See what I used to think was self preservation (not able to adequately swim because of a fear of drowning) I think might, might just be more susceptible to SD than other people who genuinely enjoy the silence and peace of swimming. In addition to mental oddities, I just can't focus on anything. Any. Thing. Some days. I cannot keep count my laps. Seriously, any more than one and a half is a challenge.
Just the slight reduction in environmental sensory input I get when swimming, combined with "morning brain" is perhaps, just enough to send me into a mental tailspin. When this happens, I am getting better at recognizing that there is something wrong. I'll generally stop my workout and do drills with paddles and fins, or form drills. Stuff that forces me to focus on what I am doing. This way the morning isn't wasted. I am also going to try music more, once I figure out how to keep my earphones stuck in my head for more than a lap or two at a time.
I could also be full of shit about all of this.