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It’s time to make lap swimming fun again. Listen, I’ve been swimming for 30 years and get it: swimming laps can be excruciatingly boring.
You have your head down in the water with no one to talk to, nothing interested to look at, and nothing to listen to.
Sure you can try talking to the black line at the bottom of the pool, that is normal. Just know when the black line starts talking back, we may have a problem.
With all the amazing physical and mental benefits of of lap swimming, there are ways you can make it more enjoyable.
In this article, we cover six ways to make lap swimming more fun:
- Swim With Purpose
- Come To The Pool With A Plan
- Follow A Swim Workout
- Use Swim Equipment
- Listen to Music
- Join A Group
- Bonus: Try Open Water Swimming
Swim With Purpose
If you find yourself struggling to keep swimming laps fun, set yourself a goal to stay engaged. There are a handful of ways to set goals in swimming.
The easiest way is to set a total time goal. For example, swim for 30 minutes. While what you do in that time is up to you, having a goal will make sure you do not get out early. Each time you come to the pool, try increasing the total time goal.
Another way to set a goal is to go for a total lap goal. For example, swim 40 total laps, which would be 1,000 yards/meters (in swimming, one lap is defined as wall-to-wall). As you progress, see how the total time it takes you to complete your goal changes.
Lastly and most effectively, sign up for a swim meet. This will make your workouts have a little more meaning. If you really want to ramp up your goals for a swim meet, check out our ultimate guide to setting competitive swim goals.
Whether it’s swimming a certain time length, total distance, or gearing up for a swim meet, having a goal will help to keep you focused and make lap swimming fun.
Come To The Pool With A Plan
When you roll up to the pool, do you jump in without a plan and just go?
While that can be calming and meditative for some, for most it will result in swimming for 5 minutes, then hitting the hot tub with regret.
If you are nervous about following a workout you found online or written by a coach, then try creating your own swim workout. This way you can craft a practice custom to your level and goals. And most importantly you will have a plan to hold yourself accountable.
There is a simple formula we use to create workouts that include a warm up, preset, main set, and warm down. Within those categories, there are countless ways to tailor a swim workout to set yourself up for success.
And in case you are a swim coach, we have a beginner’s guide to swim coaching too!
Follow A Swim Workout
If you prefer not to take the time to make your own workout, we totally understand. Who has time or the energy for that anyway? It can also be tough to push yourself as your own coach.
In that case, then follow a written workout. There are thousands of workouts you can find on the internet.
We collaborated with highly respected Coach Roman Willets on 100 swim workouts.
One of our favorites is “The Beef Wellington”.
Feel free to adjust intervals or intensity as needed.
If you have trouble committing the workout to memory, there is nothing wrong with printing it out and bringing it to the pool.
Put the paper workout on a kickboard and then dunk it into the water. That will make the paper stick nicely to the board. Or if you swim in a pool with a ledge, you can wet the paper, then stick it there too.
Use Swim Equipment
Adding swim equipment is a nice way to add some excitement to your lap swimming. It also helps isolate certain muscles, improves your technique, and makes you swim faster!
At the end of the day, swimming fast is fun! There is no shame in adding equipment to accomplish that.
Pulling is very popular amongst swimmers. To do a “pull set”, you will use paddles and a pull buoy. This will work your upper body extra hard.
One of the most popular things that is better about swimming vs running is that you can aerobically work your arms, back, chest, and shoulders. Take this concept to the next gear by using pull gear.
Another common piece of equipment you will find on most pool decks are fins. These will not only help work your legs, but help you swim fast! Adding fins will help increase your speed more than any other piece of swim equipment.
If you want to further work your legs, then try kicking with a kickboard.
While it may not be as fun as paddles or fins, adding a snorkel to your workout can also be a game changer. Snorkels allow you to breath easily, so you can focus on technique or completely zone out during your laps.
Listen To Music
Runners listen to music. Cyclists listen to music. Even weight lifters listen to music.
Guess what? Swimmers can too! These days there are multiple ways to listen to music when you swim.
While some may prefer to swim in silence, if you need a little musical boost try using waterproof headphones.
When you’re swimming, music can be a powerful tool to help you get through your routine. It can provide a distraction from sore muscles and fatigue. It can also help to motivate you to keep going.
Studies have shown that listening to music can actually increase your endurance and make you feel less pain.
Music also triggers the release of endorphins, which can boost your mood and give you a natural high.
So next time you hit the pool, be sure to bring along your favorite tunes to make lap swimming more fun!
Join A Group
While swimming is technically an individual sport, lap swimming is the most fun when you can do it as a team.
Masters Swimming is what we call coached swim workouts for adults. There are thousands of teams all around the world. Some are more serious than others, but all are there to foster an environment for swimming fitness.
Think of it as your age-group swim team, except no one is being forced to be there and everything is optional.
Check out the club finder tool on USMS to find a local team near you.
Bonus To Make Lap Swimming More Fun: Try Open Water Swimming
If you are completely burnt out from lap swimming, take your swimming to the open water.
Many long time pool swimmers who now train in bays, lakes, and even oceans remark how they feel a renewed sense of love for swimming.
There are many different challenges and techniques to learn in open water swimming. This will help keep your workouts fresh.
Be sure you know what you are doing before venturing out to the rough water. For example, you need to learn how to sight, adapt to the cold water, and always keep safety first. Be sure to read our tips on how to confidently swim open water like a pro!
Conclusion On Making Lap Swimming Fun
By making lap swimming more fun, you will find yourself going to the pool more often.
If you do things like swim with a purpose, come to the pool with a plan, and add swim equipment, you will be able to push yourself harder than ever before.
For more tips like this, check out our post on how to motivate yourself to go to the pool and avoid excuses!
Who knows? You may even start looking forward to your next lap swim sessions!
*Equip yourself for success with our Athlete Approved Guide to Lap Swimming Equipment!*
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