When I was a young swimmer, I approached the holidays with dread. There were only two scenarios coming my way. Either I would not be able to train at all, pools would be closed or teams would be off, or the most hellish training had been planned due to the "extra time".
As I began to swim on my own, I found the holidays posed a new challenge. I had more freedom than ever to keep my swimming going, but still struggled. There were no training camps to fear, and I had the resources to make my way to a pool and do some laps.
This upcoming holiday season, you may find yourself facing a huge disruption to your normal training routine. You will possibly travel, and there will be social pressure to "relax" and enjoy the holidays. And you should, but jumping in the pool a couple times on Thanksgiving weekend, for example, will only help you and everyone else.
One of the biggest obstacles people face is finding a place to swim, especially in an unfamiliar area. One of the greatest websites in the world exists to solve this problem. It is called swimmersguide. Simply type in your address and swimmersguide will give you a comprehensive lists of pools you may be able to get into.
Not only that, but it has information about the dimensions and temperatures the pools are typically kept at, protecting you from paying your hard earned open swim money for a 15 yard pool heated to 85 degrees for water aerobics.
Lastly, swimmersguide also often has information about local teams that practice out of the pool. This way, masters or club swimmers can contact the coaches of local teams and ask nicely if they can partake in a workout while they are in town.
With that solved, let's talk about the other biggest hurdle people face training around the holidays. Often, time and energy for getting in your regular swim is not quite there. You have a turkey hangover (or a real one) on Friday and you know the swim isn't going to be pretty.
This is when it's time to remind yourself that going to the pool and doing something, making the most of how you are on that day, is far better than sitting at home. Even if you swim half of your normal workout, it's infinitely more than none of your normal workout, and you will feel the benefit in weeks to come.
Those who love swimming love that its a life-long sport. Doing it for life, and well, involves changing the way you approach it as your own situation demands that flexibility, even if the daily demands of training sometimes require far less flexibility.