How can I keep my swimming mojo through the winter?

Stay Motivated

Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions

I always find it hard to keep motivated when the clocks go back and it is too cold to train outdoors. Any tips on how I can keep my swimming mojo through the winter?
Sarah Ellis

I completely understand where you’re coming from. It is really difficult to stay motivated when the nights draw in and you are heading out to swimming in the dark (and normally in the rain). What I tend to do is set weekly or bi-weekly goals. For example, if you know you have a tendency to always breathe to one side, but you want to become a bilateral breather, set yourself a goal to work on that aspect of your swimming.

Also, if you need some extra motivation make a deal with yourself; for example, if you meet your goals four times in a row you can treat yourself to a new swimming hat or costume. A bit of self-bribery is a good way to keep yourself motivated!

You could also enter some summer events and races or, even better, line up an amazing summer holiday in an exotic location. Then, set a countdown timer on your phone. This way you are reminded exactly why you are going swimming every morning. My final tip is to write your sessions in pencil on a piece of matt-laminated paper. I find if I have a session written down I am far more likely to get to the end of it than if I just have it in my head.

I really hope that helps, Sarah. If you want to tweet me and let me know how you’re going that could also be motivation to keep you swimming through the winter.

“Swimming was my whole life for over 20 years. I poured every ounce of enthusiasm intoit.Iamso fortunate to have found these new outlets for that enthusiasm.”

Cassie Patten won bronze in the first ever Olympic 10km marathon swim, in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Cassie now coaches and is a frequent commentator at open water events.


Email your questions to: with the subject ‘Coach Cassie’

Cover Web Image

Issue 42 October 2020

  • Q&A with Jaimie Monahan - marathon swimmer and Queen of the Ice
  • Autumn swim adventures around the UK
  • The science behind cold water acclimatisation
  • Reviewed: The Best Open Water Goggles
  • The often deadly history of unsupported marathon swims

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