Setting any goal will benefit your swimming, as will planning a regular routine. And both will benefit your health.
The key element is that your overarching goal is to tirelessly strive to improve your swimming.
Lately I've thought and wrote a lot about the aspects of swimming for health and happiness that go beyond technique. The thread on The Talent Code gets into this and I expect to devote much more time to these topics. So just by setting this goal -- and voicing it publicly, while also asking for help and support -- you've taken an important step. So before getting into details like whether you should swim long or short, whole stroke or drills, here are a few lessons I've taken from "The Talent Code" and other books like "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and "Mastery" by George Leonard.
1) You can and should set highly ambitious -- even audacious -- goals;
2) There is an identifiable set of attitudes, behaviors and habits associated with the achievement of excellence or mastery.
3) If you learn and practice these behaviors, improvement is almost inevitable and your chance of achieving the goals you set will be greatly enhanced.
4) Your experience of swimming will be far more satisfying as a result of aspiration, optimism and mindful practice.
The key to improvement is to commit to what some call Deliberate Practice and what we call Examined Swimming. The essence of both is to be continually looking for the weak points in your skill and habit, then to focus on fixing errors and strengthening weaknesses.
Longer repeats of whole-stroke will reveal one set of errors or weaknesses. Shorter repeats of whole-stroke or drill will reveal others.
Can you name the top 3 aspects of longer-distance swimming skill that you feel you could improve right now? The main outcome of improving them is that, when you finish swimming a mile, you feel you could swim another right away. Or even better, to feel more energized after swimming a mile, than before.
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist
May your laps be as happy as mine.
My TI Story