Conditions for Flow - not just pace
Three conditions identified by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for achieving a Flow state are:
1. Set clear and concrete goals
2. Carefully balance skills with difficulty.
3. Get immediate and unambiguous feedback.
All three elements are present in the sets I've logged here.
Clear and concrete goals. To improve my current best 1000y pace by training myself to swim 1000y (40 continuous lengths of a 25y pool) at an average of 20 sec/25 y AND at 16SPL.
Balance Skills with Difficulty I increase the distance I swim incrementally, looking for the point of failure - the distance at which I cannot maintain a combination of 20 sec and 16 SPL. Each practice I try to push that point a bit closer to 1000y.
Immediate and Unambiguous Feedback I count my strokes on every length and at the end of each repeat the pace clock tells me whether I succeeded at the combination I'm aiming for.
In today's practice, the challenge I set myself was exhausting as well as exacting. It took a supreme physical effort to get to 150y repeats holding the combo. For the next couple of days, the challenge will be more exacting than exhausting, while my 60y.o. constitution recovers for the next time I set a challenge that requires intensive swimming.
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist
May your laps be as happy as mine.
My TI Story