Keep Track Of Laps In The Pool Whilst Boosting Your Mental Discipline


Hi folks,

Typical swim workout note by FitOldDog using symbols. Use scrap paper and it sticks to the wall.

Typical swim workout note by FitOldDog as simple symbols. Use scrap paper and stick it to the wall.

If you have a long swim, you’ll have no trouble keeping track of laps completed with a complex group of short sets, such as that in the adjacent figure. You just have to count each set and mentally tick off your workout on the plan stuck on the wall at the end of the pool. However, if you have a small number of long sets, say 4 x 1200 yards, it is not so easy. I discovered the perfect way to provide the discipline needed to count such long sets correctly (though my background as an amateur orchestral flautist helped – think of 80 bars rest followed by three notes for you to play on the off beat halfway through the 81st bar). My approach in the pool (which I call rule one), is that if I am in doubt about the number of laps completed in the set, say 19 versus 20, I have to use the lower number. When you’re tired the last thing that you want to do is extra laps as a result of a miscount.

An alternative approach, when the pool isn’t too crowded and the clock is clearly visible, is to watch the count down as the ‘hour hand’ goes back around the clock (for 50 second laps the small hand will go back in ten second intervals, with one reverse turn of the clock making six laps). Even then you can become lost in the count, in which case rule one applies.

Give it a try, as it definitely focuses one’s attention.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Pauline Watson says

    This is a perpetual challenge! One other trick that helps me keep track is to count laps, circles – as in a track, instead of lengths. The numbers are lower and it makes more sense to a runner in the pool 🙂

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.