Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday swim

A mentally tough week, due to some combination of work stress (this time of year is very busy in the academic world, lots of evening obligations!), general tiredness and lack of time for training.

(I still haven't picked up my bike from the store post tune-up! It was briefly a relief to have it out of the house, then a stressor!)

But I had a super-enjoyable swim this evening. Not a serious workout in any sense, but I felt like I was thinking fairly sensibly and making good choices.

(It is so hard, though, to know whether an easy workout comes via common sense or via rationalization!)

So... swimming thoughts.

1. I love swimming! I haven't swum since Saturday, since I had a Tuesday work conflict with masters swim and I am very busy right now with one thing and another and lane swim hours are highly restricted and horribly crowded and generally kind of impossible. But I really feel I can hardly afford to have four no-swim days in a row, it is so beneficial for my mental health. I must revisit the notion of a quick half-hour swim in the last half-hour the pool is open during the evening (i.e. sort of 8:55-9:30pm) on a day I can't otherwise swim. Masters swim is very frustratingly scheduled Tues-Thurs-Fri-Sat so that missing Tuesday really seems awful! Very bunched-up in the week...

2. It is not rationalization to say that at this juncture I can either work on freestyle technique or on flip turns but not both at the same time. My stroke feels radically different after last week's technique work, it is exciting to me! It is Rod Havriluk by other means--the coach who was filling in last week had a totally different vocabulary and set of priorities, but in retrospect it gives me a new and more vivid understanding of the Havriluk MONA cues from the January clinic and what I learned there.

3. So: what? Well, all fairly idiotish obvious things I should have known already, only the thing about swimming is that there are so many different things to think about that it is easy to forget the obvious! If I boil it down...

Serious streamline off the wall. Good-quality kick using actual muscles and getting some real speed. Really streamline arms (with hands locked together) and tighten core muscles and keep legs together--it will sound absurd, but I think I really just forgot about all this for some months, I am sure my legs were just hanging around any old way! Amazing how much faster and stronger this feels.

Serious body rotation, also with a view to streamlining and maximizing pull.
Cue: think of ear going to bicep on each side and on every stroke. Concentrate especially on the non-breathing side (and it is striking to me both how much more--well, symmetrical would be an exaggeration--but near-symmetrical this makes my stroke, and also how much more easily I can contemplate bilateral breathing when I'm doing the stroke in this way). Really turn onto the side and get a good strong pull--I am feeling the catch much better on both sides, but especially and strikingly on the left-hand non-breathing side...

(I must say I thought it was feeling very good, considerably more powerful and with less effort.)

I did the warmup: 200 choice (I did 100 free and 100 IM), 150 free drill (50 right arm, 50 left arm--serious drown-thinking during that stretch!--50 catchup), 200 build free, 150 free drill (in theory as above, but I cheated and did 100 thumbsies-salute instead of evil right-arm left-arm thing), 200 build free.

I did the first mini-set: 6 x 75 as 25 kick/50 build, 25 with first half fast, with 10 seconds rest after the 75 and 5 seconds after the 25.

And then I withdrew myself from the workout and spent the last fifteen minutes practicing somersaulting with floaty devices of one kind or another and really thinking about turns. I am a slow learner on this stuff, I get places pretty well and in a pretty timely manner when it comes down to it but only by extreme dedication and diligence rather than quickness of apprehension. I decided to resign myself to it, there is no point wishing oneself otherwise...

I couldn't really figure out how to use the kickboards for floatishness, but a pair of pull buoys worked pretty well. I turned over and over, and started to get a better feel for it--at any rate this was the first time when I really could say that I felt my feet fly up into the air in that obnoxiously and ostentatiously kickish way the natural-born flip-turner achieves! And then I did some slow lengths with turns, and it is starting to come together. Coach Amy was watching & helpfully observed at the end that it seemed like I didn't really have much of a tuck, so that I went over OK and then slowed almost to a standstill once upside-down. This will be the next bit to weave in, but it is fine if it only comes slowly, I will get there in a little while...

(Can't swim tomorrow. I am thinking on Saturday that I'll go fifteen minutes early and do my somersaulting during the last bit of open lane swim, then just do an hour workout rather than 90 minutes--because there is a transition clinic organized by the CU triathlon club at 5, and it seems to me I might benefit more from this than from mildly increased swimming fitness! My bike time is going to be very slow--I have not had a good week bike-wise, it is just full of mental obstacles for me. But I think I should be able to get mentally organized so as to have a very minimalist set of tasks to accomplish in transition--mission for next week's triathlon-related shopping is to get a new pair of goggles or two, since the seal on the ones I've been using is definitely going, and also a pair or two of really good triathlon shorts that I can wear for training and will be comfortable for the entire race. I have already tested out various crucial garments and the plan is in the early stages of coming together...)

Addendum. Total yards: only a meager 1500 plus a couple hundred more plus turning practice, but more to the point than obsessing about yardage...


Wendy said...

Good observations. Glad it was a good swim.

N.B. People forget to streamline all the time!

Pull buoys are easier to flip with than kickboards! To use kickboards: extend arms straight and forward, hold rounded tip of flutter board with finger tips. Jump off bottom and tumble between the boards. It may be hard to get yourself turned over. Keep practicing getting yourself over!

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