Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday swim lesson

Highly illuminating - I have been aware that my breaststroke barely deserves the name, but I have a much clearer notion now of the precise nature of my misunderstandings concerning the timing of different aspects of the stroke! I am glad we have been working on this - it actually seems to me in certain respects the highest priority to get sorted out, it is certainly much the weakest of my strokes.

Good long warmup on my own: along lines of 100 free (flip turns! sore left knee, though), 100 IM (fly drill), 50 whip kick on back, 50 breast, 50 dolphin kick on back, 50 dolphin kick on sides (much easier to focus on it this way), 100 fly drill as right arm, left arm, 3-3-3 x 2, some random 50s of back and breast. Call it 800 total.

Then an extremely helpful lesson. Some dryland "lunging" along the side of the pool to try and get the feel for the stroke, which I really do not have yet properly (but working on it...). A lot of drilling: breast pull with pull buoy (I am having twinges of one thing and another in my left thigh, large volume of whip kick contraindicated, though I was doing it again for the last part of the lesson because it seemed essential for understanding the timing properly), breast pull with dolphin kick, then some drilling counting a glide of 3 (and then 75 with glide of 3, 2, 1 per length).

Deep misunderstandings/cues for improvement: (1) WAIT to kick till arms have plunged forward in a streamline - do not kick with elbows bent in front; (2) arch back and rise out of the water - strong forward propulsion with pull; (3) don't stop as hands come together in prayer position, keep momentum and movement; (4) let hips come forward so that the kick really happens underwater; (5) keep knees together, don't let 'em drift out; (6) kick starts only as I'm losing propulsion and starting to feel myself moving into a dead spot, for a big further boost; (7) HEAD DOWN!

If I am not paying attention, the kick happens much too early in the stroke - I have a clearer intellectual understanding now of the problem, though, and some cues to focus on and work on with drills (one pull, two kicks is good for thinking about timing and various bits of the form). Also tend to be much too flat in the water, and to have head pop up; the timing is the most important thing to focus on, but these other bits are essential too...

Last week has been a bit of a disaster in terms of exercise. I haven't ridden my bike at all since the tri, and haven't run since Saturday (I wanted to run last night, but I was caught up in a series of essential errands that meant it was 8:30 before I really could have gone out, and around 7 I realized that I simply had not fueled appropriately for that to be a genuine possibility). I've also got my eye on the whole "try not to get sick when I travel" project - figuring it's better to skip than to overdo it.

(Got these awkward sore thigh muscles, too - I think it was the weighted lunges and squats last Friday that initiated the problem, but now I'm feeling tension in some of the other muscles in that area too.)

The trainer appointments and the swimming lessons have precedence - I guess the honest truth is that if I can only do one thing, swimming is the one that most has my heart, especially in the summer (a nice long run on a cold winter's day is also one of my favorite things)...

Call it 1400 yards for today, anyway. But I need to figure out my training plan for the next couple months!

1 comment:

Lynn said...

we used to do a breaststroke drill by holding a tennis ball between our chin and chest to practice the "head down" part. it was super hard and we snorted a lot of water, but it worked!