Archive for September, 2008

swimming progress

September 26, 2008

I swam 1500 yards last night. It was all with the proper form and breathing properly and the only thing was the rest in between laps. I swam my first 1000 as 20×50 on every 2 minute mark, I would estimate I averaged 55 second 50’s. Then I swam 5 x 100 on 3 minutes and found that I only slowed a tiny bit when I “took it easy” so I could get 100 yards at a time. I was swimming the 100 in 2:08 to 1:55, getting faster as I went. That is right negative splits the entire way! I couldn’t believe it. I was remembering things to add back in as I got down each part of the stroke I was focusing on. I started feeling my calf tightening up in pain like it would cramp as I pushed off the wall the last couple of times, so I know I was pushing the swim to my limit.

I am stoked with how I am doing. I think I will try to do 500m to compare my time and stamina to before this Saturday. I will try and take it easy and do the whole thing without stopping. It is amazing how much better I move through the water too. My stroke count per length has dropped to 15-17 depending on how far off the wall I go underwater. I am going to give one last big push this weekend to get a good first two week result for my Monday weigh in. So that means I will swim about the same 1500 yards and then go 4 miles on a treadmill.

I am also going to do the bike this evening and Sunday. So if I do this I will have met my workout goals I set for the week which are more that I have done any other single week by far. It will be something like 2 miles swimming, 24 miles biking, and 12 miles running. If I lengthen out the bike rides its an olympic distance triathlon in a week! (that sound you heard was my jaw hitting the floor) I am honestly shocked how quick it adds up.

Funny Story

September 25, 2008

So I worked out four times the first 3 days of the week. It wasn’t all that difficult, surprisingly. I have noticed my heart rate is not going as high as it used to, it doesn’t do the high peaks on a particularly tough phase of the workout up into the 180’s like it was, it stays more even now. I guess that is a good thing, it makes me feel like I am not working as hard though. Since the heart rate monitor is keeping close track I am recording it to see if it is just my imagination. I guess the body gets used to the same old exercises and does it more efficiently, so I might have to start switching things up.

So I went out to eat yesterday. My sister was in town. I went a little overboard but that is not the important part of this little story. We were just finishing dinner and the waiter came over to ask us how things were and coax us into dessert. Again, not the important part.

My 4 year old son was concentrating on something harder than I have ever seen him concentrate on anything. He was sitting there, sitting up straight I might add, but he was working on a gesture. His mouth was hanging open as all he was thinking about was his eyes. He was basically sitting there both eyes lightly closed and his mouth hanging open. He was doing this for 15 seconds at a time right as the waiter walked up. He looked as if someone taught him a good meditation technique and he was practicing it to perfection in the noisy restaurant. Either that or he looked like he was about to fall asleep like a cow, not bothering to lay down.

The waiter said, “Someones had a long day huh?”

To which we all began to laugh.

“No,” I said, ” he is trying to learn how to wink.”

I am going to have to get this on camera before he figures it out.

Swimming Technique – Balance

September 24, 2008

I must say that going to a swimming class has greatly improved my swimming technique. My first post on proper technique was trying to teach myself using free online resources.

That got me through a triathlon, though not very well, and with what I have learned in the last few weeks from my triathlon instructor is orders of magnitude more.

Now I cannot speak for anyone else, I am sure everyone has their own set of troubles, but with how I taught myself I needed to work on one main thing: Balance.

Balance in the water so that the body is in the right position and the arms and legs can simply work to propel you rather than keeping you afloat in the position you think you want. You need to rotate from side to side well and from front to back you need to make sure your hips and legs aren’t sinking making your head pop up.

I can only share my troubles that have fixed my swimming for the most part. I can now swim slowly if I want. The reason I could not swim slow before was because I was not balanced front to back and as I slowed down my legs dropped down slowing me to a rediculous pace. I wanted to teach myself how to swim and thought I didn’t need a swim instructor, just a few online lessons. I was of course wrong, but that is because I was hunting for this stuff on my own and I had never thought to lookup a balance drill. I had no idea such a beast existed. I guess I should have bought a book. But if you are like me and want to teach yourself, hopefully this and my last post on the topic help you out.

Most of the balance drills I was shown by my instructor I found online:

There was one drill similar to the third one that I couldn’t find. It is starting on the side, breath with head straight up to the ceiling, then breath out facing down as you take a single stroke and switch sides. It is like normal swimming but rotating around in an exagerated fashion. Rather than going 180 degrees with the head and about 90 degrees with the body you go 360 degrees with the head and 180 with the body.

There were two other things that helped me greatly once I had the balance down:

  1. I had no idea to rotate with every stroke not just when breathing.
  2. You kick with the whole leg from the hip, not bending the knees, keeping it real small to stay inside the tunnel of moving water your body created, taking care not to get out into the water that you can imagine is just nicely flowing around the disturbance you already created. Legs are just in the way and don’t propel you too much

Go to a class if you really want to improve, the teacher can easily see what is wrong and fix it right away, no need to swim miles trying to figure it out for yourself.