Archive for the ‘swimming’ Category

Swimming Technique – Freestyle Pull

April 15, 2011

I just had an unbelievable breakthrough in my swimming. I finally understand what “high elbow” means, and more importantly why. Knowing why gives you the motivation to keep trying to do it. It also gives you cues to think about while you are working on your technique. If someone tells you to keep your elbow high but not why it is hard to keep it up for the long haul.

So the deal is you have two competing choices, power and drag. Obviously drag is bad and power is good. But if you have to trade them off then you have to compare. In the video he doesn’t say this but it seems pretty obvious to me, if you have bigger biceps and shoulder then you will weight power lower and drag higher. And if you have flippers for hands then you will weight power higher and drag lower. (This was the root of my problem in thinking that swimming with the hand paddle things taught you the best technique but it alters the equation in favor of the deeper pull. Not good!) All of this is on a scale mind you and there has to be some testing, so you try the technique after warming up in the pool and carefully time it and see if it works better for you. It did for me.

There are two things that I have always done since my coach a couple of years ago taught me this. First I do not cross my hands over in front of my head and then try to pull with each arm staying on its own side. Second, in trying to do the high elbow thing I sort of modified this a bit over time to bend my elbow and run my hand down my middle as if I were trying to push down on the edge of the pool while climbing out of the water. It made sense to me that I wanted more of the pull moving me forward rather than if my hand is further out it will tend to want to twist my body. As it turns out I was wrong and I do want it to twist my body, but not because I want my body to twist.

I do it because I want to keep my shoulder as much out of the water as possible and my elbow close to the surface. This reduces the forward drag created and lets you swim faster with less effort. The only downside is that my muscles are not as developed that I need for that slightly different motion. But that is ok there is still plenty of time before my first race to get them in shape.

This video is worth its weight in gold. (How much does a bunch of megabytes weigh anyway? 😉

The Race Club Video – Gary Hall Sr


My New Swim Suit

June 8, 2009

It’s terribly embarrasing to pull on my new speedo trunks and waltz out into the public. I realize that people don’t really care, they may notice and think something but they really don’t care if some dude is wearing a suit he has no business wearing, or at least they think that. They may shake their head and think why do people do stuff like that. Well, for this case anyway I have an answer.

I swam a test 500 meters for time this weekend since I didn’t properly measure my time on my triathlon last week. I got a confirmation that swam my fastest time yet. I did the test in 8:55. This was after my 1 hour bike class that I like to swim before not after because it wears me out so much. So I got a better result in me if I start rested.

I set a goal a while back to swim 500 meters in under 10 minutes for my sprint triathlons this year. I beat 9 minutes on the first one. My goal, after I got 10 minutes in this swim was to extend it out to 1000 meters and 1500 meters at the same pace which is the length of my two longer triathlons. I think I am there now, again just from changing my swim suit. I will have to run a test next weekend for that.

I often train with a couple of people that are doing the Ironman Couer d’ Alene coming up in two weeks now. When I started swimming back in September, I was in the slow lane because they didn’t have a bumbling idiot lane. Then I worked my way up to earning the right to take up space in the slow lane. All the while these other two were in the fast lane. There were a couple of times new people came to class and I got bumped to the fast lane, but I had to work my butt off to try and not get lapped in a set of 200. Eventually I became a permanent fixture in the fast lane, though as little as two weeks ago I was struggling to not get lapped in sets of 400. What this means of course is that they could swim 7 laps faster than I could swim 8. My “100%” time was just dipping below 50 seconds a lap which means they were just below 44 seconds a lap. The last two workouts I was nipping at their toes so they let me pass and I was finishing sets of 150 a good half length in front of them and not only that but I was able to maintain a pace fast enough to be about even with them as we finish up. (usually as we finish up a 3600 yard workout I was trailing off and not a threat to keep up with anyone.) So I am now the fastest person in the fast lane (only because truly fast people are not showing up mind you) which is something I would have found hard to believe if you had told me back in September, or even a month ago for that matter.

All of this thanks to my new speedo. So yeah, when you see me and think, “why is that dude wearing a suit like that?” the answer is the same if you see me experimenting with shaving all my chest hair off (no I haven’t tried it yet and likely wont for a while). Because I can go much faster.

sore foot and a sprint tri

May 21, 2009

I hurt my foot a bit the day of the half marathon. I am not sure how cause it never hurt during or after the run until later that day. I did a bunch of stuff around the house and much of it involved standing while doing it so my theory, which my wife does not approve of course, is that I need to rest off my feet after a race. I guess the other option is only to do race distances that are not a stretch.

Speaking of which, I just entered a sprint triathlon the last day of this month. 500 meter swim in a pool, 10 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. This will actually be an easier workout than I have been doing on Saturdays when I do a much longer swim and bike and about the same run. All of the workouts are at a not all out pace with relaxed transitions that involve a trip to the locker room. So this should bring me my first chance to practice the transitions. I still need to go buy some triathlon shorts that can be used to swim and then bike and run too. With a short race I might be able to make do with what I have and adding the bike shorts over the swim suit. We’ll see if I make it to the store or not.

I am not treating this like an all out effort, but I still have some expectations. I will see how good I can guess this stuff. Assuming my foot is completely fine by then here are my expectations:
9:00 swim: (I did this pace the other day and think I can repeat it)
3:00 T1 : (I don’t know how far the walk to the bikes is and I also have bike shoes now)
33:20 bike: I hope to go 18 mph avg, but I don’t know about this
2:00 T2: I have to change to running shoes so I can’t just dump the bike and take off
27:00 : I would like to think I could hold the 9 minute pace for just 3 miles

1:14:20, this seems fast. I can’t find previous years results, but I did find a triathlon club that listed it’s members results. That time would put me in 6th or 5th place. So either I can’t estimate well, there is more to the race that I don’t know about, or the course is shorter than it used to be. I guess maybe only newbies might show up or there are only 20 people in the thing as well. I guess I will wait and see.