Friday, November 20, 2009

Head down and don't breath yet!

I'm stuck at home with my little sick guy right now. It's pouring outside. Absolulely pouring. I love love love being home when it's raining. I had planned a big Christmas shopping day today. The boys were even going to take the bus home so I could have until 4:00. Instead, I am here. Making lists. Planning for next week. Next week is full of good stuff...but all that good stuff takes a little work. So I am planning that work since I can't go out and get the stuff I need to do it.

I've been thinking about swimming a lot lately. Hmmm...wonder why! It seems like it's all I've done for training this week! It's all relative though. I swam 4x times this week. In reality, that's nothing. Nothing!! I was a swimmer swimmer way back. In college, we practiced 11x week. And each practice almost double in yardage what I do at one these days. But that was all I did so it's ok. So now, as a Mom who does Triathlons, swimming 4x week is a lot. Especially because the pool isn't nearby. I've been swimming. I also watched the Swimming World Championships on DVR the other day while on my trainer.
You know what I Love about guy swimmers? Alright, this could be a long list but I'm going to focus on one thing here. They are very very Hot! No....that's not what I am going with here. But yeah....gotta love those swimmers huh.
No, they take their form very seriously. I find that hot quite frankly. I love that they know they must respect the water and use their bodies smartly in order to go fast. They push off the walls so incredibly tight. They are streamlined and they kick cleanly and efficiently. Their strokes are amazing. Their egos don't preceed form in the water and therefore they fly.
I hear my old coaches yelling or grimacing almost every time I push off the walls these days. can you say Lazy?? It's bad. And it's slow. Sometimes I'll be swimmign along, feeling strong and fast, I'll hit my turn and before I even pass the flags I'm pulling and taking a breath! Ahhh!! that is Bad! I realize that Most of my races are in open water now...but as a swimmer this shouldn't matter. That's just a bad turn. It's slow and lazy and messy. Jen's workout for me the other day involved working on distance per stroke. The final challenge of the workout was to descent 3x100s while keeping the same stroke count. It was a stroke count that was just below my norm. It wasn't too hard for me. You know why? I decided to suck it up, hold my breath a little, and hit those turns like I used to. I pushed hard, streamlined like an arrow, and then pulled out my secret weapon. My dolphin kick. (x-butterflier here...) I kicked like mad and hit that turn like a real swimmer. The result? A 1:10 100 yard swim with a low # strokes. Cool. it all the time. Sheeshh....see what happens when we get lazy and sloppy? We get slower. We get lazier. If you practice the proper form all the's easy to use and you will be faster when you race.
This is the same for biking and running too I believe. You must practice. Constatnly. Ride like you want to ride when you race. And run like you want to run. I dont' mean race each ride, run, or swim. Of course not. But be smart and use your skills. Dont' get sloppy. Because as soon as your sloppy, you are reinforcing that in your brain. When you hit mile 8 of a half marathon, or mile 34 in a half ironman, or 500 yards in a 1.2 will be tired on some level and your body will fall back into the bad form you reinforced while training.

My new mission is to hit all turns next week like a real swimmer. This used to be a strength of mine. Good starts and good turns. So I will get that back. No more laziness off the wall. Details, yes. But it matters.

back to the planning.


Judi said...

omg, such a perfectionist you are. :) i would kill to be able to swim like you. i wish i had taken it more seriously when i was a kid.

cheryl said...

Angela - I was a college swimmer, now 20 years removed, when I started to swim with college age students 5 years ago(I work at a university), they all kicked my ass on the walls. They forced me to dolphin kick off the wall (I was fly/back) but had not done it on free. ANd now I do, and like you ,I try to take full advantage of the turns just to have faster 50's and 100's. I'm a sprinter, so I generally just fall off the longer the interval is, but I love the short stuff, and the turns are fun to work on. Maybe we'll get in a swim session together in Tucson.

hope you get a make-up-shopping day soon.

Beth said...

I am soooo impressed with the real swimmers at masters because of how they push off they wall!! They don't start "swimming" or breathing until what seems like halfway across the pool...after I've already taken like 5 breaths!! :) YAY - way to work hard at it!!

Mama Simmons said...

Good thing to focus on! I swim longcourse all the time now so turns matter a little less, but I still like crushing people off the walls. :)

healthyish said...

Ugh, you're right, Ange. Thanks for the kick in the pants. My turns stink these days. Granted I have plenty of excuses for loafing off the wall, but they're just excuses. The truth is: I've been slacking and it sure shows. When I go fast I usually miss my turn. Yup, that's a problem. Tomorrow morning, I will work my turns and I will go back to trying dolphin kick off the wall. (For the record, my college coach asked me to please stop doing dolphin kick off the wall on backstroke 'cause it slowed me down...)

rungirl said...

I wish I was a swimmer. I wish I could glide through the water ... hit my flip turns ... be fast.

I can only do flip turns during my warm-up and cool down. During the workout and I can't breathe enough to do a flip turn. I do work hard at the no breathing before the flags, but I don't always make it. The 1:10 100 ... yeah, no. never.

Count your blessings chicka!

Jennifer Harrison said...

I think one of my biggest pet peeves in working with swimmers (triathlete swimmers) is their lack of interest in learning how to work the wall OR flip turn. FREE SPEED and it just makes you a better swimmer. So YES, after that foot heals up 100%, back you go.

It is funny b/c I am not a pure swimmer either - DID NOT swim in College - so I get CRUSHED on the walls with the real swimmers....and it is something I constantly am working on myself...especially after all the OW swimming I do all summer...pool swimming is an art. :)