The Scribbler

21 January 2011

Going swimmingly

Filed under: swim,training,triathlon — The Scribbler @ 19:20
On Thursday evening I nipped off to the pool while Gary was enjoying his wine tasting class. The swim lane was busy, so I had to take my chances in the main pool with the aim of completing one 400m set and then swimming some more lengths focusing on technique.

I allowed myself a decent warm up, including a 100m set of front crawl, then took a rest and went into start my 400m set. But although my warm up had been slow and controlled, I immediately started rushing through the strokes. It’s like I just want it to be over as quickly as possible and windmilling my arms will speed me to the next turn.

I stopped after a couple of lengths, got my head together, swam a controlled length or two and started again. And it was a bit better, but I’m still rushing it. Rushing for the next opportunity to breathe or take a second at the end of a lap.

I had a bit of a messy head part way through, my mind taunting me saying ‘Why are you doing this? You’re not enjoying it. Who are you trying to impress?’ Hmmm, it looks like the monkey may have learned to swim.

Dodging some of the diagonal breast strokers took my mind off my mental doubts for a while. And slowing down, making the most of every stroke, relaxing on the out and in breaths got me back into a sensible rhythm again. So pretty soon there were only 5 more lengths to go and I knew I could do that.

I turned on the speed a little for the last three lengths, making a conscious effort to really push off the sides. My left goggle filled with water as I pushed off for the penultimate lap, so I ended up with one eye shut and a rather thrashy last lap, legs kicking, hard breathing, fingertips stretching for the wall.

I stopped the watch and saw 9:02 before it flicked over to pause. My fastest 400m front crawl to date. That was well worth a small skirmish with a swimming monkey. And I know there’s more in there. A faster turn around, a stronger push off, a more regular, slow, long and even stroke – there are seconds to be knocked off that time.

It’s a good starting base for my tri training which officially begins in a couple of weeks time. To be honest, if I can keep that kind of time for the swim, I’ll be very happy. And realistically I can expect to improve a bit if I keep practising and swim focused sessions regularly. But more importantly the lesson, as always, is to relax and enjoy. In swimming and running it brings me great rewards.

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