Friday, July 7, 2017

I want to swim faster

If I had a nickle for every time I hear this..... in all seriousness, I think it is the # 1 goal  I hear from any triathlete that not a swimmer from childhood.  Because frankly from my perspective, the swim is a frickin hour and the run is much can I dial back the clock to when I was 5 and swimming on the summer league team and put myself on the track.  WHY couldn't I have logged those million miles on the track? Well..... I did not and suffice to say that if I had been running track it is not likely I would have earned a scholarship to LSU for track.  I loved swimming and I loved growing up a swimmer.  I have been getting up at 4:30 since I was 12, I have had damaged hair (often green) and smelled like a bottle of beach most of my life.  I did take a hiatus from swimming from the age of  21-38, other than when I was pregnant, because I was SO burned out. Let's just say my last collegiate swim was the 1000 at SEC's, I hopped out of the pool, did not warm down, threw my cap and goggles in the trash can and said peace out to the pool, chlorine the lifestyle.

I became a competitive drinker and eater and was as successful as I was at swimming. Gained 20 lbs and felt just as poorly, but was hungover vs over trained.  18  months later I recognized this was not a sustainable lifestyle and went back to the pool, tried masters. The 2nd workout when coach gave a set I did not feel like doing I hopped out of the pool... because I COULD.  Again I said peace out and I decided to try and get fit on land.

I started running and loved it. It was a whole new world. 1- music 2- chatting with friends 3- I could go out my front door 4- no chlorine damage 5- no historical data to compare it to.

I was a recreational runner for years but somewhere around 30 I started to take it up a notch, sign up for races, go to the track, buy a giant GPS watch and then the cycle of injury began. See in swimming from Sr Age Group to College every workout was nearly to failure, puking was fairly common and pushing yourself to a limit of white lightening was common. So I applied a similar approach to ruining.  And I learned bones break, tendons tear, all pain is not good pain. See I did not know the difference.   Years of injury and recovery led me to triathlon...

So I digress that is my history!    When triathletes some of whom  I coach, others are friends - either in real life or on facebook, say " I want to be a better swimmer"

Here is my response

1- do you have the same commitment to swimming as you do biking and running
2- What does that mean?
   - if you are training for Ironman - are you logging a minimum of 15K per week
   - you are are training for 70.3 are you logging a minimum of 9K per week?
   - NOTE minimum and that is NOT because I am swimmer, it because that it what it takes to swim well.
3- Assuming you are logging that much (which most are not) how are you logging it?  ez swims, independent swims, OW swims without efforts?  Junk miles in the pool or OW are not helping you reach your potential.  I see so many just swimming along without using the clock, working hard efforts etc-  would you just ride your bike ez every workout?
4- think about what you do on the bike and run? Intervals, efforts, hill repeats- do you apply the same stimulus in the pool
5- Masters Swimming -  assuming you have access to a good program (which many do not I realize) you need to get your arse there.   I cannot push myself as hard as I do when Hux or Hillary is on deck at the Y.  It's hard, uncomfortable and sometimes down right miserable, but that is what it takes.  Ther are days post  swim I can be found on the bench, head in my hands trying to recover.   If you don't have a program that works, find  a buddy, commit to workouts and use the clock to dig deep and go hard.
6- Just because I am a swimmer does NOT mean I hardly swim- I swim a LOT and I swim hard to maximize my strength.

Questions....message me!  happy to help. Happy to explain what a base interval is and WHY you need to know it and how to use it.  Happy to explain why NOT to stop and start the fricking garmin the entire workout.   You want to wear it- no problem but start at the beginning and stop at the end!  You should be working so hard that you CANNOT be managing a watch.