My swimming improvements are sort of remarkable. In my first Olympic I thought I was having a heart attack while I held onto the kayak after only 200 yards. I was this close to quitting and giving up triathlon all together. Now I’m not only comfortable in the water, it’s probably my favorite sport.
But it’s tough to keep in a swim groove, especially when it gets cold outside, so I’m trying to stay realistic with my expectations. Just get to the pool once a week or so to keep it familiar.
Yesterday, I ran into my coach in the locker room and he suggested a new workout that isn’t about yards as much as building power. I can’t imagine having a coach that is more passionate about swimming, so as usual, I listened carefully as he explained.
– Start with a little warm up.
– Next go to 5 x 100 with paddles, pull buoy, and your feet strapped together with a race belt.
– Then take away the paddles for 5 x 50
– Then take away the pull buoy for 5 x 25
– Then swim without any of them for 200
It’s exactly the kind of low-distance workout that I love, but let me tell you, by the time I got to the last couple 25’s with just my feet tied, it was tough.
The whole point is to build power, turnover, and keep good body position. I have always had a tendency to over-rotate and take my head too far out of the water, so he’s always working to keeping me streamlined.
I tried the band a few times last summer in open water and it’s not fun, but once you figure out how to swim without letting your body drop straight down, it is a major breakthrough. I think it was ultimately the key to me cutting 15 minutes off my Ironman swim in Louisville.
A second part of that equation is to breathe with only one eye out of the water, and somehow they both work together. Keep your head lower and your feet stay higher.
On another note, I really wonder about the effects of chlorine. I made sure to take a long soapy shower after swimming, but later that night still smelled chlorine, and worse, had this depleted feeling or something. Like it gets into your nerves and toys with you in a toxic manner. It’s weird, though because last summer before my race I swam nearly two weeks straight without problems. Is this something related to the cold weather? Ie… dry skin and less sweating? Please send me info.