Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March is Swim Month

The Big Boy Pool (Riverbank State Park 50m)
"One great big festering neon distraction, I've a suggestion to keep us all occupied. Learn to swim." Tool

It has been decided that it's time for me to get serious about swimming. I've had very few training weeks with more than 2 swims. I have managed to scrape by with the bare minimum in the water and I'm ashamed to be such a slacker. It isn't even that I mind swimming, I actually like it. I'm not *that* afraid of open water swimming and I even have an awesome Xterra wetsuit. My problem is that I want to be perfect. I'm a trained yoga instructor and there is a reason that I chose Atmananda yoga for my training -- alignment. I love knowing what my body is supposed to do and I enjoy controlling my body. I appreciate the ability to develop strong body-awareness and focus. That said, I do not understand swimming. I don't know what a perfect swim stroke should look like, and therefore, don't know what my very specific goals are. I hear conflicting opinions and it confuses and frustrates me. Am I doing this all wrong? Am I training myself to swim improperly? And even worse, my body-awareness is WAY OFF in the water! In order to avoid crossing over with my left arm, I have to swim as if I am pulling my left arm way out at my side. I feel lost and IMPERFECT. The horror!

So now its time to figure this out. I got some excellent tips during swim sessions at SLB and I'm ready to dig way into this. Maybe I won't get it perfect in the end. That's fine, because I'm pretty sure that just being in the water and making an effort will help me improve at this point. And even if I don't get faster I won't have to feel like I'm not trying my darnedest to kick ass in this sport... to earn my results.

My solution: This month I will swim at least 3-4 times per week. I will include form drills and speed sets. I won't just get in the pool and do continuous swims (what I have always done). I will also bring my coach to the pool with me to give me tips and take videos. Then I will cook him dinner, as a way to say thank you ;)
My plan may not sound like much to most of you. Keep in mind, this is a start. We'll see how it goes and maybe I'll be swimming across Tahoe with Brett and Morgan someday!


Jamie said...

I'm doing the same thing as you. I'd always done long easy swims with a few sprint sets, but never really killed myself with intensity or analyzed my form.

While intimidating, I am seeing some major progress after 2 months in masters and doing some underwater video analysis.

Keep at it Christine! The faster you get into T1, the less people you have to bike and run down on the way to the finish line.

Elle and Webb said...

We are swimming everyday the month of March based on Brett's interview with Coach Mike Ricci. Four to Five days a week will be short (30:00) drill-focused swim, with two to three being longer or higher intensity. We're following Brett's advice to swim hard and the form will follow. (We are also ignoring his advice not to swim everyday - that is where Ricci enters the plan.)
Check out workouts at

Have fun in the pool and good luck

Donna said...

Swim like fish!

I've not been swimming more than 2 times a week this off season, but what I have been doing is completely rebuilding my stroke. I have seen a huge change in my form, with only a small sacrifice of fitness. I know now that I am ramping up again to more time in the pool, the focused swim time will pay off.

Good luck in the Big Boy Pool ;-)