Mile-plus in the bag - fun!
Checked this block tonight - did 36 deliberately very easy laps in a 25 yard pool without pushoffs, just to keep it honest and in case I missed a count. About 45 mins total. Felt like I could have gone on another hour at that pace - very similar to the other experiences described.
I spent 6-8 months a couple of years ago practicing TI regularly, clinic, all the books and tapes, etc., but was more focused then on stroke-count lowering over short distances than increasing distance. I think the furthest I swam at that point was 500 yards. Then fell out of it mostly due to a grueling on the road work schedule that made regular swimming impractical.
Now my focus is back on swimming (triathlon), so I'm more interested in distance. Have been back at it several times per week for about a month.
Some observations: this is more like riding a bike than I thought. The old stroke count and decent but imperfect breathing mechanics (let's call it "one eye and a half out of the water") came back very rapidly.
Improvements over the past month have been to tighten up and minimize my 2-beat kick - its non-propulsive anyway, so I just focus on pointing the toes and flicking enough water with the top of the foot to help fore-aft balance and maybe help drive the rotation a bit. And I like Terry's "soft hook" catch metaphor; I feel better traction than ever before.
But the thing that made this "mile" milestone really a piece of cake is some of the tips on the forum and materials about relaxing into the water, feeling supported. And of course, breathing - Terry's guidance on how that should feel changed my swimming more than any one thing I've learned about all of this . . . and I read and try it all at least once. Surprising how much "aerobic endurance" suddenly appears when you are not as tense as a cigar store Indian and have actual air exchange going on . . .
Its also surprising how much the stroke holds together after 10, 20, 30 laps. Ingraining really is ingraining . . . I found it pretty easy to think about and adjust with tried and true focal points mid-swim - here I used all the tension-releasing, "easing" ones from time to time - weightless arm, hang the head, relaxed recovery, etc. For the first time, on this swim, about halfway through, the bubbles formerly attached to all surfaces of my entering hand disappeared - just blue water and skin. No idea why. But I like it . . .
I didn't count strokes . . . my goal was just to cover the distance with ease and comfort. I'll monitor those and splits next time - or rather my new high-tech swim watch will do that for me. I'd guess an average 18 SPL, which means it was probably 20-21.
My heart rate at the end was about 112 - this really was stunningly easy at my deliberately slow pace.
Speed will come . . . but it does feel good to have passed this distance benchmark and really enjoy it from start to finish.
Thanks very much to Terry and the many posters who have contributed advice on how to go from adult-onset water abuser to continuous-mile swimmer.
Now to do it with flip turns . . . and in open water. Not going to be a problem.
Well done. There's some between-the-lines wisdom in your post that reveals what I believe is the real reason you completed the mile with such ease. You've made Mindful Swimming -- every stroke with a clear purpose and focus - an ingrained habit (along with all those mini-skills you mentioned.) That keeps you so occupied with one-stroke-then-the-next you hardly have time to think about how far you have to go. You just take the next Mindful Stroke.
Thanks Terry and . . . exactly.
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