Taking the plunge again
Well, I've gone and signed up for another Swimtrek tour, British Virgin Islands this time. This gives me something to shoot for in March, and hopefully a good base for open water season.
Based on my Croatia experiences, I'm doing things a little differently this time. Then, I was taking a step into the unknown and wasn't confident of my ability to do the distances, so I focused on lots and lots of distance front crawl. When I got there the swims were no problem, but my poor feet really suffered on the hikes. This time around I'm doing more dry land training, including running and a very tough Saturday morning spin class with my beloved. I found out how weak my abdominals were this past weekend, and when the instructor had us roll our illiotibial bands over a foam roller to stretch them... oh, man, I can't believe how painful that was!
My recently acquired YWCA membership came with one free personal training session, so I'll make use of that to get a weight training program made up, with core strength and injury prevention as the main goals.
I'm also going to keep up the four-strokes training. Last time I dropped that, but I think it helps with overall endurance.
Yesterday I did the first of the weekly distance swims, very gently and slowly as I was tired from both the spin/foam roller class and a Saturday one-hour swim that included butterfly work. Being tired was actually a good thing, it forced me to focus on keeping my form right to the end of the 2000m swim, which consisted of 14 x 150m, 100 crawl+50 back stroke to even out the muscle effort. Focal points were:
[*]relaxed legs and ankles for a "whippy" kick
[*]keeping my arms, especially the right arm, outside of my body
[*]timing the kick with the catch to anchor my body before spearing forward
[*]keeping the spearing hand completely relaxed
I kept a consistant stroke count right up to the next-to-last set. There should have been a little more rest between sets, but the lap session was ending and I was pressed for time. All in all, it felt really good, and slow as it seemed, I noticed I was keeping up with a regular in another lane who is normally a little faster than me.
Today I think I'll just rest and stretch.
Blogs on Training
Rhonda and others
Watch for my blogs on training topics. I've posted one already Should Fitness Swimmers Use Interval Training? and will add a second today.
Yes, I'm doing these swims as 150m intervals rather than as continuous long blocks because I don't want my stroke to fall apart. The rest between is short, no more than 5 seconds, because I'm not aiming for speed right now. That can come in April, after the trip is over. Last year I started doing speed work in February and felt a bit burned out by July.
The cold water swimming article is interesting. I wonder if I could summon up a hot flash or two during my next chilly lake swim. :-)
So, I've had the weight room orientation that came with my YWCA membership and found out I've been doing a lot of things wrong for years. Good to finally know how to do these exercises right. :-)
This morning I warmed up with 400 meters of drills; 4x25 Active balance looking down with fins, 4x25 streamline, alternating lead arms, 4x25 underswitch, and 4x25 single moving up to triple switches. On the triple switches I tried to maintain the feel of weight shift and power transfer that I had in underswitch. We did underswitches in club Friday night and I was happy to rediscover what they could do for my stroke.
Then I did my distance swim, this time 15x150. Forgot the Fist Gloves this time, and didn't add in quite as much back stroke. My stroke count was consistently low until I started to tire a bit around set 10. I got back my concentration by alternating 3 or 4 underswitches with 3 or 4 whole strokes for a few lengths each set. Next week I think I'll do even more underswitch, maybe alternate it with whole stroke until I can get that feeling every time in whole stroke.
I have been to St. John twice (U. S. Virgin Islands). The british side seems even more laid back, much less populous and have some great islands and great water -- from what I have read about them. Sounds like a great trip.
The land there can be steep in places and fairly rocky. It might be good to get some hill climbing in your "practice" walks. It seems like flatland walks don't hit the same muscles. And some lightweight boots with good ankle support would be a good idea.
I am very impressed by your workout plan. Have fun!
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