Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Monday, June 28, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Swimming : you just need to relax



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Just a quick note, if you're tired of trying to remember to keep your head down, turn, breathe, kick less, kick more, etc. (all of which can be overwhelming to a new swimmer), I have a suggestion.

Don't think about it.  Seriously.

I was swimming laps yesterday at our community pool while my little one was discovering her newly found love of going off the diving board (first time!).  Luckily, the lap lane is next to the diving area, so I didn't miss much.  After all, I did catch the first dozen or so times.  But I digress...

While swimming a man I was sharing the lane with made a suggestion, relax.  Enjoy. (um, ok.)

He suggested either singing songs that don't require a lot of thought (such as Mary Had a Little Lamb) or coming up with games in my head, such as running through the alphabet.  For example, A is for Apple, B is for Bat, etc.  He says games like that require thought, and make you "think less" about swimming.

Seemed counter-intuitive.

I tried it.

Children Songs definitely pass the time a bit, but don't distract me too much from form.

Thinking games?  Maybe I need to wait until my form is a little more improved.  I definitely took on some water with that experiment.

What I learned:  I really do need to relax and while I'm not sure if my legs had less drag this workout, I went about 100 more yards than I normally do.  Win.

Conclusion?  Not sure if it worked, but I appreciated the advice and will tuck that nugget away for future use.

2 comments:

Dave said...

He's right. Relaxing softens the musculature form in the water, creating less drag (as you "fight" the water that much less.) A number of things aid in this: better vision (IE: bigger goggles), repeating mantras (Exam: "Thread the needle"), drafting (when possible), etc.

Me personally, I used to count strokes when bilateral breathing in my open water swim races. I ignored the other swimmers, the clock, fatigue, etc. - and instead counted 13 strokes (or so) while breathing on one side (13 was just past one "pool length" in my training), then switched sides and repeated. That way, my swim "patterns" mimicked my own training.

Dunno. Just a thought, as it worked for me when I was starting out.

-@dsmay

Sparfy said...

odd how people come to this sport from three different directions. my friend leslie was an awesome swimmer and had to learn to bike and run.

me and the resa are good bikers ( kinda ) and cant swim or run. my friend mark is a runner first of all.

i had a lot of panic in the pool to start, then more panic in the lake. i think though that more than ANYTHING breathing is the key. you can wave your arms and feet all over, but as long as you are not out of breath its all good. so think on breathing - especially relaxed breathing. for the me the 2 huge improvements to breathing was 1 - breath out the whole time underwater. and 2 - have the return of my stroke ( the arm out of water part ) be as relaxed and lazy as possible. like just drag your hand a millimeter above the water or even at the water.

good luck! see me at my blog if you like!

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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)

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