Settling into a routine is key in training this far in advance for one race. The pot of gold at the end of this very long rainbow is hard to see, so it’s important to incorporate the workouts into my daily life.
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time settling into this routine. It’s mostly because of my hectic and chaotic life at the moment. Working shifts and trying to fit in workouts is fairly difficult. This summer it was much easier because everyday I worked the same hours. It’s basically a mental hurdle that I have to get over… and soon.
Last night I had a good session at swimming from 10-11pm. I’m enjoying the late-night sessions because they tend to not interfere with the evening, which is nice. The session went like this…
300m warm-up, choice of stroke
4x50m, 25m skull/swim (skull=arms-only)
6 x 100m freestyle, 5-10 seconds slower than race pace
6 x 50m, 25m kick/25m swim
6 x 100m freestyle, at race pace
I swim in a lane with 2 other girls who are a bit faster than me. This is a good thing because it makes me kick it up a notch. Last night I started to throw in the ol’ flip-turns, which I haven’t done in a long time. I basically have to do the flip-turns because the other girls do them. It also makes everything faster and smoother. Plus, I don’t get that extra breath of air when turning, which I tend to rely on too often. It’s taken me a while to get back into flip-turns because I only do them when I’m truly comfortable with swimming and my stroke.
I go back-and-forth on whether flip-turns are useful or not because they are never used in triathlons. However, I’ve come to learn that they are useful in the pool. When you’re swimming and get to the end of the length of the pool, stopping your whole body to change directions stops the flow of the stroke. When flip-turns are used, it keeps the flow going. This is key in a triathlon and I think that flip-turns might be good for this. At the same time, they are hard and sometimes I get water up my nose. Because I taught myself how to do them and I’ve never had it verified that they are correct, I’m a little self-conscious about them. I’m worried that I flip crookedly or that my push isn’t right and that I’ll be judged by the others. Sometimes the ego gets in the way of training. It’s kind of weird, but it is a barrier that I need to get over. Perhaps I’ll talk to my coach about my flip-turns. That’s what she’s there for!
This swim session was really good for my form. I actually felt like my stroke was coming together. I’ve been a fairly good swimmer for most of my life and I’ve been coached for a while, but my freestyle stroke always needs improving. Last night I tried to experiment with my hand and thumb position in the water. Trying to make it more like a spoon and less like a fork. I am slowly, but surely learning to push the water with my hand, not move my hand through the water. Pushing and feeling the water on my arm and hand is key in accelerating the stroke and pushing the whole body forwards. In triathlon, it is important that one doesn’t use up their legs during the swim. It is very important that most of the swim is done with the arms. It’s really the only time that the arms should really be tired. The rest of the race, they are just making things less difficult for the legs. It is important that I work on this now so that I can work on speed and endurance in the next phases of my training.
I just wish the biking and running would be at this same point. That’s where settling into the rhythm of my workouts is key. Rhythms of the workouts, of the stroke, of each step and breath, and of each pedal. Triathlon is really about rhythm. Three different rhytms put together in one race. I love this sport.