Ever since I was a little kid, my mom told me I should always share. And for most of my life, I’ve been pretty good at it. I’ve shared my toys with friends. I’ve shared my cleats with teammates. I shared my card collection with my brother, Sam. Heck, I’m sharing my journey to lose weight with all of you.
But this whole sharing a lane with two other people thing is no fun at all. And I know it’s something swimmers do on a regular basis. We’ve even written about it. But the swimming in a circle can get frustrating when, for the most part, the circle has gone something like this: Expert (not me), Mediocre (Present!) and staying in shape by getting in the pool, but moving slower than anyone else.
The pools have signs of slow, medium and fast to try to separate the difference. But inevitably, people are thrown off. I’m sure I’ve slowed the faster people at times in the past two days. And I’ve been slowed as well.
It’s frustrating, but I guess it’s a part of swimming I have to learn.
On to my workout stuff…
For the most part, I’ve never felt lost in a weight room. By that I mean, even when I’ve taken off a bunch of time from working out and lifting, I usually can get right back into the swing of things. But there is one muscle that has always given me trouble: the triceps.
That happens to be a pretty important muscle for swimming — especially when it comes to the workouts Jeff King has given me for this week.
This morning I got up at 5 a.m. and was in the pool when it opened at 5:30. That definitely helped out as far as overcrowding. I got about two-thirds of the way through my workout before a shared lane with two people became a shared lane with three, which is when it gets very difficult to do any type of distance swimming consistently without having to stop to make sure someone in front of you can get more distance.
The workout started off with, I think,,10 25s of swim. Then a 200 kick. And then back into the main stuff. I started with six 150s, the first three without fins, the second three with them. Wow, it was tiring. I think one of the things that tires me most is how bad my flip turn is when I’m tired. It ends up making me fight more to come out from underwater and that makes me feel more tired and lose more breath.
As I swam today, I overanalyzed the turn every time. And what I’ve decided is that I’m not flipping my legs over fast enough, so every time I hit the wall my feet are all the way over before they hit the wall and I’m way too low coming out. So I’ve tried to focus on flipping harder and faster to hit the wall up top and push off. I had about a 40-percent success rate and that’s because I was super-tired 60-percent of the workout.
I know my flip is one thing Jeff will probably want to see improved when he gets back (a quick shout-out to Jeff, who left a comment on yesterday’s blog. Enjoy the beach!) and I am working hard to try to get better. I think the first step is not getting tired as early.
But out of everything I learned today, it was that when I am most tired I can really feel when I am stroking properly. Today at the end of my workout — after two more 150s without fins, I had to cut it short by swimming hard with six 50s instead of two more 150s because 1) it had been an hour already and 2) the frustration of feeling like I couldn’t swim the way I wanted with other people in the lane — I had a realization. I was exhausted, but all I could think about was that my final 25 splits had been horrible. I realized that maybe when I’m most tired my focus shouldn’t necessarily be on how fast I am going — which often led to me just spinning my arms and forgetting about kick — and instead stay focused on my stroke as a whole.
In other words, I really reached hard and made sure to pull straight down and let my hand flick off my hip, a little trick Jeff taught me to make sure I was doing things right. As I went into my final 50, I realized I could really tell a difference, not because of my flick, but by how much pain I felt in my triceps. Okay, maybe ‘pain’ is the wrong word. I could feel it doing a bunch of work. And I think that means I was really reaching hard and pulling back straight.
Jeff will have to tell me if I’m right or wrong when he gets back. Regardless, at least I know I got a triceps workout.
I’ll be back in the pool tomorrow morning — I’m not missing a day this week, either — and I am going to keep pushing through these workouts, which, despite being more than I can handle in my hour/hour and fifteen minute workouts, have been making me try and learn new things.
Tomorrow, my goal is to get a whole workout sheet in, even though Jeff told me these were all tweakable. I’m debating over whether to go to the pool at 11:30 when people are at work, for the most part. That way I can swim on my own and not worry too much about sharing.
Then again, mom always said it’s better to share.
Washington Post reporter Paul Tenorio will train with a swim club over the next few months and chronicle his journey as he attempts to transform from regular guy/sports reporter to competitive swimmer — everything from his waistline to his best times.