Back in the day when I used to play soccer on a daily basis, one of the most important things (in my teenage mind) was the selection of my pre-game music.
The rides to the games when the music played — either on my car radio or in my headphones — was critical. I needed the right beat, the right rhythm to get my mind right for the game. Sometimes it was rap, other times it was something like The Fugees or Bob Marley, sometimes it was something completely different.
I remember a phase where before big games by best friend and teammate, Mike, used to play Al Pacino’s Any Given Sunday speech. (YouTube it if you haven’t seen it…you won’t be disappointed.)
Corny, but good memories nonetheless.
This morning as I pushed through yet another solid workout, the idea of music came into my head — mainly because I felt as though I was finding my own rhythm again. I have started to feel like I’m re-discovering my beat in the pool.
Jeff has varied his workouts over the last few weeks. For a while the distances were cut way down and focused on racing and sprinting. Then on Friday he hit me with a little distance (800, 700, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 — with other stuff mixed in). This week, he’s really varied it by throwing a lot of breath control and a mix of 100s, 200s and 400s at me in practice.
The great thing is, through it all, my shoulder has held up fine. The anti-inflammatory has been great, I’m adding more stretching to my schedule and will be adding a post-workout recovery routine as well to help the muscles respond as best they can.
And like I said, I’m starting to feel more and more like myself in the pool.
Jeff warned me on Friday that I would probably be sore from the first big distance set in a long time and he was right. My chest was very tight and my arms were dead. Then to make the weekend worse, I was hit with a slight cold.
I laid low all weekend and drank tons of water to stave it off and currently am winning the battle. But boy, did Jeff pick a great week for breath control.
Yesterday’s set was a really neat mix of different types of breath control mixed into our swims — for example, one was one breath up, two back for four 200s. Another was increasing the number of black lines of zero breath at each wall.
I thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion at times, but it’s fun to challenge yourself to make it just one more black line without a breath. And if you do it enough, you can start to see the results of breath control work relatively quickly.
At the end of the day, it was one of those sets where you look back at it and say (in Jeff’s words): That was worth the price of admission.
Today I put paddles on for the first time and experienced almost no pain while I was swimming with them. Just a tad bit of soreness early on that faded very quickly.
It’s something I had done just once since my shoulder first acted up and only then for about two strokes before I chucked them. It was a huge confidence boost to know the strengthening exercises/medicine/stretching is working and that I’m starting to actually SEE the effects in the pool.
The plan is for me to start yoga once a week next week. We’ll see how that goes. I have to be one of the least flexible people you’ll ever meet. Even in elementary school, I could never get the Presidential Fitness Patch (I would always get the National, or whatever the second-best was) because I couldn’t even break even on the sit-and-reach. Pitiful.
Hopefully increasing my flexibility will directly impact me in the pool. I’ve heard it can do wonders.
It makes me chuckle to myself, though, at the though of me doing yoga. I never would have imagined it even one year ago. Definitely another new experience to chalk up to this blog. I’m actually kind of excited about it…
What do you guys think? Have you done yoga? Have you seen results? Am I in for a surprise?