Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beneath The Surface

I haven’t been posting much lately because I've been so busy! Yes, I've been training for the Florida Challenge Triathlon
on September 12, but I've had to sacrifice writing my blog, which sucks because I use it to track my progress...
With that said, my training has been going well. I haven't had any injuries and my energy level has been high. Instead of lifting weights twice a week I’m doing it only once.  To my pleasant surprise, I haven’t lost any strength.  I’m maintaining all my strength.  I still have a bad habit if staying up waay too late, but this is an ongoing issue that I've been dealing with since I was 7. I'll deal with it sooner or later! Lol
Lately, I've been putting a lot of emphasis on my bike & swim. I've talked about the bike constantly: I'm bad on the hills, so I have to train harder on the bike to get better.
But since this race has cutoff times, I have to make sure I finish each discipline within a specified time to continue! They haven't done this in years past, so to not finish because of a slow time is unthinkable!
That all comes back to the bike. I MUST have a strong 56 mile bike ride: a ride where I'm not worn out at the finish and can finish the 13.1 mile run in 1 piece.
A crucial aspect of that is how I START the bike, which comes back to the swim.
This sport is a challenge because you have to be good at all 3 disciplines. If you neglect 1, it'll show during the race and you'll suffer. My weakest for this course is the bike because of the hills (even though it's my fav.) As a result, I've been hitting the bike more, but I haven't neglected the swim or run.
If I neglected the swim, I could start the bike tired, and the toughness of the race is compounded dramatically. If I can start the bike feeling good, then mentally I'll feel better and possibly parlay that into a good bike and great run!
So I have been working VERY hard on my swim, specifically my form. I've been doing a lot of reading on swimming form and drills, as well ad watching swimming meets with Michael Phelps and other top stars.
Hey, if you're gonna do it, do it right by emulating the best in the business!
What I'm looking at is their form. More specifically, what they're doing UNDER the water.
All the important stuff when it comes to swimming happens beneath the surface. That's where it all happens: your speed, power, and form. It's all under water.(My friend Ster-Fry told me that years ago and I’m finally getting comfortable with the concept.) And better form equates to less energy used while swimming AND faster times...
Last night I hit Sea World to do some laps.  I call it Sea World because people can look thru the big glass windows and watch you swim while you exercise.

I really wanted to videotape myself swimming, but the gym forbids video on the premises.  I can understand, but all I wanted to do was video myself swimming a couple laps to critique my form.  But rules are rules, so all I got is this pic…lol

The trick that I’ve read countless times with the forward crawl is:
 reach out your arm to grab more water.  No short, choppy strokes.  Long & smooth
extend your stroke and have a longer glide thru the water
“grab” the water when bringing your arms thru the water
Have an “S” motion with your arms under water.
I’ve also read that it’s best to focus on form and not worry about  speed when working on the above.  I’ve been doing that all year and have seen some improvement.  I’m still the Black Turtle LOL, but I can feel my stroke improving, my glide extending, and  
 The longer your glide, the less strokes you use, and the less energy used as a result.  That’s exactly what I need when it comes to the swim.  I just want to do enough to have a decent swim.  I’m not trying to be the first outta the water.  I just want to finish the 1.2 miles feeling relaxed and ready for the bike!
Thanks to the focus on form, I can finally say I’m not the slowest in the pool at any given time.  I’ve even had people compliment me on my swimming.  Me getting compliments in the pool are about as rare as Haley’s Comet, but I’ll take them any way I can!
All in all, I’m slowly gaining confidence.  I think I’ll be ready for the race.  I’m going to keep fine tuning my swim, hitting it HARD on the bike, and have some long steadt distance runs up till about a week before the race.  At that point I will let my body rest a bit & work on the mental aspect of the race.
It’s going to be VERY tough, but I’m also going to make it fun!
Thanks for reading!  Till next time, peace!

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