Swimming update…improving…I think

I’m feeling solid about my bike and run results now, and feel that if I can hold the training together, not get cooked, sick or break something, that I have a clear path to increasing the training distances, with quite a bit of Intensity included, and be in good shape at the Ironman start line.

Swimming…I’m just not sure…yet.

The ‘numbers’ though do give me some consolation…my Swimsense watch, although not perfect, and not always exactly accurate, at least gives me some good comparative data.

Four weeks ago, on August 11, 2011:
DISTANCE: 2050y AVG PACE: 2.13 /100y AVG STROKE: 10


And from my workout on Monday, September 12, 2011
DISTANCE: 3025y AVG PACE: 1.58 /100y AVG STROKE: 9


A part of my swimming challenge is that my swimming days have been stepped on to some degree by the big bike and run days, so it’s been a challenge trying to fit in/find swimming days when I’m not tired/recovering from bike/run days.

My main swim day is a 3,000 Yard swim on Monday, with broken intervals, working on increasing my stroke rate…progressively faster each week.

A few weeks ago though, even though I was successfully increasing my stroke rate, and feeling comfortable at the faster paces, my stroke ‘count’ was still sort of stuck in the 20-22 strokes/25 Yard range (10-11 the way that Swimsense counts it), and I was expending more effort…on my recovery and ‘pulling’…than I should be

…Coach Dinah Mistilis became re-focused on a ‘relaxed recovery’, using my hip rotation and lats more than my shoulders to get the arms forward, ‘softening’ the front end to take out tension, and getting to a more ‘front quadrant’ position…that is being ‘patient’ with the lead arm…oh and getting my head to move for a breath with the hip rotation, rather than lagging a hair…wheew

As a result, it’s become like learning swimming all over again…all the ‘stuff’ that I’ve been working on, now just applying in a smoother, more consistent fashion.

A few things happened:

  • my stroke count came down to 18-20 strokes/25Yards…good
  • I was struggling to get a breath though, since I apparently was ‘propping’ on my non-breathing arm, and so needed to improve my core balance, so that my head rolled to a breath, without being ‘propped’ up
  • I immediately had difficulty in maintaining the faster stroke ‘rate’ since I couldn’t find a way to get those arms back up front with the hips and lats fast enough…without ‘throwing’ them up there like I’d been doing
  • so at anything more that 50-100 yards, I started to struggle, my stroke count started to rise, and I felt like things were coming apart

So for the past 2 weeks, in that 3,000 Yard main workout, I’ve been back to 25-100 Yard intervals…and instead of a long swim in a second workout, I’ve used it to continue to work on form, with shorter intervals, although up to 250 yards.

So what I’ve found is that I do appear to finally be ‘getting it’…although my best stroke counts…in the 18’ish strokes (9 on Swimsense) / 25 yard range, are still at a slow and relaxed stroke rate…not the worst thing in the world, but I’d still like to be ‘faster’ on Ironman day…so the work now continues to see if I can maintain that efficient form, while getting that rotation to turnover faster…and maintain that at longer distances.

…it’s just that 100 yards is not 2.4 miles…so it’s getting to be that time when I’ll need to take whatever stroke that I have to the long-distance dance 🙂


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