Monday, 15 October 2018

Out of the Doldrums (well, it's a start)

Things have been a bit quiet since Ironman. To be fair, I lost a lot of motivation with having nothing to train for, and also because the achilles injury I picked up in early July (yes, that's just before Ironman!) was - and still is - ongoing.

The next major event on the horizon is the Coles Bay Half triathlon in Tasmania in February, and rather than corrupting a full distance Ironman training plan, I decided to buy Don Fink's half iron distance book and work to that; the plan starts in earnest on 5th of November but does - of course - assume a certain level of commitment and fitness ahead of getting to that point.

Last week I commuted to and from work a few times, but nothing specific apart from that (and mending a puncture - always useful to practice), but overall it felt good to be out and about riding, especially as the return journey is in effect a 10km hill, and riding the heavier Kinesis-framed bike it's actually pretty hard work. I also had a run session on Friday which was fun, especially as it was raining pretty hard at the time.

This week it's time to start to increase the workload a little, while still being in a fairly free-form mode. I went out for an early swim today up at the local pool. If anything just to start to add some more distance and to start to get used to regular swimming sessions once more.

There were times earlier in the year when I was really happy with my swimming, and I used to look forward to spending an hour or more in the pool, just enjoying the process of learning to swim further, to cover the iron distance, but not necessarily faster.

More recently though I've not looked forward to it, and it's become something of a chore. Swim distances have suffered, as has speed, but I know it's mostly in my head and that a hefty dose of Rule 5 is called for.
Well, it was dark when I arrived!

Today was different though. I set myself a target, which was to just get to 500m and enjoy the session; no more, no less. This I achieved with no worries or problems but I could feel form had dissipated and I wasn't really using my arms convincingly.

One of the other swimmers came over for a chat as he was leaving and said I was over-extending both arms during the entry phase. I'd worked on this mid-year but in my haste to 'just swim' this had all been forgotten and I was right back to just 2 arms flailing uselessly, causing probably more issues than they were solving.

According to Don Fink's 'Be Iron Fit' book, hands should contact the water above the head and in front of the shoulder and should *then* extend whilst at the same point rolling the body. He also explains that over-reaching is a big cause of swimmers slowing down as there is a tendency for the hand to cross the centre line, causing the body to inherit more drag from the resulting fishtail motion. 

I guess that swimming is just like the biomechanics associated with running and cycling, where a negative effect in one area will have a knock-on effect in other areas.

My session was done by this point but there was no harm in just reminding myself of the form by doing a couple of extra lengths. The upshot was that cadence increased, and time decreased considerably over a 100m distance.

Time will tell now as to how well I can continue with this form, not let it dissipate again and make sure I build on it moving forwards into Fink's structured sessions in a couple of weeks. Between now and then though there's a lot of swimming to be done and I'm happy about that!

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