[028] Mixing it up

Swim: 1,500 m/15,700 m

Bike: 0/24.16 miles

Run: 0/30.6 miles

I tried a little something different with my swim this weekend, and I think it turned out pretty well. I started out using only freestyle and, as has been the case in the few weeks I’ve been using this stroke, I was pausing for about 10-20 seconds at the end of each lap. I felt like my form was pretty smooth overall, but I just needed a few deep breaths at the end of each 25 m before setting out again. ( I wonder if I could keep going easily if the pool was longer, but the act of stopping and turning around interrupts my rhythm? I need to learn flip turns!)

So about halfway through the workout I decided to try using freestyle for 25 m and then returning across the pool using breaststroke, with no break in between. Suddenly the laps just seemed to be melting away, with only a brief stop at the end of every second lap. I was moving pretty fast (for me) with freestyle, and really falling into a groove with my breathing and form.

I know real swimmers might mock me for using the crutch of breaststroke as a recovery lap after every freestyle lap. But today it was working. I won’t do it every time, but I feel like, in this instance, it seemed to be making my freestyle better. It sounds silly, but sometimes I find myself stopping after a freestyle lap to analyze what worked and what didn’t during the last lap, and in this case I was able to do some thinking on the fly as I breast-stroked back across the pool, so my workout was continuous.

I really feel like I’m at the point where I would be getting a huge benefit from swim lessons. I have enough of a base on which to build. However, my family likes to be warm during the winter, so we’re going to be focusing some financial resources on major repairs to our home’s heating system in the next week or two, and swim lessons might have to be put off for a few more weeks. Until then I’ll keep mining the Internet for swimming tips (and perhaps go analog and check out the Total Immersion book) to continue making progress on my own.

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One Response to [028] Mixing it up

  1. John Clarke says:

    I have been through the same things you are going through. When I first got back into swimming, I was using breaststroke probably 50 percent of the time. Over time I made myself quit that.

    Your breathing will come with persistance. I think that’s a major hurdle for any swimmer with not a lot of experience.

    If you make yourself push on you’ll build up your endurance. Try not allowing the breaks at the wall.

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