adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘swimming faster’

Mighty Mac Training Monday 3.9.15

Monday I was back in the pool after the weekend. Today got time crunched (as usual, this will become the story of my training), and thus possibly a little shorter than I wanted.

Today was drills and skills, and some intervals at the end. If you don’t do drills, start. Swimming drills are great because you are still logging yardage while getting some actual skill improvement in. If you avoid drills because they’re hard, don’t. If you skip drills because all the ones you know are easy, try some harder ones (like the one below).

Skills development is meant specifically for open water. With open water, you have to consider the environment- where the sun is in relation to you, the direction the waves are headed, sighting, and size of waves. You can still practice skill development in the pool! ¬†So Monday’s workout consisted of A LOT of drills and skills. I occasionally like to do a big set of these, and today was one of those days. I won’t explain every drill now, but will add a video or two every post to explain what I mean.

Monday’s workout:

  • 500 warm- up, every 10th lap backstroke
  • 4×100 drill/swim, Single Arm Freestyle, hand at side 25 R/ 25L, 50 Hypoxic breathing 5-7
  • 4×100 drill/swim, 1Arm Extended Freestyle kick on side 25R/25L, 50 breathing only one side 25R/25L
  • 4×100 drill/swim, 50 sculling drill, 50 heads up swimming half length, heads down other half
  • 4×100 drill/swim 50 high elbow drill/50 backstroke or breastroke
  • 6×100 swim freestyle, hard, consistent times, 30 seconds RI
  • slow backstroke-you should be pretty gassed after the last set

So the most important drill you can do in my opinion is Single Arm Freestyle, first with the non-swimming arm extended in front of you, and progress to the arm at your side. When I first did the arm at your side as an adult, I felt completely inept. But that one drill is the best thing I have done to exaggerate and focus on the rotation of the hips as you swim. Good swimmers swim on their sides, not on their stomachs. This pattern is the aquatic gait, similar to running. If you don’t think the gait is significant in swimming, try swimming double arm freestyle for a length. If you like it, then dry off, get dressed, and try running with your hands at your sides. Let me know what you think. ūüėČ

Check it out- as he mentions, the first single arm drill serves a different purpose than the second:

I will post up more drills and videos in the coming workouts as necessary, but hit me up with questions! ¬†ūüôā


WTF- Welcome to Fruita

So… we got to have our first Fruita trip of the “season” if you will.¬† Taylor¬†ran the Desert RATS 25 mile race.¬† I gotta¬†say,¬† I LOVE FRUITA.¬† I can’t really say if it’s the place or the time of year, or the invariable beautiful weather that greets us, but I love it.¬† I saw a ¬†bumper sticker¬†in town¬†that read “WTF -Welcome to Fruita” and I think I was even more in love.¬† Even when I believe a guy called me “jerk” from his road bike as I was driving my gas-hogging-anti-Earth-loving vehicle (SLOWLY!) down the road from the CO National Monument for the 2nd time that day.¬† Oh well, you try getting everything all packed up by 5:30 AM, ya jerk… WTF. Welcome to Fruita, I guess.

My baby #1 taking a hike.

Anyhow, I love that race, and I was psyched to go and see the finish (of which we made it about 5 minutes before Taylor came in), dig in the sand/dirt, etc.  Going to an ultra marathon race always puts your personal fitness in perspective, and Desert RATS was no different from any other race.  I texted Christine to tell her that going to the race packet pickup was like being the fat chick at the frat party.  I pretty much had to be the only lady above a size 4 there.  Oh well. WTF.  Welcome to Fruita.

Taylor rocked it in his goal of 5 hours or less.¬† He did it in “or less”- not sure how much less, since they count that stuff IN HOURS and I wasn’t paying attention to the clock.

Sarah and Meg running Dad into the finish line. ūüôā

After the race, Taylor was a good sport and let me stop at Highline State Park on the way back to Fruita to get “acclimatized” to the water.¬† It was a BALMY 52 degrees.¬† After reading all these open water swimming books, I was CERTAIN I would be SO AWESOME at swimming in the open water.¬†¬† I totally wasn’t.¬† It was pretty sad.¬† All those same feelings I have always had in open water re-surfaced and were twice as bad because the water was murky.¬† I thought I had open water swimming down pat, but I realize that I have not swum in anything but clear open water, so¬†I kinda¬†freaked.¬† But I did several hundred yards, even if it was fifty yards out and back several times.¬† I haven’t ever swam in a wetsuit, so it was good to know what that would feel like before my race in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks.

I am glad I went swimming there, since my goal is to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in that same water in October.¬† That’s right, I signed up for the Desert’s Edge Triathlon¬†in October at Highline State Park.¬† It will be my first Olympic length triathlon, if I make it that far.¬† I sure hope I do, since it will look weird if we just happen to be camping there for the weekend and not doing the race.

I am pretty excited to end our race season in Fruita as well, since I pretty much love the place.¬† Mostly because of its proximity to Kohl’s in Grand Junction.¬† And they remodeled the City Market in GJ, so it has a very large natural beauty products section which smells a lot like Whole Foods Market, which I imagine is the closest the Western Slope will ever get to having a Whole Foods.¬† I could have stayed in that section of the City Market for the¬†day it smelled so good. As it was, I walked in for a toothbrush and to let my kids pee (since the city parks don’t open their public restrooms until 7:30 AM) and walked out with $30-plus of natural products.¬†¬†Plus, in¬†Fruita, they have awesome food, camping, and a dinosaur museum,¬† which Sarah thinks is the best thing since macaroni and cheese.¬† Which she consumed at least 3 times in our 36 hour trip.¬† WTF, you might say?¬† I say, Welcome to Fruita.¬† And welcome to racing season.¬† Pretty psyched for what’s ahead.

Swim Stroke Tips- Rotation and Core

Well, no one asked for it, but I wanted to put out some ideas for swimming drills that will help you become a better swimmer.¬† I have been reading A LOT of swimming books lately, and I have read a lot of good ideas for improving stroke.¬† I am working on a post specific to open water, but it’s not ready (or I’m not ready?¬† Not sure there…).¬† I put these drills in my ziploc to take to the pool so I have them handy as I am creating a workout.¬† Hopefully, you can add your ideas to this,¬†or if you have questions, let me know!

Body rotation is an essential component of a good freestyle stroke.¬† Most people who struggle to swim lack good body rotation, or they do not have all the parts rotating together, creating a “wiggly” stroke.¬†¬† Rotation needs to come from your upper body and your core, but your hips should be rotating too.¬† You might be surprised to learn you need to have both balance and core strength in swimming.¬† Dry land core strength exercises will help you.

The book  Open Water Swimming by Steve Munatones is awesome, and some of the drills we do in practice are highlighted in his book.

Some body rotation drills include:
1. Kick with arms at your side, breathing one side and then the other side.  We did this drill with Coach Bob, who is awesome!
2. Sidekick- one arm in front of you, one arm at your side.  One thing I learned in this video is that you should do this drill with your face in the water, pointed at the bottom.
3. Switch kick- kick with one arm extended for 6 or 8 kicks, then switch to the other side and do the same.

One thing Munatones’ book recommends is swimming with a pull buoy between your lower legs or ankles.¬† I tried this the other day, and while I agree it helps with your rotation, my lower back was hurting at the end of practice.¬† Maybe I need some more core work?¬† LOL.

Something I always try to think about while I am swimming is rotating my core around my spine- tightly.¬† I try to think about “zipping up” my body around my midline.¬† In yoga balance poses, I always try to¬†suck all my body parts towards¬†the midline of my body so I can balance.¬† This process still generally results in me tipping over, but I am extremely clumsy, so you might have better results.

Lastly, that video clip above has some good ideas about balance practice in the water.¬† I am gonna give them a try next time I’m in the pool.¬† If you have some good swimming drills or ideas, pass them on!¬† Have fun!

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