Amazing class last night. We did a broken 1650 as part of our workout, which I did with all flip turns, and my time worked out to an average of 1:55 for each 100 yds, faster split times than what I usually do in an hour swim. I really felt like I was cranking. Finally getting the hang of body roll, arm extension, early catch. Not perfect, but when I do it right, I can feel the subtle differences in stroke power. Ditto backstroke. I still have a long way to go before I do all this consistently, but at least I have a sense of how it should feel.
Also, my cardio fitness in general feels much better. My flip turns were pretty good, too, and again, I know how they should feel when done right,and I know what I'm doing wrong when they go a little wonky. Not bad, considering I was sharing a lane with a much more powerful swimmer than myself, and there was a lot of turbulence being kicked up--lots of swimmers in a fairly small pool.
Updated April 27th, 2010 at 11:35 AM by Nancy H.
(Verbs are your friend!)
As of today's workout, I've logged 20.65 miles for March 2010.
My Feb total was 16.82.
My January total (including my hour swim) was 18.76.
My goal for the year is to swim 200 miles, so I'm right on target for that, and might actually go even higher.
Oh yeah, and the flip turns are coming along really well, and I'm comfortable doing them both backstroke and freestyle, and in two very different pools. So: happy time!
Woot! As of today's workout, I have officially logged in 50 miles for 2010!
Finished a 3300 yd workout today, including lots of flip turns on both backstroke and freestyle. The flips feel more comfortable than they've felt since before Christmas, and my strokes overall feel much stronger. Of course it helps to have had two days off and to be fully rested.
We're right in the middle of another howling rainstorm. It'd be nice if we didn't lose power, like we did two weeks ago. Of course, it'd be nice to have a pony, too. : )
Weekend workout: 2800 yds total.
Worked a lot of flip turns yesterday. I've been taking AZTimm's advice and adding yardage-with-flips gradually, 25 yds at a time, hopefully building up to longer freestyle sets, where I can flip continually without becoming exhausted and having my form completely break down. This definitely seems to be working.
The backstroke turns are slower to come, because of timing issues--figuring out exactly when to turn from back to front, do that last freestyle pull, and somersault. Coming off the wall is easier, but finding that sweet spot going into the wall can be fiendishly tricky.
Also I'm working on freestyle flip turns when I'm swimming along the lane line and circle swimming. That way, if I have to share a lane in class, I can still do the flips. What I was finding is that I can flip fine so long as I have the lane to myself, but that so rarely happens in class. Although I had a lane to myself yesterday, I practiced the turns as though there were someone else with me. We'll see how well things go in class tonight.
More hour swim goodness: last year, my average 50 split was 56.74, and this year it improved to 55.915. My split deviation improved from 1.325 to 1.040. So not only was I faster, I was more consistent. One goal for next year's hour swim is to get the standard deviation down below 1.00.
Thursday class, 2500 yds total.
Kind of a 'generic' workout--we worked on streamlining and endurance, and mixed in some IM sets with all the freestyle. I started out feeling tight and grumpy (too many late nights watching the Olympics, LOL), but got looser and stronger as I went along. One thing I love about swimming is that I always feel better when I get out of the pool than I did when I got into it.
My total yardage for 2010 is 29.75 miles, and it's only halfway through February. What an awesome feeling!
Also in happy-making news, I can get a $150 rebate on my club membership through my health insurance. Woo and hoo! That's almost three months' worth of fees!
Monday class: 1750 yds of mostly IM drills. Loads of kicking. Yowza.
In grumpy-making news, the fly workshop scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled due to lack of interest. Phooey. I may have to sign up for another round of adult lessons this summer if I'm ever going to get the rudiments of fly down.
In better news, I managed 3-4 strokes of breaststroke before dropping the tennis ball. Very jealous of my classmate, who managed a whole 25 without dropping the ball once!
Also, I got the final calculations on my hour swim: my average 50 split was 55.915 seconds, and my standard deviation over the hour (3200 yds) was 1.04, so I was rarely more than a second off pace. This is better than I did last year, so woot! Not bad for a desk worker with an aching lower back.
Sunday workout: 3000 yards. First time I've hit 3000 in about 3 weeks.
Also had to yell at a couple of kids who were rough housing in the pool area. God, I always feel so old when I do things like that.
The flip turns are definitely improving. I did really well with the freestyle turns and started working on the backstroke turns again, with decent results. I didn't push it, though--ended on a strong note, then started working on something else.
My breaststroke is getting better, too. Happiness!
Clocked in 2500 yards this afternoon. Workout included 500 yds breast, 500 yds back, 500 yds free, focusing on points from the Go Swim DVDs. Results are not bad. In two-plus years of swimming with a master's class, my stroke technique has gone from "completely horrible" to somewhere between "moderately crummy" and "okay."
I'm actually semi-amazed at how my breaststroke is progressing. I have the kick down okay, the mini-pull is getting there, I'm holding the glide longer, and the timing is a lot better than it used to be.
Backstroke is pretty decent. What does it say about me that everything makes so much more sense when I'm going backwards?
Freestyle is iffy. Got to work more on that body roll.
Started the flip turns at square one, just somersaulting in the water (eight months ago, I couldn't even manage that much) and worked up until I was flipping comfortably at the wall. It definitely helped that I worked on these first, rather than saving them for later in the workout. My left arm still does that wonky spastic flailing thing, but the turns are definitely there. Didn't try to overdo anything--worked on the turns 'till they felt good, then started working on something else.
It's FREEZING up here in Cow Hampshire. Brr!
Another good class last night. Despite late-week fatigue, I managed to hit 2200, a fun mix of strokes, drills, and kicking. Worked more on freestyle open turns and have managed to eliminate (more or less) the pesky grab/ yank/ pop up habit. The turns already feel more smooth and powerful. Bless those Go Swim videos for the nifty pointers!
Was very surprised to see the yardage total, because I felt like a slow-moving boxcar last night. I've been having some problems with sore leg muscles lately--it might be my winter shoes, which are getting very worn out. I've been doing a lot of stretching, but I can still barely kick. This, coupled with general exhaustion (I might be fighting off a virus), is really taking its toll on my swimming. At these times, just getting in the water is a triumph.
We also did a fun breaststroke drill with a tennis ball tucked beneath the chin to keep the head position steady and the eyes focused down. I could only manage a couple of strokes before the ball went flying, but it was still a very instructive drill. Of course, I like to joke it's because of my tiny chin, not my bad form, that I couldn't keep the tennis ball in place.
Coach is running a butterfly clinic in a couple of weeks. Woo-hoo--I'm always on the lookout for another stroke to do badly.
Went swimming on my lunch break today; did 800 yards in 45 minutes.
Spent most of this workout focusing on freestyle open turns, using the Go Swim videos on You Tube. This is a great series of steps building toward a faster, more efficient open turn. Since time is so limited on my lunch break workouts, it seems to make more sense to focus on a particular skill, rather than just trying to slog through more yards.
Swam a nice 2600 on my own today, bringing my January total to 18.76 miles. Wow! It's amazing the perspective you get when you keep track of everything with a FLOG.
Even the flip turns worked better today. I also worked on some open turns, did a lot of kicking, and worked on the timing of my breaststroke. It's not too bad, considering I have twenty years' worth of bad habits to correct.
Total workout came to about two hours, though 15-20 minutes of that was flip turn drills. The freestyle turn is pretty good... the backstroke turn, not so much. I did realize that if I want to work on any specific skill, I need to make that a priority at the start of the workout and not wait until my legs are dead from kicking. LOL!
Class last night went well. Two lanes were tied up with people doing the hour swim, so I was in a shallow lane with two other women. Not a huge problem, but under the circumstances, flip turns were just not possible. One, I hate flipping in shallow water (it seriously feels like the shallow side of our pool is up to my knees); two, I hate flipping when I'm worrying about colliding with other swimmers.
So I focused more on stroke technique: wide arms, smooth hand entry, "catching" the water, pulling with high elbows to utilize a bigger surface area (elbow, forearm, hand). Feels a bit wonky, but definitely contributes to a more powerful stroke. I also tried to utilize body roll more, so that I'm not over-taxing the smaller muscles of my arms and shoulders. Started out okay, but this grew harder as the workout wore on. Still, I'm getting there, and I can feel the difference it makes when I get a good body roll going.
Not as much time for backstroke, so I focused on a good, tight streamline and DKs off each wall, as well as clean hand exit/ entry on the strokes. Also trying to really "reach/ stretch" into each stroke. Again, this is easier at the start of the workout than at the end when muscle fatigue has set in. Still, not bad, considering Sunday's yardage monster, followed by six hours' sleep. GAAAH! I really need to get to bed earlier! Night Owl, that's me.
Also, I made it a point to stretch really thoroughly right before bed, and I woke up with far fewer aches and pains this morning. Who'dve thunk?
I try to tell myself to stop fretting over flip turns. With enough time and practice, I'm sure they'll improve and hopefully become second nature. I have to remind myself continually that less than six months ago, I couldn't even somersault in the water, so for me to have a semi-consistent flip turn is pretty darned good. I should also focus on other areas of swimming, as I did last night.
One thing I'd like to do is make my freestyle open turns smoother. I was watching a classmate last night, who has very smooth, efficient open turns. I think mastering this skill would make me feel like I'm at least turning efficiently when (for whatever reason) the flips just aren't happening. Besides, it's nice to have several skills in the old repertoire.
Dang, I really need to remember to check off a category when I post!
Did a two-hour workout today (3100 yds), including about half an hour of flip turn drills. Definitely feel like I have the freestyle turn down. The backstroke turn is slower coming along. I'm also starting to leave aside the nose clip and exhale hard through my nose when I turn. I've never been really comfortable with the nose clip, because I like to breathe through my nose, and having the clip on also makes swallowing hard, which can get uncomfortable. So, hopefully the nose clip will soon become a thing of the past. But I never would have even learned flip turns without that nifty little thing, so all hail the nose clip!
Worked on my flip turns in class last night, which are rusty after using open turns for the hour swim.
Learned a new trick for backstroke flip turns: judging distance to the wall when my feet, rather than my head, pass under the flags. At that point, I only need one backstroke pull before turning over and doing one freestyle pull right down into the somersault. This seems a more effective technique for getting myself into the right spot to initiate the turn.
Also discussed with coach the wide-feet trick Tracy Grilli uses on backstroke turns. Since KP-N also uses this in freestyle, it seems a neat trick for getting more oomph off a flip turn. My problem seems to be not going into the wall with enough power, not tucking tightly enough in the somersault, and an awkward foot plant. All these things are combining to give me the worlds most soggy flip turns; at this point, they're slow as a horse & buggy, but at least I have a sense of what I need to work on. Got to get back into the water and do some basic drills.
[Please God, I am NOT getting sick. I have a party tomorrow and I want to swim on Sunday, so please tell me the weird thing my stomach is currently doing is not a developing case of gastric nasties. Amen.]
OTOH, I tried the tip from the AP backstroke DVD of "sliding" the hips and lo! It really does work. I felt like a rocket going through the water. It looks a little funny when you watch the video, but it definitely adds some momentum to the stroke.
ETA: Reposted to include a category.