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Alex's swim journal

Fighting, not finding, flow...

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by , September 10th, 2013 at 08:17 PM (542 Views)
Continuing the theme of really lackluster performances in the last two weeks, I just have not been clicking! I spent some time reviewing older blog posts from July and August, when I peaked I think, and I am a little disappointed in the fact that I can't pull off now the workouts and times that seemed to come a lot easier only a month ago. A lot of that has to do with the busier schedule now... sleeping less, spending many hours more at the desk hunched over the computer or the papers, getting tighter and tighter. Things just seemed to be flowing better last month, a workout could be hard but relaxing.

Today I tried to slow it down a little and just focus on form (got some free coaching from Jen, the lifeguard at the Y, during a really slow stretch just before the HS girls team started arriving for practice). A couple of folks last night asked if I was really tired because I looked like my stroke was crossing over a lot... darn! First of all, I don't like working out at 8PM, but it was the earliest I could get there with my work schedule... but, yeah, I felt awful... nothing in the tank. I probably shouldn't even have been swimming. Anyway, I asked Jen to take a look at my stroke for a few lengths and we made some slight adjustments... my hips and shoulders seem to be off in rotation... they should be rotating together, but it looks like the wiggle has worked itself back into the stroke, with the shoulders leading and the hips following (is this too much focus on short axis drills of late?). So I tried to nail that down for a couple of lengths. Jen mentioned the stroke looks really good, but in breathing to the right I tend to cross over more and/or initiate the wiggle. OK, I paid attention to that for a couple of lengths and found that when I breathe to the right I start my pull a little earlier, this doesn't happen in breathing to the left... this is an issue I thought I had taken care of ages ago... yikes... all this crap is starting to creep back into my stroke. Granted, I've been focusing a lot more on the other strokes of late, but still! I guess the "adult-onset" swimmer can't take anything for granted!

Humbling. Frustrating. Emotionally draining. As if life isn't dishing out large enough portions of these things recently, now they are creeping back into the pool-sanctuary.

Also, I really hate the first few weeks back into a drylands routine. Talk about humbling! I've been sore for a week and a half straight without rest, even though I've only had three drylands sessions in the gym. Back to square one again?! Darn.

Last night I did 3000, but should have just stayed home... with the exception of about 500 in drill-work I don't think any of the rest helped me at all (except to crush my fragile swimming ego... where are my running shoes? Maybe I should be dusting them off?!).

Today's 3000 felt a lot better... I spent some time at the beginning working on form, as I mentioned above, and then my 100 IMs felt a lot stronger; not great, but not ridiculous either. Here's what I did:

WU (1000):
300 EZ fr/bk swim stopping every length or every other length to focus on a new issue.
4 x 25 SAPs on :45 (this seemed much faster today than Sunday or Monday)
4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:40-1:44; 5-6 secs faster than last night when I was going on 2:15)
4 x 50 in 2IMO on 1:00 (:48, :49, :56, :44--not great)

MS (1600):
16 x 25 in 4IMO on :30
6 x 50 fr on :50 (started at :40, but mostly :43--yuck!)
6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:26, then mostly 1:27, last two in 1:29-1:30)
6 x 50 fr on :50 (:43s)
--Took a minute rest between each segment; it really helped that the girls team had started a couple of lanes over during my set of 100s, because it seemed like I always had someone keeping me on pace, making me push it just a little, no matter when my interval had me leaving... of course they were just doing their warm-up; sigh. I noticed when they stopped after the warm-up to transition, my times slowed back to the 1:30/100 range.

CD (400):
400 half-fly (3 SAPs, two full strokes, 3 SAPs, finish each length ez fr).

3000 SCY/70 minutes.

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Updated September 10th, 2013 at 08:28 PM by mcnair

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Comments

  1. __steve__'s Avatar
    Have you tried recording underwater portions of your stroke for review? It's rather a distracting and consuming procedure but it quickly points out a perspective that would otherwise be unnoticable. Rest too, can also work for anything

    Enjoyed reading your article in the mag, Alex
    Updated September 10th, 2013 at 09:16 PM by __steve__
  2. StewartACarroll's Avatar
    We all go through plateaus, so don't get demoralized. You have made huge progress this past year and have to keep reminding yourself of this. Commit to working on your strokes and drills, while continuing to do stretching, strength and dry land, while maintaining your yardage and quality sets. I would recommend setting some longer term goals and break the time to your longer goal down into shorter periods with short term goals. As I have mentioned previously we have chosen three week blocks where each three weeks we work on a specific distance, intensity or stroke. I think key is to stay positive. Despite feeling cruddy you won't loose all your positive progress overnight despite what your mind maybe telling you based on how you feel. Stay positive, set some goals and you will get your mojo back.
  3. mcnair's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__
    Have you tried recording underwater portions of your stroke for review? It's rather a distracting and consuming procedure but it quickly points out a perspective that would otherwise be unnoticable. Rest too, can also work for anything

    Enjoyed reading your article in the mag, Alex
    That's actually something the lifeguard mentioned today... underwater perspective would help pinpoint the issues; and every now and again my training partner and I watch each other underwater to give feedback, but we haven't done that in a while. So maybe I'll ask him to take a look the next time we workout.

    And thanks! I had fun writing the "Both sides of the Lane" piece.
  4. mcnair's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by StewartACarroll
    We all go through plateaus, so don't get demoralized. You have made huge progress this past year and have to keep reminding yourself of this. Commit to working on your strokes and drills, while continuing to do stretching, strength and dry land, while maintaining your yardage and quality sets. I would recommend setting some longer term goals and break the time to your longer goal down into shorter periods with short term goals. As I have mentioned previously we have chosen three week blocks where each three weeks we work on a specific distance, intensity or stroke. I think key is to stay positive. Despite feeling cruddy you won't loose all your positive progress overnight despite what your mind maybe telling you based on how you feel. Stay positive, set some goals and you will get your mojo back.
    Yeah, I'm on a big-time plateau right now and I think it's been a while since I've been on one. I think one factor is that I'm just now re-incorporating the strength training and it's taking its toll until my body gets used to that again. But, you mentioned stretching and that is an area I tend to ignore a lot... especially post-workout (I'm good at cooling-down, but not so good at taking advantage of the extra pliability of the muscles at that point to give them a good stretch).

    Today, as tired as I still felt, made me feel a little bit better about my swimming. Looking ahead, I think focusing on the 200 fly, back and free paces with shorter intervals (25s and 50s) will probably help everything else (400 IM, the 100s, maybe even 1500), but keep things short enough that I can keep my focus on form and not continue to imprint bad habits for now. I probably just need to give my body a chance to get used to the drylands in addition to the swim practices, and then the swim practices will come back together. I'll add the interval 100s and 200s back into the workouts later in the fall.
  5. Karl_S's Avatar
    I'm on a big-time plateau right now and I think it's been a while since I've been on one. I think one factor is that I'm just now re-incorporating the strength training and it's taking its toll until my body gets used to that again. ... I probably just need to give my body a chance to get used to the drylands in addition to the swim practices, and then the swim practices will come back together.
    For sure. In my experience a dry land session has a huge negative impact on the next 2 or 3 workouts. Dry land work after a break without dry land work doubly so.
  6. mcnair's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    For sure. In my experience a dry land session has a huge negative impact on the next 2 or 3 workouts. Dry land work after a break without dry land work doubly so.
    OK, good to know; I had hoped that was what was happening! I know the drylands stuff is good for me in the long run, but what a drag!