Yes working out at the pool can be a bit boring. I mean, it is a grind to get through the yardage sometimes, and as necessary and beneficial as it is, it does get a bit BORING !!
So I'll run through the workout quickly and then I'll tell you about an idea I had to make things a bit more interesting on this here blog.
So I did:
Now, having filled you in on that, I wanted to tell you about my whizz-bang new idea to lift the boredom quotient in this preparation phase.
I am going to offer to the first three respondents, who can answer a simple question from my Amazon Kindle book, “Riding A Strong Wind,” a 15 minute “question and answer” session on my training, diet, fitness – you choose it, LIVE via Skype. I do not want to farm any contacts, or any of that rubbish, and anyone who participates will do so knowing it will all be confidential. So Gwyneth ... it's OK you can ask and I won't tell.
No, you don't have to buy the book, you don't have to buy anything.
OK the question is:
What's the name of the man (who looks like an Italian movie star) that John Bentley has a meeting with in Rome directly after his meeting Angelica ?
That's it, and it's right there in Amazon's “Look Inside” so ... EASY !! And no, it's not at the end of the “Look Inside,” we're not playing that game.
So just send me your answer via the Contact Form on my Website where, of course, my Blog is posted.
It's miserable because it's not 24 degrees centigrade and it is also NOT sunny. Yes I know it's January, but is it too much to ask for sun and 24ºC – I don't think so.
Pool was fairly mobbed today, so it was quite the task to find space and it seems that, even when spying an opening with only 2 or 3 swimmers occupying the lane, they somehow manage, despite widely varying degrees of what one could loosely call 'speed', to evenly space themselves in my path, so there is, nowhere, more than 10 metres of open water.
Brilliant ! So we must strive nonetheless to be considerate.
OK, so there's no space, not going to be, and I need to get something out of this session … so we'll go to 'legs only' - yeah … I can just follow. I'll give those swimming full stroke 10 metres start on the 25 m and then I can just follow (with my legs-only) in clear water. It was a good idea, but like so many, it was flawed.
So I managed:
Here's a thing - Have you ever noticed that the less experienced the swimmer, the more dangerous that scything, wild, breast stroke kick? I mean when I am going to pass close to another swimmer, I switch to a Fly kick (legs together dolphin style), pass the other swimmer and then go back into Breast kick.
But these guys (and girls) have no concern - they just continue with their breast kick regardless, oblivious of where their leg kick will land ... and they are Dangerous!
Not a lot of yardage today in my workout, is there? But, y'know, I think and I hope that it's the regularity of getting in the pool that will allow the spark to return. But it's hard to ignite a spark when it's miserable and raining and NOT 24ºC and Sunny!
Still waiting to hear from the French club I intended associating with, so I could compete – only been 9 days or so – they're not big, or quick, on e-mail communication.
Absolutely Amazing and all kudos to Mr Timmerman - I am just jaw-droppingly AWED !!! Just Fabulously inspiring !! All possible Congratulations !!!
OK, it's Saturday 25 January and the pool is not an option today because of the kids competition … SO let's ramble on, but in a little less flippant vein, and try to touch on some things that might be of interest and use to you, and then again they might not.
Well now, cos we are all different ... “Are we paying attention, Coaches?” We are all different and we all respond differently to our swim workload. Obviously all the distance guys and I.M. swimmers are going to need a really good foundation of mileage put in, BUT for 200 metres on down to the 50 m, life is very different.
So coaches can't just do a “write up the same workout for all on a blackboard and then sit back posing with the whistle.” No, they have to “individualize” the workout to the talent they are working with, AND I believe the good ones do.
Anyway, what I'm getting to for those on their own, is that you need to listen to your own body's response and adjust and sometimes accommodate. So right now I'm struggling on some of those 25 metre sprints, because I'm not really “flying fit” and by that I mean that on a 50 m the first 25 metres should be “no effort required”, it should come by nature; just fly down the first 25 without even having to think about it, then all I have to do is swim a 25 metres - the one coming back.
So, if I can get that “flying easy no effort” feeling, then on the return 25 m I should avoid the tying-up, and that dreaded moment when you start “thinking your stroke to yourself”. Once you're in that territory you want to hope you're only 5 metres max from home. So you see, I'm on a lot about “feeling” here, and that's not really the body and the workouts , it's from the mind.
Now of course without the workouts you aren't going to get the luxury of “self-psyching”, but if you're close, fitness-wise, then you can max the mind quotient in your performance.
So when I'm at the pool and I finish my workout, I dry off, and I look down the pool concentrating, imagining and playing the movie of my competition swim in my mind. Never swim slow in your movie, no ... you are just eating up the distance no sweat. Try it, you never know !!
So to the weights – No Heavy Weights ... No, dumbbells/barbells will do and 15 kilos is fine.
Reps are dependant on the movement – we are not leaving the door open to rotator injuries, anyway, we don't need to, it's just a case of doing more reps. Safer.
Anyone out there reading, I'd love to know I'm not just talking to myself (mostly cos I've heard all my own rubbish before). So do let me know with a comment or such, and for all you Canadian Masters, do give a listen to that track on my Facebook page “Down to Business”. It's by two artists from Victoria BC, Ashleigh Eymann and Ishkan and, of course, my stellar favourite, Mamma Freedom from Manchester - and the track is great to get you pumped.
So at the pool, 5:00 pm.
Miserable rainy day and that doesn't exactly enthuse, but it has to be done, it has to be done.
On the two days off since the last swimming day, I thought about working out with light weights, but then I thought again, and, being immensely lazy, I didn't do any weights.
But, I also didn't wade into eating inappropriate quantities of food goodies, which might not be beneficial. So I had one very small bag of cashew nuts … that was it for the two days. And, of course, some water, and ... I'll come clean, I had two Green Teas WITH a spoonful of honey in each.
I never eat sugar. Of course, one cannot avoid it in essentials like Lindt Chocolate, but there we are, life is not all a bed of dahlias. And an interesting fact is that honey was the very fuel that the Romans used to give them the energy to build those Pyramids in Sicily, (they were later shipped as a present to Cleopatra), a well known archaeological fact.
Anyway, yesterday I think, being factual, that I only covered about 400 metres of legs only, alternating between free and breast 50s. And then, as the pool was fairly littered with obstacles in the form of erratic and wandering bodies, I tried to squeeze in 25 metre sprints on free. I think I managed around eight. But one has to adapt to the situation if one swims in a public pool and when life hands you lemons, make Martinis with little slices floating in them.
I see folks regularly come to the pool and do their workout routine religiously, and it's commendable but in many cases what they are doing is 'practising swimming slow'. They do good yardage, but it's SLOW and they're memory-banking swimming in that way. Pity, a few sprints would be very revealing, and sometimes less can do more. It's kinda like typing – if you type slowly as a rule, you will NOT be able to dash off 100wpm when the need arises.
My elbow is getting there, and on the free sprints I didn't notice any challenge – fly I'll find out next time there's space to try a 25 m Fly.
Pool closed Saturday for a local competition. So Monday 27th next swim workout day.
And if anyone is actually reading this … give yourself a shot of energy by listening to the “Down to Business” clip from the Sonic Generals upcoming album ... It's on my Facebook page and the song will be featured in the Hackney's Finest movie coming soon. Good for energy !!!
Well here we go again … I managed my 500 metres leg kick and in fact I took the opportunity to do 100 m extra – yes I know, WOW !!
So having nailed what I set out to get done, I used my hand paddles (which I use very little) to basically do a shoulder/upper arm muscle session. So I don't go very fast when I use the paddles, primarily because I'm slow, but I want to catch as much resistance as I can and really use this work as a soft version of a gym workout. So I did mostly breast stroke, to get the shoulders worked and I just let my legs trail for what, in essence, is an arms-only deal. Only probably did 300 metres or so.
So I get this stuff done, avoiding the multi-finned, snorkelled and hand-padded others in the one lane devoted to those using equipment, and I try at this point to find some lane space where I can get a clear shot at a 25 m or at least 20 metres or so before hitting traffic.
So it all goes fine and I cut those in my path lots of accommodation as I come up on them, either shoving the anchors on, or switching to a legs only or such. Managed 4 by 25 metres without obstruction (or little).
The 25 m sprints I did manage were tough and, in truth, it's hard to really let it go when one is pretty sure of coming up on other swimmers before the end. So it's all 80 % stuff , but that will do for the mo.
The elbow is not bad, but if I really try on a few fly strokes, it starts to feel challenged. But, hey, there's a whole 29 days or so to go, so no sweat … right ?
I hope so.
As I intend to compete in a French Masters competition in February, I thought it might be of interest to follow my progress, or lack of it, as I approach the date. I will be writing this in a conversational, relaxed style, and I ask that you don't draw any conclusions about the quality of my literary works on Amazon, from this loose ramble.
OK. Here goes. I have been trying to find a competition not too far from my Bordeaux area of France in which to compete, as a US Masters registered swimmer - NOT SO FAST ! France doesn't really want to open up anything to foreigners, so I am finding the search difficult. Oh yes, the National Championships are OPEN, but they are usually in Paris or some other distant and expensive to attend location … So ...
So I've decided it's less expensive and easier (in fact OBLIGATORY), just to associate with a French club. I won't be swimming with the club at workouts and I won't be taking ANY of their coaching, but I will, to all intents and purposes, be a member of the “team”. Really, I do my own self-coaching and training and so this will be my blog of how it goes.
I've been out of the pool for about 3 years, I thought, but looking at my old e-mail to find out who to contact I see 2009 as being my last effort ?? Time flies.
I will be swimming at the 20km distant pool, 3 times a week, Monday, Thursday and Saturday (when they don't close it for kids competitions or such) and, of course, I have to allow for the 200 or so “fete” days i.e. holidays for the 'workers'. But let me not be negative, I hope and intend to get into the FINA World Top Ten 2014, and with probably only two opportunities, I gotta get it right, and so we commence.
My right elbow has been giving me a bunch of trouble and was close to being un-bendable (it won't flex at all) just last week. Result of a cast put on by an over-zealous doctor decades ago, after an equestrian competition accident.
So I did swim on Saturday the 18th, after having decided on competing and I do have a lot of core work to do, and that means I will HAVE to do some legs-only - god, what a pain - but I will have to, because that is where you are going to get your core strength from.
I guess it's a bit like a boxer, you've heard the commentator say “oh, his legs have gone” and by that they imply the mobility and bounce is out of the athlete, well it's kinda like that.
You have to have the core good enough if not strong, if you want to ride to the end. There is nothing more debilitating than that sinking feeling as the legs tie up and drain all the power from your stroke.
So Monday tomorrow, and I will be doing 500 metres legs and then whatever 25 metre sprint singles I can manoeuvre between the bobbers and floaters littering my path down the pool.
Gonna post more specific distances and efforts as we go day by day, but for now ....
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day
~ Author of fiction