It's strange but it is true that even when one doesn't really feel the most all-fired up enthusiastic, about going to the pool, after you have completed your workout, you almost invariably feel better. So as I have said before it's that 'just showing up' that makes the big difference.
I would say for sure that if you allow 'reasons' for not going to the pool to gain traction in your deliberations, you're on a slippery slope where the next workout becomes a 'decision' rather than an assumed, automatically scheduled 'show up' day.
One time deciding not to go is a start, but two days deciding not to go is a pattern and three days deciding not to go is a movement … I'm cutting to the chase there, and if you are not following my ramble, then I guess you don't know the classic “Alice's Restaurant” by the wonderful Arlo Guthrie.
God, wouldn't that one just fly over the heads of our modern music aficionados.
Anyway, I digest … no, that's not right, I dissect … no not right either, “digress” Yes !! Digress. Now what was I on about ... oh yes, the Workout. Here it is, uncut, uncensored and probably uninteresting … it's a Workout for God's sake, gimme a break:
Next pool day Thursday.
So I'm in the pool, and I get to the end of about a 200 metre loosen up, and I'm bobbing at the end with the other 'nageurs' when this fella leans over and slaps his hand on the surface of the water.
“This is what you're doing and it's all wrong,” he says in almost perfect French – well, I mean he is French, but - anyway, “No, he says … see you're swimming like this, but you should be swimming more at this angle.” And he gives me a sympathetic, knowing look to show he understands and empathises with my inability.
Now there's not a lot you can say at times like these but, “What?”
I had a similar occurrence once in Libourne when the lifeguard commiserated with my attempt at backstroke. Now, in relative terms she would have had a point, but we're not talking that level here; so I listen politely and then at the end of this long instructional diatribe, I say, “No, don't think so.” And carry on with my workout.
Now, I don't swim backstroke BUT, when the Meet program is such that it interferes with my working with and riding my horse, I adjust.
So two weeks later I adjusted and swam backstroke – and won a Sleeping Bag and a 2nd or 3rd ranking in France's Masters. Might have done better but for the 1½ foot deep turn area (was a kiddies-biased pool). Jeeez ... I almost broke a fingernail!
So, there we are, I'm sorted re my Freestyle and all thanks to a generously critical Frenchman who has put me right.
I saw him swimming and I think he would be good for a 50-52 sec 50metres. He was swimming side-stroke when I left – here they call it 'educatif' - oh please!!!
The arrogance and the ignorance are stellar.
But then again, without that all-consuming patriotic arrogance, how could they sell any wine at those ridiculously inflated prices when a bottle of Italian Bardolino will knock spots off them.
Anyway, here's the workout what I did today. Who else has used that (bad grammar) phraseology in a very famous book … clue Ketchum? Mostly tried to take advantage of fewer bodies in the way:
And I hate to admit it but that was about it, – now you're thinking, “He's not doing much here, and I'm not getting much out of reading this blog.” But remember it's not how far you swim each workout. It's HOW you swim, certainly for sprinters. Quality. Stroke technique quality, not necessarily speed, but quality, precise, totally adjustable stroke.
Well yeah, you might be right, but it's the consistency of showing up that makes a huge difference and the even-greater difference is the mental game. Tougher and tougher into the countdown.
Next pool day Monday.
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.
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.
~ Author of fiction