Form-Work Friday

Swimming is my least favorite of the three sports.  It doesn't come as naturally to me as running and biking, so that means I have to work a lot harder at it and that takes a little of the fun away (I do love the challenge, though).  I also don't like chlorine, and I'm not a fan of the salt water pools either.

But there is one thing I love about swimming that the other sports can't compete with: breakthroughs.  Because swimming is much more of a skill-dependent sport than the others, form is crucial.  If you have bad form, it doesn't matter how hard you work.  You'll still be slow.  But it's pretty fun when you figure out something you're doing wrong and you're instantly faster.  

It's been a while since I've had a breakthrough, and I had to pay for the last one by way of an underwater video analysis.  This one was a freebie (gotta love it).  It started at masters when the guys were talking about the breath control sets (we do breath control sets - 16x25 yards typically - and you can only breath 3 times, then 2 times, then 1, then 0 - I've never made it the length of the pool without breathing).  One of the guys claimed the trick to doing those is not kicking because your legs use too much oxygen.


I struggle the most during longer sets (regular sets - not breath control), and it feels like that is mostly driven by the lack of oxygen. I feel like I work too hard, get tired quickly, and then really struggle.  Maybe I kick too much and I'm using up all my oxygen.  So I decided to do some research on freestyle kicking.  

In the process, I came across a good video on head position and it got me thinking.  I look down.  Straight down.  Maybe my head is too low and I'm creating more drag and plowing through the water.  

So I went to the pool and focused on looking forward rather than down (so the water hits my head in the middle of my forehead) and I worked on kicking a little less.  Boom.  Faster.  Not by a ton, but I swam some of my fastest 100s ever.

This had me fired up and I did some more research and came across a video that talked about getting your butt up to help lift your legs.  Hmmmm....I've always tried to lift my legs by dropping my head.  It makes sense.  Bring your head up, your legs drop.  Put your head down, your legs come up.  But this was talking about a slight arch in your back to get your butt and legs closer to the surface to eliminate drag.  Maybe this will adjust for the slight drop in my legs when I look forward.

Yep....faster.  Breakthroughs are fun.

I typically make Fridays easy days since I train a lot on the weekends, so that makes them good days to dial back the intensity and work on form.  I've dubbed them Form-Work Fridays.  Having just had a swimming breakthrough, I'm really looking forward to today's workout. I don't expect another breakthrough, but I need more work on my recent fixes to my form to make sure I don't revert to my old ways. But I'm kind of hoping for another breakthrough, just not expecting it. Three in one week....unlikely. 

Today I'm going to try a few new drills from GoSwim (if you need a site with great videos of swimming drills, this is the site for you) and some dry land work - dips, push-ups and core work.

Freestyle - Stun Gun from Glenn Mills on Vimeo.

Freestyle - Narrow Your Shoulders from Glenn Mills on Vimeo.


For the latest in douchebaggery, check out this link:  http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2010/03/lance-armstrong-thinks-tony-kornheiser-is-an-idiot/1

I don't really care if people like cyclists or not, but when you say, 'run them down' you strike a nerve.  I think what irritates me most is that ESPN hasn't done anything about this yet.  Being a sports network, you'd think they would promote (to an extent) all sports whether they give them a lot of coverage or not.  Shouldn't they be a network filled with people who absolutely love sports and encourage others to be active and participate, even if the sport they choose isn't as mainstream as football?  

But that's not ESPN's style.  They don't really love sports.  They love to criticize them and the people who participate in them. 



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