Sunday, February 17, 2013

Swimming Like I Mean It

When you first start a new sport or exercise, you generally have one speed. And that speed is 'hard'. Running, at any speed, feels hard. Biking at anything more than a leisurely pace on a flat surface feels hard. Swimming, or just trying to coordinate breathing in the water....hard. But if you stick with your new found activity, whatever it is, eventually you will develop a range of paces including one that feels easy. I found this took a long time for me with running. It wasn't until I had been running consistently for a year that I noticed (while running nice and slowly with a new runner) that there were running paces that felt easy and nearly effortless. What a good feeling!
Leisurely pace

Well yesterday, on day 2 of the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy, I had a swimming breakthrough! I now have swimming paces! I started my swim with a "leisurely" warm up that felt really great. So great that I decided to nix the intervals I planned and instead do a long, slow swim. Eventually I got bored of that, so did a drill for a few laps, then another few laps of slow, leisurely. Then, boredom recurred so I decided to do some slightly faster intervals.

Swimming like she's going somewhere!

As I did the intervals I realized I was "swimming like I was going somewhere". Somewhere more exciting than the other end of the pool (just to turn around and swim back....just about as pointless as  a treadmill!) I was reaching farther ahead with each stroke, I had faster arm turnover, I was pulling back the water with more force, kicking a little harder. The wall came faster, the ceiling was moving faster- I definitely felt I had stepped it up a notch.

Swimming like he means it!
Once I realized this, I started thinking about my last swimming workout, which included even shorter intervals (they were labelled lactic threshold intervals, but during pregnancy I've been avoiding full on breathlessness, so they were probably down a notch from what was prescribed). I recalled thinking during those intervals that I was "swimming like I mean it". Pace 3- "swimming like I mean it", almost sprinting. Like a shark!

Now I'm contemplating whether I should take another swimming lesson in the next few weeks just to have someone weigh in my form and recommend some drills I can work on for the next few months. I expect I'll be able to swim until the very end (i.e. day of delivery) so it might be worthwhile to be more intentional about the whole thing. Regardless, it's great to feel like I'm making improvement in some athletic arena! A year ago at this time (Feb 2012), I logged no swims. That's zero swims. So three swims already done in Feb 2013 is a definite improvement!

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