The other day Nalani and I were ripping off some fast 200's in the pool... the fastest 200's I've done since high school! How fun! (ok, not really... in reality my toes were completely numb and I felt like I was going to hurl... but it was fun looking at my watch at the end of each one and gasping with surprise!) Finally in these last few weeks I have seen some real improvement in my swimming. And it has been awesome to swim next to Nalani again instead of behind her. :)
When things are going well it is always good to take a step back and assess what the source of improvement might be.
Make no mistake about it, I've been working my ass off in the pool. But I always have, so this is not new and different. What has been new and different in the last few weeks? After much thought, I'm attributing my change in speed to a couple of factors:
~I've incorporated stretch cord exercises and drills into my weekly routine. I think they are helping me develop automatic motor patterns that I can use during my catch, specifically keeping my elbow high and getting that early vertical forearm. It does not take long to perform the exercises and I think they're a good warm up prior to swimming in the mornings.
~I've kept my frequency consistently high. 5x/week swimming is not realistic for me when I'm actually triathlon training, but right now since I'm pretty much swim-focused leading into the Double Roughwater Swim (5 weeks!) I can make it happen.
~I've started taking a new joint formula and my left shoulder feels less beat up. I have never taken any glucosamine or joint formula stuff before, so honestly, I wasn't sure I would notice much difference with this one. But I was told that it wouldn't be a bad idea to start taking one as a preventative thing, and I was sent some to try out, so I figured I'd go ahead and try it. It was made by the same good Aussie folks who produce the e21 that I know for sure works very well for me, so I trusted the company... and this stuff is made with green lipped
muscle mussel and who doesn't want green lipped muscles? Anyway, to make a long story short, my left shoulder really used to bug me when I was swimming. And since I've upped my weekly volume (like x2!) recently, it was bugging me even more. The pain caused me to compensate by altering my stroke a bit (dropping my shoulder and elbow on the pull) and therefore I was less effective under the water. But after a couple weeks of taking this stuff, my shoulder doesn't hurt anymore. And that means I can pull stronger without dropping my left elbow and I get more propulsion with every stroke. I think this has contributed significantly to my new found speed.
So, to finish up another awesome week of swimming, we're going to do a 2000M ocean race Saturday morning! It's called The Turkey Swim. Not sure if they give away turkeys for winning, but that would be cool. It's been a while (like 2 years) since I've been able to give Nalani a run for her money in a swim race, but I told her that I'm gonna try on Saturday. We both agreed that it would be way more fun if we can seriously duke it out with each other out there. :)
You know what else would be super fun? Playing tug-of-war in the pool! Nalani found these two-person stretch cords on swimoutlet.com. Designed to allow swimmers to play tug-of-war in the water...