Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New And Different

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 Designed to allow swimmers to play tug-of-war in the water... 


Nitsirk said...

What stretch cord exercises and drills are you doing? Always looking for ways to improve form and strength in the water :)

Nice job on the 200s. That's a hard distance, a sprint but a looong sprint!

Angela and David said...

Okay, a couple of questions for you. First, could you send me a link to a swim cord routine? And second, I don't know anything about joint pills. Curious is this is something everyone should be taking or just people with pronounced issues?

Kim said...

Glad the swimming has been going well!! Those cords sound like a good idea for next year! I might have to look into that!! Good luck in the Turkey Swim.. ha.. so used to saying "Turkey TROT!" Have fun!

Betsy said...

I started taking a glucosamine supplement about 9 months ago for a creaky feeling knee. The creaky knee went away. I stopped taking it after IMWI and the creaky knee came back. I swear it works and I'm back on it!

have a great swim :)

Kim said...

michelle - i take glucosamine sulfate bc my knee creeks and cracks every time i bend my leg. i feel like it def helps. i hope your stuff works for you too.

you are an animal with those 200s. i probably should swim one of these months.

Jennifer Harrison said...

GOOD luck w/ your swim race this weekend....!!
I use swim cords sometimes too - they are great!

Happy swimming! Hope your calf is better too!

Teresa said...

Awesome! I believe stretch cords are key to a stronger and more efficient stroke!! Keep it up!

Angela said...

Sounds like you're having a great time and things are moving along nicely. I would love tug of war in the water.