LOVE open water swimming
During the middle of training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon (which seems like it was so long ago!) Mike started having me swim 1-2 times a week. I wasn't thrilled about being back in the pool but figured it was good cross training since swimming is so easy for me. Some workouts I did pretty easily, some I worked harder. I pretty just went with how I felt that day. I figured getting a head start on swim training would make it easier to focus on running and biking during the triathlon season.
Just like those of you who grew up runners and know your running inside and out, I have a few ways to measure how swimming is going for me. The first is the obvious time. Yesterday I did a workout that I did a couple weeks ago but this time I did it much faster and with more ease. A month or so I was really struggling to see 100s at 1:10 but now 1:11-1:12 is a pace I can hold for 10-15 repeats. I haven't done an all out 100 in awhile but I'm betting that time would be considerably faster than the last time as well.
My second favorite type of pool
The last is my technique. During my swims in the spring I did some type of technique or form work during the majority of my swims. I think the best way to see improvements on the swim is by focusing on technique first, not speed, and so I did a lot of my slower swims with my technique in mind. When I first started swimming back in the spring my technique would start to waiver during longer intervals, even if they were easier. The longer I swam, the worse my technique would get. Now that doesn't happen anymore. I still make a conscious effort to pay attention to my stroke even during hard repeats though.
Besides just steady and consistent swimming I have also been doing regular strength and conditioning, focusing on my shoulders, arms, upper back and core. I had shoulder surgery a few years ago because of swimming and my other shoulder isn't in great shape so if I want to be able to swim healthily and also get better I need to take care of my body. Besides a noticeable physical difference, I can tell that all this work is showing in the pool. Seeing progress like this is what motivates me to keep training hard.