Run More Awesome / Training / Triathlon

Testing the Waters, So to Speak

Yesterday was my first official swimming workout, and it sucked. Allow me to explain:

For the past two weeks, I’ve tested the waters at the Y and completed a few swimming workouts; however, these workouts did not involve the free stroke (the triathlon stroke of champions):

  • I have contacts; therefore, I don’t like to open my eyes underwater.
  • I don’t like to open my eyes underwater; therefore, I don’t like to put my face in the water.
  • I don’t like to put my face in the water; therefore, free stroking is difficult.
  • Free stroking is difficult; therefore, I breast and side stroke.

But I bought a set of Speedo goggles and a swim cap this weekend, and I gave the free stroke another chance yesterday morning. It was painful. It was so painful, in fact, that I could only make it 3/4 of a lap before nearly passing out. And then when I reached the pool wall, I panted for about 30 seconds before taking a recovery lap of breast or side stroke.

Believe it or not, this is good news. I can only improve! The Y pool is 25 yards/meters in length, and the Republic pool is 50 yards/meters in length, so I have to swim 6 laps at the Y to equal the 3 laps at the Republic pool. To measure my improvement this summer, here are some benchmarks I’ve made for myself (all laps are 50 yards/meters in length):

  1. 1 lap nonstop: breast/side stroke
  2. 1 lap nonstop: free stroke
  3. 2 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 1 free
  4. 2 laps nonstop: 2 free
  5. 3 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 2 free
  6. 3 laps nonstop: 3 free
  7. 4 laps nonstop: 2 breast/side + 2 free
  8. 4 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 3 free
  9. 4 laps nonstop: 4 free
  10. 5 laps nonstop: 2 breast/side + 3 free
  11. 5 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 4 free
  12. 5 laps nonstop: 5 free
  13. 6 laps nonstop: 3 breast/side + 3 free
  14. 6 laps nonstop: 2 breast/side + 4 free
  15. 6 laps nonstop: 1 breast/side + 5 free
  16. 6 laps nonstop: 6 free

These benchmarks gradually increase in the number and combination of free stroke and breast/side strokes I’m working toward. Once I can complete 300 yards/meters (6 laps) without stopping, I’ll concentrate on improving speed. Ugh.

Right now, I can do 300 yards/meters of breast/side stroke in about 15 minutes. Since the free stroke moves through the water faster, I plan to be quicker than that on race day. My goals for the swimming portion of the race are as follows:

  • Pie In the Sky Goal: Free stroke 300 yards in less than 10 minutes.
  • Cookie In the Sky Goal: Complete 300 yards in less than 10 minutes.
  • Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds Goal: Complete 300 yards in less than 12 minutes.
  • Looks Like Rain Goal: Complete 300 yards in less than 15 minutes.

I’ll keep you posted on any benchmarks I reach in my weekly training report. And I have some stories to tell you about childhood swimming lessons and middle school swim team in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Testing the Waters, So to Speak

  1. Hi sarah, why don’t you look around for prescription googles. Speedo do a version and so do Zoggs.

    My wife says they are the best present she ever had.

    Of course you will have to rethink your transitions but thats relatively easy.

    You can improve your swimming when you are sat at home by doing some shoulder mobility exercises

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