Today I felt good in the water. Perhaps you know the feeling too. After weeks or months or years of swimming, running or riding, you reach a point where things come together a bit. You feel the flow.
My wife Sue has been feeling the flow in her running lately. Her training times have dropped. Her pace has been steady and strong. Even her best mile time has improved.
I’d say that she and I have had similar paths to success with her running and my swimming. When we first started running together, her stride was overly long and uneven. Her footstrikes were heavy. She struggled. But over the last two years especially, she’s smoothed out thanks to some encouragement and great guidance from her coach Steve Brandes.
In fact, if you’re looking for someone to guide you in any aspect of your triathlon journey, I strongly recommend Madison Multisport: Steve Brandes, his wife Cindy Bannick, or Justin Gustafson. They’re all great coaches.
I”m not a “paid” athlete. I just take a more casual approach to the sport than some. And last year my racing schedule was wiped out with illness due to matters unrelated to training, and I did not race anything but a 10k in April. The rest of the year was an unfortunate bust.
Yet through it all I kept working on my swimming. Now I’m finally feeling like an actual swimmer, not just a lump of flesh thrashing along in the pool. My catch is cleaner. My pulls are stronger. My kick is confined and concerted. And it’s getting fun.
The most significant change made to the swimming enterprise has been my breathing. I was breathing too heavy on the exhale, and too soon. Basically I was blowing out all the oxygen I needed to swim. I’d been started to breathe out hard the second I turned my face back under the water. It’s subtle difference now, but a major change.
The heavy breathing is cured (LOL) and I swam my five 200s in well under 4:00 today. My hundreds dipped below 1:50 and my 25 time got down to 21 seconds. I’m not fast yet. But I’m getting strong, and that counts more in my book. The day I break 20 I will (yes) be a happy man. But I think it’s coming. I’m improving. I can feel it. I’m no longer a fool in the pool.
I’m even eager to increase the length and frequency of workouts now. I swam almost 2000 yards today when typically it’s been 1000 and done. Along with adding a couple days per week, the confidence will build and soon summer will be here. Time for open water success!
I hope you can find the flow where you need it too. Would love to hear your tales of breakthroughs!