A Smooth Stroke When You Need It Most

SWIM

Distance sea swim, approx. 4100 meters, starting at 8:20am. Water almost 25 degrees C. Sunny. Minimal swells, no wind, surface smooth, water clear.

Time 36:51 to half way rock, 34:19 back. No stops there or back. Rested about 5 minutes at the rock to enjoy the view.

WHAT I LEARNED TODAY

– Focusing on holding form is critical to maintaining pace and endurance when I feel fatigued. I’ve got to practice this at all times, under all conditions until it becomes natural over longer and longer distances. I need ‘long and narrow’ to be my default position under fatigue.

COMMENTARY

I swam very steady the whole time. The smooth surface allowed me to focus on cutting through the water and feeling the glide. I was going at a pace that made my lats, delts, and triceps feel a little tired even during the first half (I suspect that the wetsuit has to tendency to resist my torso turning and so compel more shoulder-swimming), and I wasn’t sure if I would bonk or not on the second half if I went this far or kept this pace- but I decided to go for it anyway. I did just fine, and it leveled out into a sustainable tiredness. There was no soreness in my right shoulder joint which means I held good position, and my wrists were only slightly irritated but it did not increase- so I must have held consistently high elbows on the catch. Breathing was easy the whole time at a 3-stroke interval. I am estimating that I was swimming naturally just below my anaerobic threshold. My arms and torso were tired at the end but I think I could have gone another 1 km if I needed to.

Overall, I was 1 minute slower on this swim than the one a few days previous while the sea conditions were so much better and I was feeling like I was swimming stronger too. But comparing the swims, this time I did not stop along the way, and I stayed at the half-way rock a bit less. Plus I had only 7 less-than restful hours of sleep last night, and only 5 the night before. I was definitely run down physically, although my mind was eager to swim and enjoyed it. I am not well-rested. I feel like I live life here on a half-charged battery all the time.

Today, I tried off and on to initiate the stroke by my hip thrust, but in the wetsuit it feels like I am fighting the elasticity of the neoprene more than driving my stroke. Plus my times are artificially lowered by the wetsuit effect, which I don’t like since I train to swim ‘naked’ and love the feel of it. It will be better when I can bare the water temperature enough to go without it.

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